HarperCollins Released An Updated Version Of 'Scary Stories' With New Illustrations

Voting Rules
Vote up the tamest new illustrations.

Alvin Schwartz's Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark became infamous after its initial 1981 release, thanks in no small part to Stephen Gammell's horrific illustrations. In 2011, however, HarperCollins re-released the book of terrifying stories, replacing the original images with benign art from A Series of Unfortunate Events illustrator Brett Helquist

In place of the haunting, wispy drawings of crumbling corpses and ethereal ghosts, Helquist contributed less evocative and more kid-friendly images. The changes backfired, though, with some critics calling the new artwork disrespectful and boring.

Though HarperCollins restored Gammell's original art with an updated Scary Stories trilogy in 2017, the contrast between the cleaned-up and classic versions remains shocking.

  • 1
    555 votes

    Oh, Susannah!

    Jane and Susannah live together in an apartment while they attend a local college. Susannah comes home one night after some late studying; Jane is already in bed. While preparing to sleep, Susannah hears her roommate humming the song "Oh! Susanna."

    After her requests for quiet go unheeded, Susannah removes June's covers - and discovers the girl decapitated. 

  • 2
    618 votes

    Sam's New Pet

    Sam's mother discovers what she believes is a dog while vacationing in Mexico. Smuggling the animal back home, the mother presents it to Sam as a pet. The rescued animal seems to suffer from a strange affliction, though. 

    A trip to the vet reveals the pet is actually a sewer rat with rabies.

  • 3
    564 votes

    The Wonderful Sausage

    Butcher Samuel Blunt murders his wife, grinds up her flesh, and hides her bones under a rock. Samuel mixes his wife's remains with animal meat and begins selling the grisly mixture in his shop. The townspeople can't get enough of the special recipe, so Samuel starts harvesting citizens to keep up with demand.

    An ill-fated attempt to kill a rather large boy exposes the butcher, and he eventually disappears.

  • 4
    504 votes

    Aaron Kelly's Bones

    Aaron Kelly dies, and his family buries him in a coffin. He refuses to stay put, though, and returns home - ruining his wife's life insurance payout and chances for future romance.

    Finally, a fiddling suitor arrives and plays music, making Kelly's corpse dance until it falls apart. The skull, however, won't stop talking. The Kelly family returns the body to the grave in pieces, so it can't reassemble and bother them again.

  • 5
    676 votes


    Two men create a scarecrow that looks like Harold, a farmer they hate. They insult and abuse the scarecrow, but it starts making noise and moving by itself. Eventually, the straw figure captures and skins one of its tormentors. 

  • 6
    466 votes

    The Dream

    A woman dreams about climbing a grand staircase and entering a strange bedroom with sealed windows and an unusual floor. During the dream, a creepy figure appears and tells her to leave. Alarmed, the woman wakes up and flees - only to wind up in the house from her nightmare.