While our childhoods had no shortage of shows that were meant to creep us out, by far the most intense was Are You Afraid of the Dark? Other shows like Goosebumps focused on the more cheesy, silly kinds of horror, AYAOTD was straight-up nightmare fuel even from the opening!
While it ran for a whopping 7 seasons (with a total of 91 episodes), there can only be a few to get the title of "scariest." Thankfully (or maybe not), it's not much of a contest.
The Tale of The Silent Servant
What's more creepy than a decrepit scarecrow? How about one that stalks you because you trespassed into its field? Yeah, this was no joke.
The Tale of Laughing in the Dark
Clowns are already terrifying, and when this kid decided to steal an animatronic one's nose on a dare, it becomes a thousand times creepier as it begins following him around and yelling "GIVE IT BACK!"
The Tale of the Frozen Ghost
Because nothing says "kids show" like the ghost of a child who froze to death in the woods, who appears to people wandering through and just says "I'm cold."
The Tale of Many Faces
A girl literally loses her face in this, and finds other people without faces. It's as unsettling as it sounds.
The Tale of the Dead Man's Float
A kid goes into his school's abandoned indoor swimming pool to impress a girl, but turns out it was built on an ancient graveyard and is now haunted by one of the most grotesque ghosts you'll ever see! And we thought Jaws scared us away from the water.
And if you thought these were creepy, it only gets worse...
The Tale of the Midnight Madness
Watching scary movies is harrowing enough as it is (especially as a kid). What could make it worse? How about a real-life vampire straight out of Nosferatu popping out of the screen to attack people in the audience?
The Tale of the Night Shift
Because if there's anything that makes working a creepy-ass night shift worse, it's when it's at a blood bank that's a regular feeding ground for vampires. A kid literally gets dangled off a roof in this one.
The Tale of the Midnight Ride
It's basically just a ripoff of The Legend of Sleepy Hollow. However, even if it's familiar, this story is no less terrifying, especially once its own Headless Horseman shows up.
The Tale of the Dollmaker
A girl not only gets turned into a doll that's completely unable to move, but at one point her hand even falls off. Have we mentioned yet that this was a freaking kids show?
The Tale of the Lonely Ghost
This one is still so creepy that it would probably make for a great horror movie today. A girl steps through a mirror to find a ghost living on the other side, who tries to trap her in there so she can escape herself. Between the premise and the mirror world having "HELP ME" scrawled literally everywhere, it's absolutely chilling.
The Tale of the Ghastly Grinner
In a story that's almost definitely inspired by Batman's arch-nemesis, The Joker, a kid is tormented by an evil jester that pops out of a comic book and causes people to laugh themselves to death. The premise is creepy, the Grinner himself is REALLY creepy, and the whole thing is just the stuff of nightmares.
The Tale of the Dark Music
By far the creepiest story in the entire show, a kid discovers a demon living in his basement that lures people to it with its creepy music. After discovering that he can get power by feeding people to the creature (which first happens because his SISTER ends up eaten by it), the kid ends the episode by freaking luring his bully into the basement, locking the door, and grinning to the camera. Yeesh.