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Nightmare Fuel / Sesame Street

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Seeing Elmo with teeth is only the tip of the iceberg.

Sesame Street may be the only kids' show in history to be sold on DVDs (specifically, the "Old School" sets featuring classic episodes from 1969 to 1984) that actually warn you that they may not be appropriate for children. After watching some of the clips on this page, you'll probably see why. Can you tell me how to get, how to get to a child psychiatrist?!

This is so prevalent that there's a huge forum thread on a Muppet forum over what sketches scared posters the most.

Note: It is recommended that your example has to have a link to a video in it, or at least an article. Examples with no external links (ex: are in danger of being deleted.

  • This clip was so scary as a little kid, two "big" monsters making fun of a little monster and the little monster grows bigger than the other two monsters who bullied him and he screams "BIGGEST" In a really scary loud voice.
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  • The clips with animals exchanging body parts was always freaky, this one with a frog and a fly swapping bodies was pure nightmare fuel, the narrator's creepy voice made it scarier.
  • This scanimate clip of the letter H; the scanimate version of Maria and the eerie music in the background didn't help.
  • Look at most videos featuring Placido Flamingo (parodying Placido Domingo) on Youtube before 2020. Half the comments are on how he terrified children. There was even an article from the 90's discussing a protest of the show that mentioned him by name after he scared a little girl.
  • In the classic "Monster in the Mirror" song, there's a surprisingly scary sequence in which Grover is walking down a street with his crudely drawn reflection in the store windows. At one point, the reflection begins to grow and grin in a manner befitting a slasher villain.
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  • In this classic ''stop-motion animation'' a box with a kerosene lamp opens up, and the parts of the lamp come out and assemble themselves all while creepy music is playing, and when the lamp is completed, it lights up for a few seconds, and then lights up even brighter, so much so, that it throws a shadow over its box, which is pretty unnerving to watch.
  • A frequently cited example of this is the sketch where Bert and Ernie are exploring a pyramid. In it, there's a really creepy looking statue that looks almost identical to Ernie that moves and talks in a severely creepy voice when Bert's not in the room. The fact that the usually care-free and silly-hearted Ernie is genuinely afraid doesn't do much to reassure younger viewers that the sketch is all in good fun.
  • The first Snuffleupagus puppet suit, with his Technicolor Eyes, is Uncanny Valley to many.
  • One of the creepiest monsters from the 1st season to not be seen again was Beautiful Day Monster. One moment with him was from this skit, with Bert and Ernie in which he appears with 4 eyes scaring Bert away. Another is Kermit's lecture on the "Sound of B". The ending has Beautiful Day Monster screaming the "B" sound while the screen turns white (apparently to simulate the effect of the camera lens fogging up from the sound.)
  • "Count to Ten with Nobody". An odd little sketch from the early years of Sesame Street, where a floating face that looks like it's made of rubber bands, with quite possibly one of the scariest voices ever heard on the show, counts to ten while weird animations and sound effects play continuously in the background. What Do You Mean, It Wasn't Made on Drugs? indeed. Also the face jerks around like it's a seizure victim and who can forget those high-pitched synth tones at the beginning? It was actually based off THIS early Jim Henson film. Yeah, you definitely don’t want to hear the term “evil thoughts” on a show that toddlers watch.
  • The infamous "Geometry of Circles" segments. As mystical as they are, they simply aren't suited very well to an easily frightened young audience.
  • The classic segment "Daddy Dear" scared quite a few children back in the day, especially the roaring dandelion.
  • The song "Healthy Foods" while an upbeat rap song by Cookie Monster, had a creepy-looking broccoli puppet that could easily scare young kids.
  • The Monsterpiece Theatre segments included several spoofs that were more scary than funny.
    • "Twin Beaks". Sure, it's a hilarious segment, but the double-beaked birds just look plain wrong.
    • The unsettling 39 Stairs sketch, a Shout-Out to Alfred Hitchcock no less.
    • The Sound of Music”. It seems innocent enough at first, but it really gets freaky at the end when Grover hears a Julie Andrews sound-alike singing “The Sound of Music”, and suddenly, the hill he is sitting on comes alive and starts moving around. This is supposed to be a joke referencing the lyric: “The hills are alive”, but still, it is unsettling to say the least, and Grover certainly thinks so.
  • A commonly mentioned one is the "I Beam" film. The highly suspenseful music in the background is just plain unsettling.
  • In the classic segment "Disco Frog", a really freaky-looking ghostly silhouette of Kermit is featured. And in case you were born just a bit too late to catch it when it was still being used on the show, it made a return on an episode of Shalom Sesame (a miniseries about Israeli culture that aired in 1983 and 1991), this time partly dubbed into Hebrew. If anything, the dubbing made it even freakier. Needless to say, the full English version is less scary.
  • This creepy-as-hell cartoon about birds. Whoever designed that bird must've been having one hell of a trip.
  • The Mysterious Theater sketches from the late 1980s and early 1990s, parodying the PBS anthology series Mystery! Though the actual stories about Sherlock Hemlock and his sidekick dog, Watson, weren't so scary, the opening title card (featuring a sad woman in mourning clothes next to a gravestone with the title appearing on it, taken directly from the real Mystery! Animated Credits Opening of the time, which itself is nightmare fuel), the theme music, and the host Vincent Twice (a Muppet parody of 1980s Mystery! host Vincent Price) scared many viewers during its run. The segments have not been rerun since 1999, last appearing on the below episode...
