(Not-Too) Scary TV: Monsters and Mummies for Kids
What kid doesn’t love a scary story? Who can forget slumber parties beginning with a night of fright flicks, then staying up all night trading urban legends? It’s a timeless tradition, and one you can get going with the original Goosebumps television series.
Author R.L. Stine’s books about things that go bump in the dark became so popular that they spawned a tamer Tales from the Crypt meets Twilight Zone TV show from ‘95 through ‘98 shown on the FoxKids Channel and made by Scholastic Media. Each entry had a different story, with a new cast and an original horror-tinged thriller.
While the Jack Black Goosebumps movie is the new gold standard, here’s a look at some of the best episodes from the kinder, gentler show – these are perfect for your youngest horror-hounds to prep them for Black’s boisterous feature:
Return of the Mummy Collection
Return of the Mummy
Gabe visits his archaeologist uncle in Egypt just in time to watch him unearth the tomb of a great prince – which might be exciting if disturbed mummies didn’t seek revenge on whoever wakes them from the dead.
For such a short show (about 20 minutes), Return of the Mummy tells its story suspensefully and succinctly. The action gets started right away as Gabe (Daniel DeSanto) and his cohorts (trickster friend Sari, played by Annick Obonsawin, and gullible Uncle Ben, played by Elias Zarou) uncover a secret scarab relic in an ancient tomb. Using the petrified insect to magically open the door to what they believe will be untold treasures, they find only unspeakable evil. Of course, all’s well that ends well… but as the characters move toward the inevitable happy conclusion, we get to see a resurrected Egyptian siren (Afrah Gouda), a menacing mummy (Peter Jarvis), and lots of quaint, clunky replica artifacts. It’s a cute story, especially for armchair Egyptologists.
Don’t Wake Mummy
Jeff doesn’t really want to hug the 4,000-year-old mummy he received from his dad; especially when the vengeful creature rises from its sarcophagus.
You Can’t Scare Me
Fed-up friends Eddie and Hat decide to scare a show-off pal with Mud Monsters at Muddy Creek, but their dirty deed backfires.
The Scarecrow Walks at Midnight Collection
The Scarecrow Walks at Midnight
There’s something funny about Jodie and Mark’s grandparents’ farm, but nobody is laughing— especially when 12 strange new scarecrows frighten more than just the other birds.
Don’t Go to Sleep
Matt wishes his family were different – until he wakes up from a nap in the attic to find that things are suddenly very different.
This is a cautionary “Be careful what you wish for” kind of story which begins as Matt (Tyler Kyte) mopes around his house, jealous of how his parents treat his older siblings with what he thinks is much more respect. So he decides to make them worry. As he hides out in the attic, he falls asleep; only to wake up in another dimension where he sees just how difficult it is to be treated like an adult (he has to perform brain surgery; No, really!). But in this dimension, he’s got added problems: a strange team of men in shadowy black suits who follow his every move. Plenty of shivers for the tiny tots.
Calling All Creeps
Ricky hopes for revenge when he puts a mean girl’s phone number in a personal advert. But when he starts getting scary midnight calls, he’s the one getting the creeps!
What are some of your favorite Goosebumps episodes to watch with the kids?