What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that the ghost stories in this '90s horror/fantasy series aren't gory and only rarely result in death, but they're guaranteed to send some shivers down the spine of kids who watch. Monsters, zombies, and ghosts are the central characters in the tales, and there's a lot of heart-pounding suspense when danger lurks in the shadows waiting to pounce. The show's evolving nature makes it difficult to predict each story's content, but expect some kissing and flirting between teens and brief peril (near drowning, vampire attacks) in their exchanges with the supernatural.
What's the story?
ARE YOU AFRAID OF THE DARK? is an anthology series that centers on a group of kids who meet in the woods at night and swap spooky stories about the supernatural. Calling themselves "The Midnight Society," the kids hold their meetings in a secret location and take turns submitting tales to the group about paranormal themes like dragons, curses, and hauntings. Each episode features one story told by one society member, and as the teller begins, the scene changes and the viewers watch the story itself rather than the narration of it.
Is it any good?
Long before Twilight captured the imagination of kids and tweens, Are You Afraid of the Dark? introduced a generation to the concept of the supernatural, albeit with a far less romantic spin. The stories of evil clowns, vengeful water creatures, and yes, even vampires, are definitely creepy, and the fact that it's a live-action show means there's no masking the spookiness in colorful cartoons that cut the tension for kids. This is the real deal, and while some kids will love the thrill of the scare, plenty of others will find the fear factor a little too much. In other words, you've got to know your kids' tolerance for suspense, peril, and the concept of the undead before you give them the green light.
Because each episode introduces a new spooky story, there's no way to predict the direction the show will take, and the tales' topics touch on an array of fright triggers like vengeful spirits, boogeymen in the basement, and resurrected mummies. If your kids are sturdy enough to handle this type of content and not wind up in your bed at night, then there's no reason to worry about their watching it, but if they're prone to fears of the unknown, it's best to skip it altogether.
Explore, discuss, enjoy
Families can talk about what makes this show entertaining. Did you enjoy watching it? Were you frightened by any of it? Is there anything about its style that either exaggerated or detracted from the scariness of the story?
Kids: What kinds of things scare you? Do your fears ever keep you from going to certain places or being around certain people? How do you control your feelings? Do any of the shows you watch scare you at times?
Do you think storytelling is a lost art? What opportunities exist to listen to a storyteller? What might it have been like to live without modern entertainment like TV, movies, and radio? What other forms of entertainment did they rely on for fun?