So many memorable childhood television shows stick to us to this day. How many references do adults today still know by heart from Pokemon, Rugrats, or Boy Meets World? It’s almost heartwarming to know that media has influenced people in some special, positive way as children.
On the opposite spectrum, how many memories can one summon of disturbing imagery they have once seen on a television show, particularly one targeted for a young audience? Did you ever find yourself suddenly stuck with the Mr. Blobby song in your head, but couldn’t quite place where it came from?
It’s borderline crazy how many nightmarish children’s shows out there were even aired, let alone enjoyed by anybody of any age. Maybe you’d rather just forget the haunting uncanny valley imagery of Jay Jay the Jet Plane— unfortunately, we found fifteen different creepy kids’ shows that are sure to keep you up at night as an adult.
If you were disturbed by the pool monster in Are You Afraid Of The Dark or low-key traumatized by Noseybonk’s oddly phallic garden from Jigsaw, then this is definitely the list for you.
Check out these 15 Creepy Kids’ TV Shows You Probably Don’t Remember.
You may remember Goosebumps as the super popular anthology of horror books by writer R.L. Stine. Some may have forgotten that the book series was adapted into a four-season TV show in the late ’90s. While many of the episodes were as cheesy as can be, there were a few episodes that may have been a little too disturbing for its young fanbase.
“The Haunted Mask” in particular was a little too extra for some– the subtle smiling plaster head at the beginning (seriously, they never explained that!) and pretty disturbing hand-made masks in the episode were pretty scary.
14. Are You Afraid of the Dark?
The Canadian American horror fantasy anthology series Are You Afraid Of The Dark? aired on Nickelodeon in the early nineties. The show lasted for quite a few seasons, and for good reason– it was nothing short of entertaining. Are You Afraid Of The Dark? was a little less cheesy than Goosebumps (read: a little less) and seemed to be intended for a slightly older audience, though a majority of the episodes had feel-good happy endings.
Happy endings or not, the few memorable “monsters” of the series were pure nightmare fuel. The pool corpse from “The Tale of the Dead Man’s Float” was one of those iconic childhood trauma-inducers that many ’90s kids probably remember, along with Zeebo the clown (yikes) and the Ghastly Grinner (double yikes).
13. Noel’s House Party
Noel’s House Party was a light-hearted BBC series from the nineties. Set in the town of Crinkley Bottom, the show is often regarded as the greatest UK Saturday night television show of all time.
Noel’s House Party as a whole isn’t a terror-fest– in fact, the show is rather playful. The recurring character Mr. Blobby, though, is the terrifying elephant in the room that made UK kids both laugh and feel very uncomfortable at the same time. His horrifying song alone is enough reason to be unnerved around Mr. Blobby.
Mr. Blobby was also the center of the financial controversy Blobbygate (you read correctly) where a two-year audit of a Crinkly Bottom theme park revealed failed political investments. His abandoned home, which looked like something out of a creepypasta, was demolished in 2014.
When writing a show aimed at four to seven-year-olds, what could one include to really get the attention of little ones? A horrifying long-nosed demon, of course!
Noseybonk was a character in the late seventies variety show Jigsaw, which aimed to be both entertaining for children and educational. Nosebonk was a terrifying cartoonish Slenderman-like character that wore gloves, a dinner suit, ragged hair, and a large white mask with a toothy, venomous grin.
In one particular segment of the show, Noseybonk teaches us how to grow phallic plants because you know, education! Noseybonk’s silent demeanor only made him more terrifying.
11. Peppermint Park
Uncanny Valley is a phenomenon in which a person will have a particular emotional response to a humanoid figure or animation that looks almost completely human, but not quite. The psychological response to seeing such a figure is an unwarranted sense of revulsion or dread upon viewing it.
Perhaps uncanny valley is the reason the ’80s home video series Peppermint Park was so unnerving. The puppets in the show coupled with the melancholy voice acting were more unnerving than educational.
Another creepy aspect of Peppermint Park is the elusiveness of its VHS tapes. We can only imagine coming across the obscure videotapes and popping them into a vintage tape player, half expecting a phone call afterward to predict our deaths in seven days. No thanks.
10. Children of the Stones
Children of the Stones is a British children’s drama series from the seventies. In Children of the Stones, a scientist and his son visit a small English village only to find it under the surreal grip of a psychic squire.
Sounds pretty tame, right? Unfortunate, it isn’t– Children of the Stones is generally considered to be the scariest program to ever be made for kids.
From the creepy spaced-out stone “ancient monuments” throughout the town to the unnerving chanting to screaming children trapped in stone to the unsavory creepy music that plays throughout the series, the opening sequence of the show alone is pretty disturbing. The show feels more like a Lovecraft adaptation or vintage David Lynch than a lighthearted children’s programme.
9. Eerie, Indiana
At the risk of sounding like a hipster, only 90’s kids will probably remember the American television series Eerie, Indiana. The series has a resurgence on the internet briefly in the early 2010s, with many adults reminiscing on how unsettling the series was, without being able to place exactly why.
The nineteen episode show followed Marshall Teller, a teen who moves to the ghostly town of Eerie, Indiana. Throughout the show, Marshall and his only somewhat normal friend Simon encounter many strange scenarios.
