Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark


Fun and seriously scary stories adapted from urban legends.

Reading Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark as a precocious seven-year-old definitely set me on the path to become an illustrator and a life-long enthusiast of the unusual and downright bizarre. The series quenched my interest in a scary world parallel to my own and felt like a special secret whenever I read it. It takes a route not unlike Judy Blume’s work; the content is made for children, but isn’t condescending nor compromised by an adult comfort about what is “kid-friendly.”

The book features adaptations of urban legends—like bringing a dog back from a trip abroad, only to realize that it’s a giant sewer rat—by author Alvin Schwartz that are fun and “scary lite.” But the harrowing (yet darkly fascinating) drawings by celebrated illustrator Stephen Gammell make Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark a classic beloved by adults and children alike. So much so, that when Brett Helquist (of Series of Unfortunate Events fame) re-illustrated the series, fans put up a huge resistance. One disgruntled customer on Amazon gave the new series one star with the comment, “No Gammell, no sale!”

You can buy a used copy of the book with Gammell’s illustrations online from anywhere with a pricetag that ranges from a penny to $50!