  • A 1999 episode had Telly frequently seeing a mysterious alien-like Letter X around, accompanied by smoke and a soundalike of the theme to The X-Files. According to the cast member who plays Alan, CTW considered the episode so scary, it was not rerun on PBS anymore after its first airing, but it eventually resurfaced on cable (such as PBS Kids Sprout when they reran 1998-2001 Sesame Street episodes.)
  • Kermit's W lecture. The first part is unsettling with Cookie Monster trying to eat Kermit. And in the second part, the W becomes sentient and attacks a struggling Kermit.
  • The ending of Kermit's More-and-Less lecture. After Kermit scolds Cookie Monster and lightly threatens to "teach a lesson", a gang of creepy monsters start surrounding poor Kermit in a threatening manner. The scary music does not help.
  • One sketch (incidentally, about how nightmares aren't real) involves Cookie Monster seeing a "monster" in Ernie and Bert's bedroom after he turns the lights out. Although it's just a shaggy blanket rumpled over a toy chest, some viewers have been just as scared as Cookie Monster thanks to the eerie music. The second half is even more unsettling as it features Cookie Monster having a real nightmare about these freaky looking cookies taunting him by singing a scary song.
  • This short skit about the letter G certainly qualifies. "G" words were recited by a girl (that resembled a black version of PC-98 Alice Margatroid) on a stage with short cutscenes demonstrating the meaning of that word. It would have been completely forgettable if not for the last word spoken: "Gone", with a camera cut-back to the stage to show the black Alice gone. She could have just left, it being the end of her role, but why are her clothes still on the chair? And why does that giant "G" that comes up right after that look so menacing?
  • Another unsettling G skit has Grover next to a foam-rubber G as he talks about the various G words and how important they are. As he talks, the G begins move back and forth, and more so, groan in a rather alarming way, all unnoticed by Grover of course. By the time he gets to the word "grow" at 1:40 the G begins to grow at an alarming rate as well as constantly growling; Grover finally runs offstage before the letter explodes. Like the Ernie and Bert pyramid skit above, music was added later on to make the skit less creepy.
  • The Count, especially in early skits, with his power of hypnosis to get people to do what he wanted or to get them to stay out of his way. Two examples included:
    • In one of his earliest appearances, Ernie was building a pyramid of blocks and wanted to take a picture of his creation, asking Bert to make sure nobody disturbs it while retrieving the camera. However, the Count walks in and begins moving the blocks; when Bert tries to stop Count, he is whammied. Later, when Ernie returns and scolds Count, he, too, gets zapped, while Count finishes his counting.
    • A Charlie's Restaurant skit from 1973 where, after admitting to waiter Grover that he had no intent to eat his hot dogs and that he simply wanted to count them (the skit was about simple addition), Grover balks at getting him more. Before Grover can ask the bouncer to have the Count thrown out and asked not to return, the Count zaps Grover, telling him "Go, go and bring me another hot dog." In a trance, Grover says, "Yes ... sir!" before fast-action music and film show Grover bringing out more and more hot dogs and the Count having the time of his life, before an exhausted Grover succumbs to delirium. Although intended to be comedy (due to the fast-action sequence of Grover getting hot dogs), the Count's hypnotic power proved so scary for kids that CTW removed it. The skit can be viewed here.
    • In another early segment, The Count counts seven flowers, however, it all takes place in a black background. It doesn't help that when he finishes counting, lightning flashes in the background and the number seven flashes at the same time. It is, however, funny when The Count sneezes, so it's both creepy and humorous at the same time.
    • This early segement opens with the Count going around his castle as what may possibly be the scariest background music to ever play on Sesame Street underscores the scene, combined with the howling wolves (sounding more like werewolves howling than anything) and eerie bird calls in the background, along with the Count acting more vampiric (with Missing Reflection in a mirror and referring to his bats as "children"), and as he's counting all the letters he wrote to himself and lets out a more villainous version of his Signature Laugh, lightning flashes in multiple colors.
    • Another sketch from 1975 has the Count sleeping over at Ernie and Bert's place, and keeping Ernie awake by counting sheep. In the morning, an extremely haggard, zombie-like Ernie emerges, in a daze and also counting, implying that the Count had used his power on him. ("Forty-three thousand...eight hundred and ninety-one...forty-three thousand...eight-hundred and ninety-two...") Though the way Ernie randomly interjects "Sheep." in the same dazed monotone when Bert tries to get his attention might be funny enough to be Nightmare Retardant.
    • The ending of the song title, "Bones (Inside of You)". The skeleton laughing is terrifying to children. No wonder the laughter sound was omitted on the album version of the song.
  • The Vishnu Sketch showed a four-armed Hindu god or some such counting to twenty on his fingers while a female voice-over sang the numbers to a vaguely Indian-sounding tune. When you're 2, there is something indefinably creepy about that.
  • One short featured Northern Calloway ("David") dressed in some sort of Orientalist garb. He played a shehnai and "charmed" a floating number 12 out of a snake-basket, while sitar music played. The whole thing was rather eerie and unsettling, but especially the end: David folded his arms, intoned "twellllve" and slowly vanished.
  • The computer animation in the Journey to Ernie and Hero Guy segments.
