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Halloween is here, which means it’s time to celebrate ghouls and goblins and all things scary. But for kids of the 1990s, Halloween felt like it last all year. From haunting music videos, to spooky books, to death-defying accessories, it’s amazing any of us made it out of the decade alive.
Here are 11 things from a ’90s childhood that are still legit terrifying in 2018.
Has there ever been a board game with a more fitting title than Nightmare? The terrifying game was ahead of its time, using a VHS tape that included instructions delivered by the Gatekeeper aka the man that gave you nightmares for your adolescent years. Never have we wanted a VCR to eat a tape more than when someone suggest playing Nightmare at a sleepover.
Sure, they were a great way to get kids who hated reading to read, but they were also a great way to get kids who enjoyed sleeping to stay up all night paralyzed with fear that there was clown under their bed/in their closest/behind the window/in their head. Thanks for giving us fears we never knew we needed, RL Stine.
Any kid on the playground who said they weren’t scared watching Are You Afraid of the Dark was either lying or had never seen the show. It’s amazing any kids in the early 1990s ever went to a campsite. Tent sales must have skyrocketed after the Canadian show went off the air in 1996.
Sometimes the best way to remove fear is by understanding the root of the problem. That wasn’t the case with the Scream franchise. Even with Jamie Kennedy explaining how scary movies work, we were still terrified by the gruesome white mask. And it was Sydney’s boyfriend and best friend (18-year spoiler!) Scream taught us that you can’t trust anyone, except for local TV reporters. Raise your hand if you still have Jiffy Pop PTSD.
Before the internet and fake news was ruining childhood sleepovers, there was the classic Ouija Board.
The X-Files was one of the best shows on the air in the ’90s. In addition to great writing and acting, it also featured a haunting whistle theme song that sent a chill down our spine every Friday night.
Um, can we just watch “Thriller” again?
The Simpsons’ annual Treehouse of Horror episodes were always among the best of the season, but their impeccable writing and animation almost meant that they were legit scary. Think we’re exaggerating? Check out the Treehouse of Horror marathon on Much and see how long you last with the lights off.
If America’s Most Wanted was put on air to make kids think that dangerous fugitives were hiding outside their bedroom windows at all times, mission accomplished. Criminal investigator and host John Walsh brought fugitives we otherwise would have never known about right into our living rooms each week and we let him. Though the show was called America’s Most Wanted, the first capture was in Nova Scotia, meaning our Canadian childhoods were still shook.
Fun accessory or actual weapon that would cut our wrists? We were never quite sure.
Okay, hear us out. Garfield’s Halloween Adventure is actually terrifying. The film debuted in 1985, but continued terrorizing children well into the 1990s. We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again, the animated special is the scariest Halloween movie for little kids. And medium sized kids. And adults. Watch it again as an adult and tell us we’re wrong. Go ahead, we’ll wait. With the lights on.