R.L. Stine's The Haunting Hour

TV review by
Emily Ashby, Common Sense Media
R.L. Stine's The Haunting Hour TV Poster Image
Popular with kids
More thrills and goosebumps for tough-skinned tweens.

Parents say

age 11+
Based on 19 reviews

Kids say

age 10+
Based on 74 reviews

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.

Positive Messages

Plenty of shady characters, and in many cases, people (or objects) aren’t really as they seem. Characters -- many of whom are kids -- often break rules in response to the danger they’re put in, but things usually turn out for the best in the end.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Mostly fine, thought adults aren’t always the admirable models they should be, and sometimes they fall into league (albeit accidentally) with the villains.


Content varies greatly from one story to the next, but on the whole, violence seems to take a backseat to the fright factor. What violence does exist is limited to threats with household weapons like knives. However, the show’s spook factor is a concern for kids. Inanimate objects move on their own and often have menacing motives toward the people around them.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that R.L. Stine's The Haunting Hour is a spooky horror anthology that's likely too scary for young kids. Much like Stine’s similar series, Goosebumps, this show is filled with tense scenes, bristling suspense, and sinister characters, and the fact that it is set in believable scenarios (many of which center on kids) makes it that much creepier for anyone who can’t distinguish fantasy from reality. Because the stories and characters change with each episode, content is difficult to predict, so if your tweens are sensitive to even this milder horror, you might want to preview before offering it up for family viewing. That said, common stumbling blocks like language and sex usually don’t play a role in this show, so at least parents don’t have to sweat them.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byTinyToya April 26, 2011

Update: "Really You Doll" Episode Changed My Mind...

Update: There is an episode that has an evil doll who is truly alive. SPOILER: The doll actually gets a LONG butcher knife to KILL the young girl who took her i... Continue reading
Adult Written byGabidhoy October 21, 2020

Family friendly and spooky

I watched it with my 8 year old stepson. No bad language, sexual innuendos or violence. Scary enough for him to enjoy but mild enough to not give him nightmares... Continue reading
Teen, 13 years old Written byLunarchronicleslove March 1, 2017

A good move towards horror movies

Sorry about the confusing title. Well this show is great for kids who want to watch scary stuff. A few episodes are really scary but i think a mature 9 year old... Continue reading
Teen, 13 years old Written byPikoshell May 10, 2014

It's good, but really freaky.

Okay, so our family watches the original goosebumps series a lot. It's kinda freaky, but the horrible acting makes it a bit humorous as well. With the acto... Continue reading

What's the story?

R.L. Stine gives fans another round of goosebumps with his second horror anthology, THE HAUNTING HOUR. The series is a collection of spooky stories set in mostly believable scenarios where one twist of reality can spell disaster for the people involved. Stories often touch on common fears like evil spirits or mysterious beings that turn their families and friends against one another. In each tale, the characters (mostly kids) must uncover the truth behind the mystery and survive the danger.

Is it any good?

This latest project from R.L. Stine offers similar spine-tingling suspense and truly creepy characters. Stine is well known for his frightful book series, Goosebumps, which was adapted for a similarly spooky TV show in the 1990s. This series is a good break-in show for tweens and teens who can handle a bit of fright, but aren’t quite ready for the true horror flicks, but even though it’s light on typical hot spots for this age group like sex, language, and violence, it can still induce some jitters in sensitive viewers.

What’s more,The Haunting Hour’s characters and stories change with every episode, so just because your tween can handle the content of one story, it doesn’t mean that the next one won’t touch on a particularly sensitive nerve for him or her. The bottom line? Just know your kids’ limits, and if the line between fantasy and reality is still a little blurry for them, then skip this one altogether.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about fear. What are your biggest fears? What are your coping mechanisms for fear? To what extent do scary shows or movies affect you? What are you least tolerant of in these movies or shows? Do you think R.L. Stine's The Haunting Hour is scary?

  • Tweens: Have you read any of R.L. Stine’s books? How does their spookiness compare to that of his TV shows? Do you like his style, his characters, his scenarios? Are there any stories of his that stand out in your mind as better than the others?

  • How do TV ratings help families make wise choices about what’s appropriate for them? What rules exist to keep kids safe from harmful content? Do you think these rules are adequate? Why or why not? How has society’s sensitivity to appropriate content changed over the past few decades?

TV details

  • Premiere date: October 29, 2010
  • Network: Discovery Family Channel
  • Genre: Drama
  • TV rating: TV-PG
  • Available on: DVD, Streaming
  • Award: Emmy
  • Last updated: March 14, 2020

Our editors recommend

For kids who love to be scared

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