  • In the "Big Bird's Birthday or Let Me Eat Cake" special, Cookie Monster resists his temptation to eat Big Bird's birthday cake... by eating everything else on Sesame Street. At one point, he was shown actively eating a lamp post. The show cut back from one of the skits, and the camera showed a broken light bulb crackling live electricity, and panned over the rest of Sesame Street, which looked more like a war zone.
  • There was a standalone Elmo sketch where British comedian Ricky Gervais appears at Elmo's bedtime to sing him a "celebrity lullaby". After some funny parental bonuses, Ricky then screaming the song, centered on the letter N—which begins by gently singing about nighttime and nightgown... to SCREAMING "NAHNAHNAHNAHNAH" at the top of his lungs at a traumatized Elmo, who responds with a theme-appropriate "No!" and ends up too terrified to sleep.
  • This short that tried to teach kids about pattern completion. The sound that plays when the missing space is revealed is horrifying.
  • Here is an orange with a face made out of random stuff. She sings opera. And then her face explodes.
  • Bob Luis and the Train ends with a train coming out of a tunnel and right towards the camera. The lack of music when the train approaches and the way it slowly gets closer and closer does not help matters. Even Bob and Luis are terrified!
  • The ending to this cartoon about the letter "Y", where after a talkative yak is called a "yakity yakity yak" by the narrator, the yak goes nuts and charges toward the screen with wild eyes, shattering the screen. It's made worse in this 1992 episode. Right after the yak crashes into the screen and it is completely black, the "NEWS FLASH" logo from the Sesame Street News sketches zooms in very fast from the center of the screen. The logo itself does have traits of a stereotypical scary Vanity Plate (high-contrast colors on a black background, bombastic music), but the rapid zoom-in (not unlike a certain Viacom logo) does not help.
  • The Wegman Dogs. For some, their first introduction to Uncanny Valley – either a dog's head on a human's body, or human hands on a dog that's walking erect for some reason, all wearing clothes and wigs and speaking in Creepy Monotone.
  • "Wet Paint" by How Now Brown and the Moo Wave. The trippy background visuals alone, consisting of paint being thrown, splashed, and dripped onto white and blue backgrounds, would be off-putting enough to most young viewers. However, towards the end of the sketch, the paint suddenly starts infiltrating the foreground, followed by How Now Brown screaming like a maniac while the screen literally melts awaynote . The YouTube comments speak for themselves.
  • Two cosplayers showed up to Dragoncon 2012 dressed up as a realistic-looking Ernie and Bert. Unfortunately, it ended up looking very uncanny, to the point where the article calls them "Childhood Ruining Nightmare Fuel". See the horrifying, terrifying photos here and here... if you're able to.
  • The "Teeny Little Super Guy". He dispenses good, down-to-earth advice... but he's very creepy. The way he rises up and down from solid surfaces like a ghost, his gravely smoker voice and the choppy, awkward animation make him very unsettling to watch.
  • This particular sketch, which was first transmitted circa 1986, is pure Nightmare Fuel. It features creepy wind-up toys doing things of their own accord and a mechanical arm that plays piano and spells out "SESAME STREET", intercut with footage of satellites. To top it off, it's all set to Janko Nilovic's "Portrait d'Un Robot", a creepy-as-heck piece of music (for any Australian fans playing at home, it was also the "Rocket Clock" theme from Play School). It's implied that its purpose is to somehow teach kids about machines and mechanics, but it just smacks of What Do You Mean, It Wasn't Made on Drugs?. And to make it even creepier, it's reminiscent of the freaky music video for "Rockit" by Herbie Hancock.
  • Similarly, the classic 1970s Bert and Ernie song, "Imagination", was originally a longer storyline, in which we actually see Ernie having nightmares about "Dark shadows, spooky things, and spooky scary monsters that creep up at you and go, 'Wubba-wubba!'." Ernie's nightmare ended up being too scary for the kids watching, so instead of the whole storyline being used for an episode of the show, just the part where Bert helps Ernie calm his fears by imagining balloons with the song "Imagination" was used as an insert.
  • This is a big letter V. Not bad until the very end, where it's embedded on someone's knee.
  • These kids are seen running and hiding from a giant mutant rabbit. Even worse is when the funky music score stops dead in its tracks when the kids hide behind trees and the rabbit passes by without seeing them, and then continues on as if nothing happened once it passes (and the kids run off).
  • The 1976 episode where Margaret Hamilton reprised her role as The Wicked Witch of the West. note  Aired February 10, 1976, the Children's Television Workshop and PBS received mail from parents, almost all of it negative; a recurring theme was that the children — too young to understand the story was fiction and to distinguish reality from fantasy — were frightened by the Witch's behavior and her threatening various characters with harm (turning Big Bird into a feather duster and David into a basketball); additionally, at least one Wiccan mother complained that the episode represented negative stereotypes of witches (despite a scene late in the episode where Big Bird warms up to the Witch and they become friendly). While the episode may be seen as Narmish today — indeed, among the intended morals of the episode was that the Witch's threats were merely idle and that viewers had in reality nothing to worry about — at the time PBS decided it was best if the episode be shelved when the summer 1976 summer rerun schedule cycled to that episode that August ... and indeed, not even so much as clips have resurfaced, even 40-plus years later. It was banned due to the heaps of nightmare-inducing terror it featured according to parents. Though a detailed recap of the episode (with screencaps) can be found on the ToughPigs Muppet fan site.
