The Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark book series is a 3-volume collection of short scary stories for kids, originally published between 1981 to 1991. They consisted of 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).
I made a documentary about the Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark books. And so arguably no one has spent more time thinking about them, from the folklore tales to the ghastly illustrations they are known for.
The books consisted of approximately 82 stories and songs. Below are listed each of them. And below that you can find a growing list of articles, diving deeper into the stories and the art. After spending years compiling research and interviews into a documentary, I decided there was a lot more to say. So over time I am taking all the wonderful and intriguing source material discoveries, social commentary, folk tale tidbits and artistic oddities I found and outlining them on Scary Studies. Right here.
I would be remise if I did not also mention the long history of censorship of these books. The American Library Association began creating a list of banned books in the 1980s and 90s, with the first decade-long list compiled for the 1990s. And the Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark books were #1 on that list. Despite being older books with no new ones since 1991, the books have stayed an interesting example of censorship in schools and libraries.
Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark (1981)
The Big Toe, The Walk, “What Do You Come For?”, Me Tie Dough-ty Walker!, A Man Who Lived in Leeds, Old Woman All Skin and Bone, The Thing, Cold as Clay, The White Wolf, The Haunted House, The Guests, The Hearse Song, The Girl Who Stood on a Grave, A New Horse, Alligators, Room for One More, The Wendigo, The Dead Man’s Brains, “May I Carry Your Basket?”, The Hook, The White Satin Evening Gown, High Beams, The Babysitter, The Viper, The Attic, The Slithery-Dee, Aaron Kelly’s Bones, Wait til Martin Comes, The Ghost with the Bloody Fingers
More Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark (1984)
Something was Wrong, The Wreck, One Sunday Morning, Sounds, A Weird Blue Light, Somebody Fell From Aloft, The Little Black Dog, Clinkity-Clink, The Bride, Rings on Her Fingers, The Drum, The Window, Wonderful Sausage, The Cat’s Paw, The Voice, “Oh, Susannah!”, The Man in the Middle, Cat in a Shopping Bag, The Bed by the Window, The Dead Man’s Hand, A Ghost in the Mirror, The Curse, The Church, The Bad News, Cemetery Soup, The Brown Suit, BA-ROOOM!, Thumpity-Thump
Scary Stories 3: More Tales to Chill Your Bones (1991)
The Appointment, The Bus Stop, Faster and Faster, Just Delicious, Hello Kate!, The Black Dog, Footsteps, Like Cat’s Eyes, Bess, Harold, The Dead Hand, Such Things Happen, The Wolf Girl, The Dream, Sam’s New Pet, Maybe You Will Remember, The Red Spot, No Thanks, The Trouble, Strangers, The Hog, Is Something Wrong?, It’s Him!, T-H-U-P-P-P-P-P-P-P!, You May Be Next…