Are You Afraid of the Dark?

Common Sense Media says

Spooky campfire stories are fun for resilient kids.





What parents need to know

Positive messages

On the plus side, the show centers on a group of kids who gather together to tell stories for fun rather than spending time in front of the TV or computer. The stories illustrate the range of fear triggers that exist in people, from haunted houses to evildoers posing as regular people.

Positive role models

The kids try to outdo their peers with creepy ghost stories, and they engage in good-natured teasing about whose tale raised the most goose bumps. Occasionally an unlikely hero emerges within a story, sometimes conquering fear or anxiety to save bystanders from the villain.


Monsters, ghosts, zombies, and the like are central to the show's spooky stories, and many scenes are full of heart-pounding suspense. Violence is minimal and deaths are few, but there's fairly common mention of people's deaths at the hands of the supernatural beings.


Some kissing and cuddling among teens, plus references to boyfriend/girlfriend relationships.


No cursing, but there's some name-calling like "dip," "geek," and "loser."

Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable

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.

Parents say

Kids say

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.

Families can talk about...

  • 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?

TV details

Cast:Daniel DeSanto, Elisha Cuthbert, Ross Hull
Topics:Magic and fantasy, Monsters, ghosts, and vampires
TV rating:TV-G
Available on:DVD, Streaming

This review of Are You Afraid of the Dark? was written by

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging, great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging, good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging, good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging, okay learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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What parents and kids say

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Teen, 16 years old Written byibarncat November 20, 2011

Well-written campfire stories are creative but lack the violence expected from horror shows

Some people who like horror anthologies for over-the-top death scenes will find this show extremely disappointing. But those who are willing to pay attention to a somewhat slow 24-minute storyline will be rewarded when they watch this show with something truly enjoyable. And those who grew up on this show should still enjoy it today, as it definetly does not feel like a kids show. But since this an anthology show, there's really nothing more I can say here.
What other families should know
Great messages
Teen, 15 years old Written byMitchell Charleston May 11, 2013


This show was my childhood. I loved it. I was never scared by it, but the reasons WHY I loved it were: It's entertaining, it never gets old, the acting was phenominal, and it was just a PERFECT SHOW.
Teen, 13 years old Written byDuckCommander13 May 31, 2014

Are you afraid of watching?

This is a great show for kids who want to be scared but are not ready for really scary movies. This is about a group of kids telling scary stories in the woods. Some are more scary than others. It's very entertaining for all ages but some kids under 7 might be too scared but some 7 year olds would be too scared as well.
What other families should know
Too much violence


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