Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark

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Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark
Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark cover.jpg
Author Alvin Schwartz
Illustrator Stephen Gammell
Cover artist Stephen Gammell
Country United States
Language English
Genre Horror, Children's
Publisher Harper & Row
Published 1981–1991

Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark is a series of three children's books written by Alvin Schwartz and illustrated by Stephen Gammell. The titles of the books are Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark (1981), More Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark (1984), and Scary Stories 3: More Tales to Chill Your Bones (1991)


Schwartz drew heavily from folklore and urban legends as the topic of his stories, researching extensively and spending more than a year on writing each book.[1] The first volume was published in 1981, and the books have subsequently been collected in both a box set and a single volume. There is also an audiobook version of each book, read by George S. Irving. The audiobooks are presented in unabridged format with the exception of a handful of missing stories from the first book.

This series is listed as being the most challenged series of books from 1990–1999[2] and seventh most challenged from 2000–2009[3] by the American Library Association for its violence. The surreal, nightmarish illustrations contained within are also a frequently challenged component of the original books.

To celebrate the books' 30th anniversary in 2011, Harper Collins re-released them with new illustrations from Brett Helquist, the illustrator of A Series of Unfortunate Events. This has come under severe criticism from fans of Gammell's illustrations, citing that they are not as effective or as scary as the originals.[4]


# Title Original published date Pages ISBN
1 Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark October 14, 1981 128 ISBN 978-0-397-31927-5
Stories include: 1. The Big Toe, 2. The Walk, 3. "What Do You Come For?", 4. Me Tie Dough-ty Walker!, 5. A Man Who Lived in Leeds, 6. Old Woman All Skin and Bone, 7. The Thing, 8. Cold as Clay, 9. The White Wolf, 10. The Haunted House, 11. The Guests, 12. The Hearse Song, 13. The Girl Who Stood on a Grave, 14. A New Horse, 15. Alligators, 16. Room for One More, 17. The Wendigo, 18. The Dead Man's Brains, 19. "May I Carry Your Basket?", 20. The Hook, 21. The White Satin Evening Gown, 22. High Beams, 23. The Babysitter, 24. The Viper, 25. The Attic, 26. The Slithery-Dee, 27. Aaron Kelly's Bones, 28. Wait til Martin Comes, 29. The Ghost with the Bloody Fingers. 
2 More Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark October 31, 1984 112 ISBN 978-0-8124-4914-3
Stories include: 1. Something was Wrong, 2. The Wreck, 3. One Sunday Morning, 4. Sounds, 5. A Weird Blue Light, 6. Somebody Fell From Aloft, 7. The Little Black Dog, 8. Clinkity-Clink, 9. The Bride, 10. Rings on Her Fingers 11. The Drum, 12. The Window, 13. Wonderful Sausage, 14. The Cat's Paw, 15. The Voice, 16. "Oh, Susannah!", 17. The Man in the Middle, 18. Cat in a Shopping Bag, 19. The Bed by the Window, 20. The Dead Man's Hand, 21. A Ghost in the Mirror, 22. The Curse, 23. The Church, 24. The Bad News, 25. Cemetery Soup, 26. The Brown Suit, 27. BA-ROOOM!, 28. Thumpity-Thump. 
3 Scary Stories 3: More Tales to Chill Your Bones September 1, 1991 128 ISBN 978-0-590-13589-4
Stories include: 1. The Appointment, 2. The Bus Stop, 3. Faster and Faster, 4. Just Delicious, 5. Hello, Kate!, 6. The Black Dog, 7. Footsteps, 8. Like Cat's Eyes, 9. Bess, 10. Harold, 11. The Dead Hand, 12. Such Things Happen, 13. The Wolf Girl, 14. The Dream, 15. Sam's New Pet, 16. Maybe You Will Remember, 17. The Red Spot, 18. No, Thanks, 19. The Trouble, 20. Strangers, 21. The Hog, 22. Is Something Wrong?, 23. It's Him!, 24. T-H-U-P-P-P-P-P-P-P!, 25. You May Be Next... 

Film adaptation[edit]

CBS Films acquired the rights to the series, with the intent of producing it as a potential feature film.[5] It was announced in 2014 that writer John August will pen the film for CBS Films.[6]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Schwartz, Alvin; Vardell, Sylvia (1987). "Profile: Alvin Schwartz". Language Arts. 64 (4): 426–432. 
  2. ^ "100 most frequently challenged books: 1990–1999 |". Retrieved 2013-09-23. 
  3. ^ "Top 100 Banned/Challenged Books: 2000-2009 |". Retrieved 2013-09-23. 
  4. ^ "Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark: Gammell vs. Helquist". 2011-12-18. Retrieved 2013-09-23. 
  5. ^ "CBS Films Nabs 'Scary Stories To Tell In The Dark' Pitch From 'Saw' Scribes". Retrieved 2013-12-04. 
  6. ^ "'Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark' Will Get Rewritten by 'Frankenweenie' Writer John August". Retrieved 2014-11-18.