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Scare Dare

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You're not afraid, are you?

A childhood dare where a group of children explores a location after dark. It will typically involve entering an abandoned house, supposedly haunted, staying in the school for the night, exploring the surroundings of a camp after nightfall, or similar.

Of course, there will always be something else there, too. It might be their friends trying to make the test more exciting, or a harmless resident with the Face of a Thug, but it is also a great opportunity to have fun with Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane. If this happens in a horror setting, you're probably better off staying home. It may also prove to be the Call Receival Area or the Forbidden Zone.


See also Youth Is Wasted on the Dumb, where the characters tend to be slightly older and the situation tends to be considerably more dangerous, and Straying Baby, where the character is younger and oblivious.

Compare Kimodameshi, a similar Japanese tradition.

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     Anime and Manga 

  • Big Fish used an abandoned house. It's a witch. For real. She is also the unlucky Love Interest, living backward in time.
  • In Cemetery of Terror, five children head out to the titular cemetery on Halloween night because they were dared to go to the deepest part of the cemetery and count to a hundred before leaving. This puts them straight in the path of an undead serial killer.
  • In The Village, the test is to stand with your back to the haunted woods; first one to give up loses.

  • In The Westing Game, Turtle arranges a dare in which she gets paid two dollars for every minute she stays in the Westing mansion on Halloween night, but flees after discovering a corpse inside (which eventually turns out to be fake).
  • Early in Galaxy of Fear, Zak makes friends with some kids who dare him to head into the middle of a vast graveyard at night and leave a knife on a grave, proving he was there when everyone checks in the morning. Of course, he does and regrets it.
  • In the Masterharper's biography, Robinton has to spend the night in the abandoned Weyr as a rite of passage at Harper Hall.
  • The Radley house in To Kill a Mockingbird is an iconic example.
  • In Eden Green, Tedrin dares Eden to visit an abandoned church, claiming it is inhabited by a harmless baby herbivore (made of needles) whom she could capture and study. He's lying.


     Tabletop Games 
  • A Dark Champions scenario published by Gold Rush Games started off with a Scare Dare — a young boy is missing after having been dared to walk up to the abandoned Radley Manor after dark and place his hand on the wall. (The coal chute broke under his weight. The kids who dared him believe that the ghost of Radley Manor "got" the boy, and are too afraid of being blamed to tell anyone what happened. The biker gang using the Manor's basement as a meth lab killed the boy.)

    Video Games 
  • Gnarled Hag's intro tells us that the protagonist was dared to enter the titular hag's house, which she did, and got herself trapped by the witch, setting up the game.

     Western Animation 
  • The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy uses the "abandoned house". It's just some old lady living alone. Well, OK, she is also a ghost.
  • A Halloween Episode of Disneys Recess has this as a segment of the episode. Vince is dared to spend the night in a hole dug by the diggers that they had been seen running screaming out of. The rest of the gang shows up during the night and the hole leads to an abandoned crypt haunted by the zombified ancestors of Miss Finster. At the end of the episode, its implied that it might have been a dream. Or maybe not...
  • Happens in one of the Halloween episodes of Kick Buttowski when Kendall dares Kick and Gunther to trick or treat the Van der Death mansion up on the hill (with convenient lightning) because Kick thinks her Halloween "party" is lame (justified in that all it was, was Kendall reading a report: "The Origins of Halloween. A Report by Kendall Perkins"). Turns out the old lady who lives there loves Halloween so much that she sets up it as a haunted house every year, effectively scaring off every kid in town... which was the opposite of what she wanted.
  • In "The Berry Beast" in the 2003 Strawberry Shortcake, Huckleberry Pie issues a scare dare to go into some spooky woods. Strawberry replies that dares are silly, so he makes it a double dare, and Strawberry counters that double dares are double silly. He ups it to a Triple Scoop Dare with a strawberry on top and Strawberry says that he's on.
  • An episode of Heathcliff & the Catillac Cats has Cleo's one-time fling daring the Catillac Cats to spend the night in a haunted mansion.
  • In one installment of PB&J Otter, Flick and Peanut go into a dark cave after Flick issues a "Double Duck Dare."
  • The My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic episode "Castle Mane-ia" sees Applejack and Rainbow Dash spending the night in the ancient ruins of Princess Celestia and Princess Luna's former castle, which is supposedly haunted by a dark presence called the Pony of Shadows. Most of the spooky things they encounter are just Rarity and Fluttershy scaring them by accident, while the "Pony of Shadows" that keeps tormenting them is actually Pinkie Pie helping give them some scary fun. After the ponies are convinced the Pony of Shadows isn't real, we get to see that it actually is.
  • This starts the plot of "Rascals' Revenge", the debut episode of Hanna-Barbera's The Little Rascals: Butch kicks the gang's football into an abandoned house, and dares them to go retrieve it, despite Officer Ed telling the Rascals that the old house is private property.
  • 101 Dalmatians: The Series: Spot has to complete one in "Double Dog Dare". She has to break into Cruella's house and steal her sleeping mask right off of her face. The other characters reveal that they've also had to complete dares, and then they realize that Lucky has never done one. So Lucky has to help Spot with her dare.


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