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It's time for the second TV Tropes Halloween Avatar Contest, theme: cute monsters! Details and voting here.

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YMMV: Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark

  • Big Lipped Alligator Moment: Some consider the illustration for "Oh Susannah!" to qualify as one. The story is supposed to be about a student's roommate being killed, while the illustration is . . . not.
  • Creepy Awesome: Aaron Kelly, Harold, and The Wolf Girl.
  • Critical Research Failure: Many of the stories are listed in Schwart's notes as folktales when they actually have direct literary antecedents.
    • For example, "The Drum" is misattributed as a folktale in Schwartz's notes in the original edition; it's actually a barely modified version of "The New Mother" from the 19th-century English author Lucy Clifford's collection, Anyhow Stories.
    • "The Wendigo" doesn't much resemble the folkloric monster; that's because it's based on Algernon Blackwood's quite different take on the legend in his 1910 short story of the same name.
  • Ensemble Darkhorse: Harold is easily one of the most recognizable monsters in the series. Having a name and backstory certainly helps.
  • Fridge Horror: These are typically classified as children's books.
    • As mentioned under What an Idiot, the family in "The Big Toe" cooks and eats a corpses toe. What kind of people are these?
    • The ghostly woman from The Dream was probably right about the inn: Lucy's room has trapdoor shaped carpets and boarded up windows.
  • Ho Yay: Thomas and Alfred, the two farmers from "Harold."
    • Also O'Liery and O'Riley, the two dead men from "Ba-Room", exactly why and how the two men ended up dead in the same bed is never explained.
  • Narm: This line in the otherwise terrifying "Me Tie Dough-ty Walker!": "His dog had never uttered a word before."
    • In the movie version of "The Hog," because of the angle, Arthur looks like he's wearing a dress instead of pants.
  • Nausea Fuel: "The Hearse Song" describes in detail what will happen to your corpse when you die.
  • Newer Than They Think: "The Wendigo" is not based on the original Native American folklore, but rather on an Algernon Blackwood story first published in 1910.
  • Nightmare Retardant: The stories in the final chapter of each book are "supposed to make you laugh, not afraid".
    • Also, in the video for "Clinkity-Clink" the wind noises. Wsstchwsstchwoo!
  • Older Than They Think: The Bus Stop. According to Mr Schwartz in the book's foreword, this story actually dates *to Roman times*.
  • They Changed It, Now It Sucks: The books are being re-released to commemorate the 30th anniversary... with new illustrations. Many people who grew up being terrified by these books and their original, creepy illustrations are not happy.
    • And adding insult to injury for those who were never able to obtain personal copies of the originals, they have been taken out of print (including the more recent anniversary editions) and online prices are being inflated.
  • Ugly Cute: The illustration of the pale woman in "The Dream" .
  • Uncanny Valley: The illustrations never leave it. Even relatively innocuous ones like "The Babysitter" are extremely unnerving.
    • Even when something perfectly normal is drawn, it still manages to look really creepy.
  • What an Idiot: The family in 'The Big Toe.' Their son pulls a big toe out of the garden, and the family decides to... cook it and eat it.
  • What Do You Mean, It's for Kids?: The books are categorized as children's books.


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