  • Telly Monster's original design and characterization with his swirling eyes, antennae head, and druggie-like addiction to television. It's easy to see why Mr. Hooper is so frightened.
  • The "Cracks" animated segment, in which a girl imagines the cracks on the walls of her house as various animals, culminating in the monstrous "Crack Master." Once the Sesame Workshop stopped playing it, it was not seen anywhere until Christmas Eve 2013, when it was finally uncovered by The Lost Media Wiki.
  • This seemingly-pointless cartoon from the 70s that features a woman in profile's features randomly morphing, accompanied by loud whizzing Moog synthesizer sound effects. Even worse is the male version with its deeper synth sounds and more horrific facial distortions.
  • The Martians (or Yip-Yips, as they're known to some tropers) have frightened many children over the years. Here is a typical Martian segment. It may have to do with their protruding lower jaws, their spastic shivering movements, their tenuous grasp on the English language and unsettling way of speaking, or the implication that they can teleport in from anywhere at any time they please, or even turn invisible. The creepy music and sound effects that plays throughout the skits made things worse. And of course, it doesn't help that Kermit is terrified of them. However, some can find the part in the telephone skit where the Martians imitate the sound of the phone ringing Nightmare Retardant.
  • The Christmas special "Elmo Saves Christmas" has the Easter Bunny, who's surprisingly pretty creepy with the uncanny appearance: he's a guy in a bunny suit with a creepy smoker's voice (portrayed by Harvey Fierstein). It kind of makes you wonder how many kids were traumatized by this guy.
    • The dark turn the special's "be careful what you wish for" message takes. To wit: Elmo wishes for "Christmas every day," and at first it seems wonderful...until, after a year of nothing but Christmas, we see the beloved Sesame Street in the grip of a Bad Future. The place is a desolate ruin. Countless businesses have closed due to lack of customers, and the shop owners are losing their minds; Maria in particular is shown to be desperate to fix something—anything—and is "sick of having fun." There are no Christmas trees because evergreen pine trees have been classified as endangered, according to Grover. The local carolers have been singing non-stop for a year, and as a result, they're barely able to speak because of laryngitis. Anyone who was visiting family for Christmas, like Snuffy, can never go home again. Even Count von Count has lost his love of counting, and shows symptoms of depression (total lack of interest in former activities and general listlessness). And when Elmo tries to undo this by using his last wish, he accidentally breaks the magic snowglobe that grants them before he can finish the incantation, dooming Sesame Street to an eternity frozen in time (as Luis puts it: "It's Christmas...FOREVER" and Big Bird laments "Goodbye, Snuffy" implying that he felt like he lost his friend). Thankfully, Elmo figures out a way to hit the Reset Button, but it's still a big Tear Jerker.
    • There is a lesson to be told and it is that holidays are not fun when they are every single day. Just look at what happened to Sesame Street.
  • There's something a little bit unsettling about these carnival masks.
  • In keeping with the mask theme, we present to you "M for Mask". It says a lot when the clown mask is the least unsettling of the bunch.
  • Grover's "Health Minute" featuring Kermit the Frog. Grover wants to tell the kids all about oral hygiene using Kermit as a volunteer, but frogs don't have teeth. Grover says, "Excuse us a moment," and wrestles Kermit off-screen. When Kermit comes back on, he looks extremely uncomfortable. Grover gets him to open his mouth and we see Kermit with a full set of teeth. While Grover is explaining the basics of dental care, Kermit looks straight at the camera, bares his teeth and makes a hissing sound, which stuns Grover for a second. When Grover asks if he can have his teeth back, Kermit chases after him, jaws snapping madly.
  • The segment where Grover tries to sell toothbrushes to Kermit the Frog has a surprisingly violent ending. After Grover forces Kermit to wear teeth so he can use a toothbrush, Kermit makes some unsettling hissing noises before chomping on Grover's arm at full force.
  • Don Music losing his temper can be unsettling. It's no wonder his character didn't last long. In 1998, the skits were suspended from airing because parents sent in complaints to Children's Television Workshop about their kids hitting their heads from home. One sketch (last link in the previous entry) even has Don Music rewrite the Sesame Street theme. The mood is not good as there is a stormy night, Kermit the Frog is involved, and Yellowstone Park is mentioned.
  • The Bigger Than the World! animated sketch which involves a frog trying to prove to a giant ox that she can be much bigger than the ox. So, the frog starts to constantly puff herself up until she was as huge as a beach ball and when she finally states that she has become bigger than the world, the frog suddenly explodes. It's directly inspired by one of Aesop's Fables, which were originally never intended for children.
  • SAM the Machine scared a few kids back in the day, especially with its Uncanny Valley appearance and its pretty creepy robotic voice.
  • Bird and Toothbrush not only features a freaky-looking claymation bird, but the hands that come out of the mountain are pretty creepy as well.
  • "Number Twelve Rocks". It's like a bad peyote trip in the desert. Hell of a way to teach kids to count, Henson.
  • The entire "Rocket Countdown" series. Between the Yellow Submarine animation style, and all that guy's freaking teeth...
  • The pointless violence of "Number Elimination" was always unnerving to sit through.
  • The ending of the "Indian U Call" skit has a talking letter U turning to viewers with wild eyes and a creepy voiced remark of "UNBELIEVABLE!"
