In Praise of Alvin Schwartz's Scary Story Books

I just re-bought these books that I fondly remember from my childhood. I spent a good part of last night reading one and came close to needing to put it in the freezer. (No, the stories aren’t scary, but those pictures…I’m not a little kid anymore, but those are the scariest pictures I have ever seen.)

The books were my first exposure to a lot of urban legends that I would eventually see debunked on

I’m still no closer to seeing how a sewer rat looks like a Mexican hairless dog, but I still love those books.

My favorite one was the poltergeist story, where they talk about how some think poltergeists are really adolescent kids who, when stress builds up, release it telekenetically (I suppose it was more of a preteen version of “Carrie”). I was so convinced that that would happen to me when I got older.

Any other fans of these books?

Oh boy, I remember those. Everyone had copies of them when I was a kid. I agree, the illustrations are almost too much. I could hardly look at them.

I did memorize a lot of the stories, though, which made me veeeery popular at slumber parties. The Wendigo was my best. I think they’re going to make a movie out of it soon, in fact.

Ah, those were a staple of sleepovers. We’d always try to do Bloody Mary but got too freaked out to finish the requisite number of chants and ran screaming from the bathroom. Good times. I can still vividly remember many of the drawings in those books. Especially the spider-egg one. My sister used to tell me that one all the time before I got those books shudder.