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The Books That Fueled Your Childhood Nightmares Are Back—and Scarier than Ever

"Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark" got a frightening update.

scary stories to tell in the dark

If you were a child in the 1980s or 1990s, you were probably traumatized by Alvin Schwartz’s Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark. Many (hopefully) irrational fears of 80s and 90s kids can be traced back to Scary Stories, from spiders laying eggs inside your skin to a murderer hiding in the backseat of your car.

What made Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark especially, well, scary, were the terrifying drawings and illustrations by Stephen Gammell. Gammell did not soften any of his terrifying images out of respect for the literal children reading these books. Nope, Gammell’s illustrations were straight out of nightmares.

Related: 12 Creepy Kids Books That Scarred Us for Life 

Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark and its sequels were re-released by HarperCollins in 2011. To fans’ horror, they were released with different illustrations. No knocks on Brett Helquist, who also illustrated Lemony Snicket’s Series of Unfortunate Events, but his art was just not the same—and not as scary—as Gammell’s.

scary stories to tell in the dark harold the scarecrow
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  • Harold the Scarecrow, from "Harold"

    Photo Credit: Stephen Gammell

 So imagine our delight when HarperCollins released a 30th anniversary set of the trilogy featuring Gammell’s illustrations once again! That’s right, you can now get a brand new set of Scary Stories with all of the gruesomely macabre illustrations that you remember. 

Share the scare with today's kids—or relive the fear of your childhood all over again. The newly restored edition is available now at Amazon and Barnes and Noble

Illustration from "Scary Stories 3: More Tales to Chill Your Bones".