  • That creepy thing that Oscar buys for Ernie in this segment where he can’t find his rubber duck. The noise it makes when Ernie squeezes it is terrifying. Ernie quivers with fear as he squeezes it.
  • The King of 8. While the unnatural animation automatically makes this a little odd, there's the tiny matter of the fact that it ends with the jester dying by being crushed by the giant 8 on the castle. And this happens immediately after he announces the birth of a ninth princess.
  • This creepy animated segment that features the letter "E" as it shows an animated piece of clay morphing into all kinds of things that begin with the letter "E," all against a white background and bizarre music...
  • The Ogre Head on a Hill skit. The creepy Irish music doesn't help matters.
  • "And Now... The Octopus!." The music just makes it more creepy and unsettling. Seeing this as a 4-year old is rather jarring. The Kermit part at the end might help, though.
  • There's a really creepy cartoon called "Beware of the Box". And anything that goes in the box doesn't come out.
  • In the Box. Kermit and a green Grover demonstrate the word "in", and the ending (with an extreme Gross-Up Close-Up on a green dragon-like monster, whose name is Fred) is really creepy. The same dragon-like monster appeared in a skit where Ernie is rock hunting.
  • The original Big Bird model has no head feathers, making it look like he'd suffered a traumatic head injury for people only familiar with his modern look. Even Caroll Spinney has called the early Big Bird "the ugliest puppet I had ever seen."
  • In the "Kids' Favorite Songs 2" video, Snuffy sneezes on some spaghetti and a giant meatball off it, which he proceeds to chase all over Sesame Street. At first it's funny, but near the end, it gets creepy. Elmo, Rosita, Baby Bear, and a lamb Muppet see the meatball coming, and Rosita and Baby Bear warn Elmo to get out of the way. Elmo doesn't look at first, but when he does turn around he sees the meatball coming towards him, about to crush him. He's too scared to move out of the way, and there's dramatic music and slow motion accompanying the scene. Many kids also considered the "On Top Of Spaghetti" song scene that started the runaway meatball subplot to be Accidental Nightmare Fuel.
  • Speaking of which, the Typewriter segment where he types the word "nose" and a huge nose appears. Then it sneezes, and its sneeze is huge, scary, and sudden. Muppet Central user Janice & Mokey's Man described it as "the Anti-Christ".
  • Five Purple Conkers and Ten Little Greeblies were dark ways to teach kids about subtraction, because the Conkers and Greeblies get killed in violent ways.
    • Five Purple Conkers. The first two purple conkers get eaten by a fish and a bird. The third conker jumps into the can of glue with the worker not knowing, then the worker uses his brush to glue up the wallpaper with the Conker in the wallpaper, causing the Conker to suffocate to death. The two last ones get a happy ending, but still.
    • Ten Little Greeblies was arguably even scarier. The first one chases a fly off a limb and falls down to his doom, the second one tries the trick on his skate but gets crushed by a skate instead, the third one commits suicide by driving his plane down to the ground to take a shortcut to heaven, the fourth one gets eaten by a fish, the fifth one tries to get honey out of a hive but gets stung to death by bees, the sixth one teases a mouse then gets eaten by it, the seventh one drowns in the sea because he forgot to swim, the eighth one jumps in a shoe and gets crushed by someone's foot, and the ninth one gets eaten on a hamburger. The last one is alone but made a wish on a star and there are more greeblies in the end which is actually a happy ending. But still.
  • The "Milo Counting" skits featured a rather unfriendly looking man clad in a suit and tie counting to thirteen. The creepy stop motion effects and the way he comes out of the lake at the beginning of the sketch with the number 1 are very unsettling. No wonder the skits were retired in the mid-2000s.
  • The skit with the "four dragons". The evil prime minister, who had some evil eyebrows, probably scared a few children.
  • This skit circa 1995 animated by Ken Brown and Lisa Crafts, featuring a beatnik bat, has stiff, Deranged Animation resulting in Off-Model facial expressions. The ending line, "And that was that", is pretty eerie too.
  • There were a few skits featuring a kid saying "I wonder what will happen if everything was in slow motion", and proceeding to imagine it. In one of the skits, the kid is watching a football game, sees the slow-motion replay, and says the above line, and imagines the entire game in slow-mo. In the other skit, the same kid is playing in the snow with other kids. The unsettling, slow-sounding music and the people moving slowly is pretty eerie.
  • This skit from the mid 1990's. We've got a night light that produces the sound of electricity crackling, a thunderstorm, a creepy robot, and a creepy cat. The lighting when dad brings his kid back into the room and sets him back into bed is creepy because of the bright light and the shadow it casts. Midway through the skit is a Jaws-like riff followed by the sound of the robot and the skit ends (seemingly) with every toy coming to life and producing a creepy melody.
  • King Minus was a play on the story of King Midas, but instead of turning everything to gold, everything he touched disappeared. It ends with him accidentally making the princess he was trying to rescue vanish, then ultimately making himself vanish.
  • One vintage sketch, "10 Clowns", features an extremely misguided clown character. It's bad enough that a clown car tears around wildly in the parking lot while raucous circus music plays, and when the car screeches to a stop and the ten clowns pour out, each saying their number in progressively deeper voices. But the low point is the tenth and final clown: he is more ape than human, moving right at the camera on all fours and bellowing in a voice that reminds one of demonic possession. You don't have to be afraid of clowns to be terrified of this gorilla-like bozo.