Such creep-tastic themes in the show include urban legends, evil dogs, doppelgangers, and a whole lot of self-aware meta action. Marshall’s dream sequence in “The Dead Letter” is a noteworthy disturbing scene. Eerie, Indiana is yet another children’s series that feels more like David Lynch than anything else.
8. TV Fofão
Brazil may just have everyone else beat when it comes to WTF television characters. Fofão is a character from ’80s kids’ programs Balão Mágico and TV Fofão. Because when you introduce a character guaranteed to scare the crap out of children, why not give him his own show? Fofão has sold dolls, other merchandise, musical albums, and even starred in a movie. Somehow.
Creator Orival Pessini claimed that when the network requested a character be made for the show, he had never worked with children’s programs (clearly) and was unsure if a dog, pig, alien, or clown would do– so he combined them all the make the horrifying homunculus of nightmares Fofão. Naturally, Fofão became the subject of creepy urban legends involving Satanic rituals and is still compared to the doll Chucky today.
7. Jay Jay The Jet Plane
Uncanny Valley strikes again with this misguided horrifying attempt at a kids’ show from the late ’90s. Jay Jay the Jet Plane was an attempt to make an educational slice of life show that was aimed at keeping kids engaged and smart through music.
Unfortunately, the early days of CGI were not pretty. Remember Shrek? Jay Jay the Jet Plane was even worse– and on top of the poor graphics, the giant humanoid faces of each character were so abrasive to watch, especially in conjunction with the live people that often appeared on the show. The giant eyes, the childlike voices, the constantly morphing expressions… Jay Jay the Jet Plane felt more like a lower budget horror version of Thomas the Tank Engine than anything else.
6. Slim Goodbody
Everyone’s favorite sorta-dismembered teacher Slim Goodbody was a perm-sporting health and fitness guru who loved showing off his bod– and all of his internal organs and sinew, too.
The ’80s PBS classic series Slim Goodbody was clearly a well-meaning attempt to teach kids how to stay healthy. One can’t help but wonder what exactly they were thinking with the whole skin-tight innards suit our healthy hero would often sport, but there’s something about a naked man with visible organs in a very wide stance that just really makes use want a large serving of vegetables.
Gerry Anderson & Christopher Burr’s Terrahawks was an ’80s British sci-fi series based around some incredibly disturbing puppets. The show is set in the not so distant year of 2020 and follows the eponymous Terrahawks, a group dedicated to protecting the earth from evil aliens and their androids. We get another dose of Uncanny Valley in the series, as most of the puppet Terrahawks cast have very realistic faces.
The whole mood of the show with its terrifying masks and unsettling puppets make it worthy of this list, but we can’t forget to bring up Moid– the skeleton-like alien Master of Infinite Disguise. Moid was a faceless creature that could assume the identity of anyone (yes, even you, child!) and nobody would be the wiser.
4. Tipi Tales
The three-season Canadian television series Tipi Tales was a benign enough early 2000s attempt to make an educational and representational show about First Nations families in Canada. The family lived in a modest cottage together and taught viewers the importance of family, friends, and Native American culture. Each of the animals featured in the show represented the Seven Sacred Laws as well.
Unfortunately, there was one glaring error in Tipi Tales— the puppets were freaking horrifying, with Uncanny Valley at its optimum.
We’re not sure what made the creators of Tipi Tales think that ultra realistic but somehow still caricaturized puppets were a good idea for casting the characters, but it wasn’t. It’s difficult to absorb any of the show without getting distracted by how disturbing the puppets are.
3. Los Dientes!
The mysterious nature and origins of Los Dientes! make it all the more horrifying, like some urban legend or cursed video that floats around the internet waiting for an unsuspecting viewer to give it life.
Los Dientes! was a brief segment from the PBS show Salsa, though for many years its origins were unknown. Throughout the segment, a child and a creepy wolf-like puppet repeat “los dientes! (the teeth!)” over and over and over again while laughing maniacally. Why are they laughing? Who knows!
We don’t know which aspect of this clip will give you nightmares– the chattering teeth, horrid laughter, or the nonsensical nature of it all. Who knew twenty four seconds of nonsense could be so utterly disturbing?
Pipkins was an old school British television programme for children that ran through the seventies to early eighties. The television series is mostly known for its diverse cast of accents that (supposedly) properly represented the different regions of Britain, which had not been done before.
Unfortunately, that’s not exactly what it’s remembered by most for. Pipkins was a Sesame Street alternative that took the concept of not-so-scary puppets and made them creepy as hell. Hartley the Hare in particular looked like roadkill that was used at the last minute to film– perfect for kids, right? Plus his whole segment on “being naughty” felt like it was loaded with innuendo, though it really was just the voice acting paired with the gutter muppet they used. Or at least we hope so.
1. Land of the Lost
Modern horror films like to focus on the unnameable entity that always creeps just out of reach and sight, always following. Sort of like the Sleestaks from the 1974 television show Land of the Lost.
Land of the Lost followed the Marshall family after accidentally entering an otherworldly portal on their family camping trip. The father, sister, and brother find themselves trapped in another dimension populated by dinosaurs, ape people, and humanoid lizards.
It was a lighthearted and pretty cheesy show, but there was something about the looming creatures that were nightmarish; always lurking, always just behind the family, letting out horrible hisses in the distance. The fact that they had mazes upon mazes of caves and tunnels to hide in brings to mind The Descent.
What other forgotten kids’ shows creeped you out? Let us know in the comments!