For 10 spooky years, Are You Afraid of the Dark? aired on Nickelodeon, giving kids an equal amount of nightmares and scary stories to send their imagination into a spiral. The show ran for seven seasons and revolved around a group of teenagers who met in different parts of the woods every week to tell scary stores they’ve heard. Their stories were then played out for viewers to see and shield their eyes from. Granted, these stories had to still be PG-rated since it was on a predominantly child-friendly network, but they were still spine-chilling enough to make us leave our lights on!
An Are You Afraid of the Dark movie was expected this year but was later dropped. Instead, fans could watch the show on TV and streaming services. Now that it’s been almost 20 years since the show’s last episode, we’re taking a look back on 10 episodes that viewers weren’t too happy with.
10 THE TALE OF JAGGED SIGN: 8.6
In the fifth season, we watched “The Tale of the Jagged Sign.” Voters gave it an 8.6 (the highest on this list) on IMDb which isn’t too bad. The episode was about a girl named Claudia who had to stay with her grandparents in an old, boring town for the summer.
Looking for something to do, she meets a girl, Kate, who’s around her age and the two go for a hike. They come across a rock with a weird symbol on it and Kate pleads with Claudia not to stare at it for too long. The legend says anyone who stares at the symbol for too long will be visited by a ghost who will haunt them. As you can imagine, the ghost appears and it all goes downhill from there.
9 THE TALE OF THE PHANTOM CAB: 8.1
As the first episode of the first season, “The Tale of the Phantom Cab” is what introduced viewers to Are You Afraid of the Dark?. In this tall tale, we see two brothers who are lost in the woods when they meet a man who takes them back to their home for safety. (Like that was ever a good idea…)
The man who found them then tells them they can’t leave his cabin without answering riddles, but when the riddles are too hard he sends them back into the woods to wait for the cab. As we soon learn, the driver and the cab are ghosts and the only way to be released from this hell hole is to solve the riddle.
8 THE TALE OF THE LONG-AGO LOCKET: 7.9
As the second episode in the fourth season, “The Tale of the Long-Ago Locket” is about a boy being sent back in time to the Revolutionary War. Every day after school, the boy would cut through the woods to get to his home. But for a few days, he’s been witnessing some unspeakable things going on in the worlds, like men in red coats riding horses and a soldier looking for a knife.
He eventually walks too deep in the woods and gets transported back in time where he’s sent on a mission to deliver a soldier’s locket to his one true love who’s supposed to get married. Fans had to sit in suspense to see if he delivers the locket before it’s too late.
7 THE TALE OF THE HUNGRY HOUNDS: 7.5
As the fifth episode in the first season, “The Tale of the Hungry Hounds” received a 7.5 from viewers. In the episode, we meet two girls who love to go through one’s family attic because her mother never threw anything away.
They’d play dress-up and tell stories about the people who used to wear them. One day, however, they meet the ghost who once wore the very clothes they were trying on and the spooky twists live on from there…
6 THE TALE OF PRISONERS PAST: 7.3
In the fifth season, we were introduced to “The Tale of Prisoners past.” We meet two boys who become unlikely stepbrothers after their parents got married, who venture to a prison for a tour. The two get in a disagreement when they chase each other into a separate basement of the prison.
It’s there they meet two “people” in cells begging to be released. Not knowing what to do, the one brother opens the cells where the inmate is now free. The inmates didn’t look like people so the two brothers convinced themselves they were holograms. That night, the boys are stunned when they wake up to the one ghostly inmate who followed them home and the story goes on from there!
5 THE TALE OF THE FOREVER GAME: 3.3
The first episode of the sixth season didn’t get any love with a lousy 3.3 rating. “The Tale of the Forever Game” revolves around a group of friends who went down the wrong trail in the woods. They find a few mysterious things along the way and convince each other to stick together so they can find their way home.
One boy is suddenly transported to a room beneath a tree where there’s a game and as it appears, the group cannot get safely home until they crack the game. Think of this episode as a poor man’s Jumanji.
4 THE TALE OF THE MANAHA: 3.1
Witha 3.1 rating in the fifth season, “The Tale of the Manaha” didn’t stick with many viewers. Taking place at a summer camp, the group of misfit boys wander off into the woods and find a cave with drawings on the inside.
A native man then appears and warns the boys that there’s a flesh-eating monster on the lose (the Manaha). Freaked out—yet unamused—the gang finds their way back to camp where creepy things begin to happen and sounds of growls and footsteps of a creature following them. From then on it’s every man for themselves.
3 THE TALE OF THE VIRTUAL PETS: 2.9
As the fourth episode of the sixth season, we’re introduced to “The Tale of the Virtual Pets.” At a 2.9 rating though, it’s one of the lowest of the series.
Just like in real life, when something trendy happens every child feels the need to follow the trend themselves so they don’t feel like an outcast. In this episode, we see most of the students getting these virtual pets to take care of but it doesn’t take long to notice that the owners of these virtual pets begin to act strangely. As it turns out, these virtual pets are scanning their human owners for information so that they can one day rule the world with these similar people as robots. It’s up to the one girl who doesn’t have the toy to save her friends and humanity as we know it.
2 THE TALE OF THE REANIMATOR: 2.8
“The Tale of the Reanimator” is the eighth episode of the seventh season and is about a scientist who’s trying to bring his dead wife back to life. A young girl, Julie, spies on a scientist who’s trying to bring plants back to life in hopes of doing the same thing to the dead.
As time goes on, Julie finds a plant-like monster who’s life-like and is trying to escape the greenhouse. It doesn’t take much to learn that viewers thought this story was more weird than spooky.
1 THE TALE OF THE LASER MAZE: 2.5
We finally found the lowest-rated episode of Are You Afraid of the Dark?! The seventh season episode “The Tale of The Laser Maze” is about twin sisters competing to win a maze for the hopes of one day being cloned to see if there is life on other planets. (See, we told you it was one of the lowest-rated episodes!)
As always, the maze takes a turn for the worse and both girls actually team up to work together to escape Drake, a creepy man who works for the maze. Not their best work on the show, that’s for sure.