  • There was at one time a series of segments that showed a puzzle of pieces to an image being put together. Each piece of the puzzle would one at a time come flying in spinning at a very fast speed while a very freaky synthesizer sound plays, then it would make a very loud "BOING!" when the piece was placed. When there was only one piece left, the pieces of the puzzle would one by one slide like a slider puzzle to their rightful spots, then the final piece would come into place, and a group of kids would shout out what the puzzle shows a picture of. The sound effects don't at all help.
  • The 40 Dots one is definitely unsettling. It features dots appearing one at a time with a guy counting them melodically with his voice getting progressively higher as he counts. It gets really scary when he gets to the 39th one, bellowing it out three times and sounding like he's almost out of breath!
  • One live action sketch called Milk Crisis could qualify. Some people who watch this may feel uneasy watching it considering it depicts a more realistic situation. The woman singing "Milk" over and over again is kind of annoying, and we see a rather disturbing close up of a crying baby.
  • Until Season 33, pretty much all sketches on Sesame Street would come up at random every single episode, so viewers watching it would just hope in vain a certain sketch would play or not play. However, one thing that nobody can ever avoid are the funding credits at the end of the show! A very infamous example of nightmare fuel on Sesame Street is the music that played during the funding credits from 1972 until 1992 (Seasons 4 through 23). This music, sometimes referred to as the "Funky Chimes", have spooked a lot of kids back in the day.
  • In this Sesame Street News Flash, Kermit is interviewing the Magic Mirror from Snow White. Many of the comments for the video are about how the live human face in the Magic Mirror (Jerry Nelson) scared them. It may not be as scary as the face in the mirror from the Disney version, but it comes close, especially how he sounds like Boris Karloff.
  • There's another News Flash sketch featuring "Jack and the Beanstalk," featuring Jerry Nelson in a live human role again, in this case, the Giant. He's creeped out quite a few kids this way too.
  • One animated segment from circa 1999 called "Felines", animated by Rose Rosely, could fit this. It features a mouse singing a blues song about cats with different emotions, which is a parody of the song, "Feelings". The music and creepy animation make it extremely unsettling, not to mention the loud horn used a few times can also be a scare.
  • A segment from the 70's demonstrating big, bigger and biggest with the Sesame Street monsters was really scary. The little monster grows and becomes bigger than the two other monsters and bellows the word "biggest!" in a really loud echo.
  • From one of their Numberosity segments, 5 creepy looking monsters appeared. No wonder that part was edited out in the 80s.
  • One vintage animated sketch called "M Choir" is quite unsettling. The sketch features a maestro conducting a choir. He has each individual part of the choir hum in their vocal range giving off a pretty haunting tune, and as they hum, a letter M comes from them and flies up into the maestro's face. As the voices get deeper, the M's become larger. However, the low point is at the end when he has all the vocal parts hum together unleashing a gimongous letter M, which ends up giving chase to the maestro.
  • This sketch features Smokey Robinson singing "You Really Got a Hold On Me" as a letter U keeps trying to latch onto him.
  • The first ending to the Number Three Ball Film had the ball getting ground up into a fine powder. It was so tragic to kids that they made an alternate ending where it (the ball) instead becomes 3 cherries that drop onto 3 ice cream sundaes on a conveyor belt.
  • This Ernie & Bert sketch about the Letter H is innocent enough, but the humming sound coming from the TV and the monotone voice saying "H" and later "I" is very unsettling. In fact, so is the look of the whole TV.
  • Marty the Chair: The dark lighting, the weird sound effects, and the extreme close-up when the chair finally finds its glasses help make this one of the more disturbing sketches in the Sesame Street repertoire.
  • This sketch features bad 80s computer animation, which makes it fall into the Uncanny Valley.
  • These skits with Gordon and Linda making sign language words seem rather tame, until you get to the one where they say the word "disappear". After Gordon does indeed disappear, he manages to say the word one last time and you could swear he says it from the bounds of Hell. For that matter the look of Linda after being hit by the pie is also rather unnerving.
  • This skit from the 70s. It's a creepy and weird cartoon featuring a bird and elephant skeleton in a locker room putting each other's skins on themselves.
  • One song from the late 70's called "In and Out Fever" may have been intended to be a catchy disco dance song, though it could be frightening since the song is played in a minor key, and not to mention all the characters in it are monsters, plus the light glare is red giving the impression that it takes place in Hell.
  • Sammy the Snake can be scary to anyone with Ophidiophobia.
  • The Cecile musical sequences from late 90s episodes of Sesame Street (like this one), despite having some incredible stop-motion animation, are not fondly remembered by everyone who grew up with them being back-segments on the show for this reason. It's not hard to see why since Cecile herself is an orange shape-shifting ball with no facial features beyond her prominent mouth, a deep singing voice, and often trippy morphing sequences. "I'm Gonna Get To You", in particular, not only features Cecile getting very close to the screen with her eye-less face several times while saying the song's title, (possible Paranoia Fuel for very young kids) but the song itself is disturbingly easy to reinterpret the wrong way.
  • This Guy Smiley skit features a creepy looking cloud and an equally creepy looking sun.
