For a lot of kids, Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark is their first foray into horror. The series of three books, written by Alvin Schwartz with illustrations by Stephen Gammell, is a starter block that can lead to Goosebumps, Richard Matheson, and Stephen King.
The stories, first published from 1981 to 1991, might be less frightening as kids grow up, but the illustrations can still send a shiver down a spine. It's hard to put a finger on what makes these illustrations so terrifying to this day. Some are ominous landscapes with a dark figure in the distance, while others are odd depictions of animals, but all are surreal. Long after the stories fade from young readers' minds, the accompanying drawings stick around for years.