  • "I Want to Hold Your Ear". The fact the male Muppet is obsessed with this particular female Muppet and he is taking all of her facial features off her face makes this nightmare fuel. The end of the skit is particularly disturbing: after the female Muppet walks off faceless in a huff, the table cloth assumes her facial features and rises ghost-like and flirts with the male Muppet. The male Muppet is clearly unsettled: "Gasp."
  • "F for Faces" from 1992 by Ken Brown and Lisa Crafts has a person's face morph into other faces along with non-human things such as a robot. While the background music is Awesome Music, the cartoon has scared many children if you look at the comment section.
  • Beware of Winter is a song with a very haunting melody that could surely make kids terrified of the season all together.
  • This sketch with Grover and Mr. Johnson takes place in a coffee shop. The scary part of this sketch happens at the end after the cow drinks the coffee and gets so caffeinated with bulged eyes running around making very deranged-sounding moo's.
  • There was one episode in the early 90's where the main plot of the episode was a bit unsettling. It's about Telly Monster who sees a gigantic number 11 appear before him in the middle of Sesame Street accompanied by some majestic music. Telly is amazed at the 11 and wants to show it to his friends, but it keeps disappearing before he can get it to show it to anyone and only appears when he is looking. At one point, he almost gets to show it to someone; it appears while a yellow monster named Ruby is sitting with him, but Ruby isn't even looking at it, and Telly keeps trying to get Ruby to turn around, but she completely ignores him and continues to talk to herself. This could qualify as nightmare fuel because the music and the image of the giant 11 were quite unsettling, plus kids could relate to the frustrations Telly goes through throughout the episode. It's very possible this episode will never air on TV again since the image of the 11 might remind some people of something that was only 5.5 miles away from where Sesame Street is filmed...
  • A Muppet Monster named Frazzle can be scary to kids due to his fierce appearance. Though the full version (with the tearings around the circles throughout the song) could startle kids as the variation was created without the fade out like the 1995 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment logo from the early VHS/Laserdiscs like the Star Wars Trilogy.
  • The Monster Cookie. It's All Just a Dream but the dream-cookie apparently used to be a monster before gradually turning into a cookie.
  • The Lead Away video. It basically tells kids that there's a substance that could be anywhere and could make you very ill and it can get inside of your body. And all with a lighthearted tone, especially when Oscar takes Irvine for a blood test. And this line during the Lead Police song.
    Lead Police: "Lead could be hiding anywhere. On the window in the dust it might be there".
  • This episode. Maria, Luis, Gabi and Big Bird are happily playing charades and then suddenly Maria exclaims and grabs her side, and then Luis is like "I don't think she's playing anymore" and walks up to Maria. She then talks in this way where she's talking normally and then suddenly makes pain noises again, and has to go to the hospital.
  • On a similar case, Luis hurting his back could qualify. It starts with Gabi and Luis happily practicing a dance, but then he suddenly starts yelling in pain and grabs his back. The fact that Big Bird thinks he's OK and is just playing a game doesn't help matters and neither does the fact that he's forced to lie down and rest, which could be nightmare fuel if you're very active.
  • The Hurricane Episode. It basically says "Hey, viewers! Sesame Street is not a hundred percent safe place! There is a chance of a storm destroying someone's house or bed or whatever!". Big Bird's repetition of "My nest, my home" doesn't help either.
  • Cookie Monster Buys a Rhyme. It has Cookie Monster walking into a shop and saying he wants to buy something that rhymes with 'buy' and is tasty. He eventually thinks it's Guy (Smiley) he wants to buy and starts chasing him around the store.
  • While this skit mostly averts this, the song "You've Gotta Be Patient to Be a Patient" can be this for active viewers. It basically says "It's necessary to lie around with nothing to do" in a cheery voice.
  • This video featuring a shark singing about his "Pearly White Teeth" and showing them at the screen.
  • Creepy fish. The ominous music makes this video creepier; fish glowing in the dark is not for people with ichthyophobia.
  • Herry was so creepy in the early shows. Farley getting scared by Herry constantly knocking on the door and Herry busting down the door can be scary to little kids.
  • This skit about a Geefle and a Gonk looks innocent but eerie music is playing in the background.
  • The Alphabet Jungle sketch from the mid 1990's. The animation (done by Rugrats creator Klasky-Csupo) is flat out uncanny, especially the way the girl walks and the appearance of her face. There are also scary appearances by a rhino that crushes one letter and a giant smiling spider crawling over another. At the end of the sketch, the screen fades to black and the music fades out and all we see are the eyes of every character with the sound of crickets.
  • This animated segment features bats that look creepy but also has eerie music for every bat that flies away.
  • Even the bumper for their website isn't immune from being scary. The crayon drawing's way too bright, Maria's voice is pretty loud and sudden, and it showed up at the end of every home video without warning until they stopped using it.
  • During the otherwise-tame "Elmo's Potty Time" skit, Grover's stomach speaks at one point (says "Food" in a deep voice when he gets hungry, then says "Bye, Elmo"). It has never shown the ability to talk before or since, and you wonder how it could talk.
  • The song "Belly Breathe" by Common and Colbie Caillat shows Elmo getting angry and becoming a Frazzle-looking monster. Common himself doesn't look too bad, as he isn't necessarily angry in his transformation, but Elmo can be as scary as the actual Frazzle when he transforms.
  • Face Facts is just creepy as hell with the crudely-animated face parts going over the live-action kids' faces, and the minor key music doesn't help much at all.
  • In this skit, a man sneezes, and turns buildings to rubble every time he sneezes. Eventually, the whole city is destroyed, save the man's house, which gets destroyed after the dog sneezes.
  • The never-aired ten minute version of "Imagination" contained a sequence featuring a group of translucent monsters invading Bert and Ernie's bedroom. While video footage isn't available, this picture shows the monsters in action, and they are terrifying.
  • Yuri the Yak, whether it's due to the extreme closeups on his face, the fact that he moves around in a downright unnatural fashion, the bizarre music, the psychotic-sounding narrator, the fact that Yuri can apparently turn into a giant capital Y, or the sheer isolated feel of the sketch. However, it convinced some people to try yellow yams and yogurt.
  • There are some skits where the Letter of the Day is iced on a cookie and Cookie Monster tries not to eat the cookie. Normally, they're funny and not scary at all, but the one with the letter Z has Cookie Monster repeating, "What me do?" while holding the cookie to his neck, but then he keels over like he had a heart attack or something. Then it ends.
  • Whenever Bert is sleeping, he has some really freaky eyelashes. Any Muppet looked freaky whenever they had their eyes closed.
  • Kids Just Love to Brush may seem like an innocent enough song, but the minor key that the refrain is played in is uncomfortable to listen to, especially since it continuously plays on loop at the end for quite a while. Candy Looper constantly swishing her hair around doesn't help much either, nor does the pillow fight at the end with the flying pillows and feathers from them breaking.
  • Barn in the U.S.A is a great example. The song is supposed to be a parody on Bruce Springsteen's "Born in the U.S.A." where farm animals talk about what they do. The problem with the song is that it's played in a minor key with very loud instrumentation, making it sound more like the animals are creatures of the night who like to stalk innocent people while they're asleep.
  • Diva La Diva, the world's loudest singer, who came to Sesame Street to get her toaster fixed in one 90's episode. Diva frequently shows off her singing skills throughout the episode, causing much damage on the street in the Fix-It Shop, Big Bird's nest and Hooper's Store multiple times over.
  • Mine-Itis is a disease that first has those infected itch uncontrollably and go into spasms (described as spinning and hopping like a kangaroo) before getting corrupted into a mindless selfish husk of their former self that can only drone "MINE", and when they are cured they have no recollection of what they did. It's played lightly, but up until the "Walking Gingerbread" sketch, it was the closest thing we got to a Zombie Apocalypse in Sesame Street.
  • This segment about Stop signs. We have the same kind of stop-motion as the Milo Counting skits but with the camera stopping very close to each Stop sign making their appearance very reminiscent of zooming vanity plates. The music is a weirdly simplistic off-key chiming and it doesn't help that Maria's voice changes in tone every time she shouts "Stop!" sounding loud and firm at one point, and angry at another.
  • This episode where Natasha and Slimy are having a play date for the most part is pretty tame up until Gordon with the finger puppet of Slimy is in front of Natasha teaching her how to be gentle with Slimy it's going well until Natasha bites Gordon's finger and spits out the Slimy puppet! To which Oscar rightfully tells everyone that he's not going to let Natasha near Slimy because she might bite Slimy as well! It was a good thing that it was the puppet of Slimy or otherwise Oscar would've seen Natasha bite Slimy for real and Slimy would've been dead for sure! Even though, it isn't meant to be scary it's still scary to think what would've happened if Natasha bit Slimy for real! It's at 10:04 for anyone who's curious.
  • Don't Cross The Street Alone is a very good way to teach kids not to cross the street by themselves. This skit has a scary voice over telling kids to never cross the street alone when the light turns red many creepy-looking vehicles rushed by the girl scaring her to back away and the vehicles laughed evilly but luckily it ends with her mother holding her hand and the girl feeling safe with her mother as they crossed the street together.
  • Fire At Hooper's Store was the scariest episode in the series, especially since it was made in response to the September 11 attacks. At first it starts out fine and well with Maria and Elmo at Hooper's store for lunch with Alan serving them but then they see smoke to which Alan goes to get the fire extinguisher to put out the fire while Elmo and Maria ran out of the store to call the fire fighters with Elmo holding on to Maria while shaking and scared of the fire. Thankfully, the store is alright as the fire fighters put out the fire (and it was mostly out by the time the firefighters came along anyway) but Elmo is still scared of going inside the store after that traumatic event and who can blame him after the hell he went through. Thankfully, the fire-fighters assure Elmo that everything is alright at the end and they even let him and his friends have lunch at the fire house! If you ever went through the fire like that at anyplace and this might bring back unpleasant memories!
  • In the late 2010s, Sesame Street made a video about domestic violence. Granted it’s for adults only, but the way the dad audibly slaps the mom is quite startling. No wonder those kids were so scared. You can watch it here:
  • Lefty the salesman has actually been shown to be in the mafia in a few sketches. That’s right: even SESAME STREET has a criminal syndicate. This is definitely something no parent wants to explain to a preschooler.
  • There’s just something unsettling about the “Martian Beauty” song. Does anybody really need that many nostrils?
  • The definition of the word “kill”: REALLY, Sesame Street Dictionary?!
  • Rodeo Rosie ( and Pat Playjacks ( are rather unsettling examples of More Teeth than the Osmond Family.
  • "The Word is 'No'", a terrifying music video from the 80s. It has scared quite a few people. Watch it if you dare.

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