Goosebumps and Are You Afraid Of The Dark are familiar TV shows for '90s kids. The former was based on the R.L. Stine novels and aired for four seasons, and the latter had seven seasons. They're both part of the same genre (horror anthology), a little bit corny, and totally beloved.
'90s nostalgia is always high and it's time to take a look at these two series and compare them. Here are five things that Goosebumps does better than Are You Afraid Of The Dark and vice versa. Who wants to dig up some old episodes and rewatch them?
10 Goosebumps: The Opener
As soon as someone watches an episode of Goosebumps, they're brought back to the good old days of their childhood. They remember all things '90s like watching cartoons on the weekend, junk food, sugary cereal, baggy clothing, and they also recall the opener of Goosebumps.
Even though every fan of this show is now older, it's okay to admit that this beginning sequence is honestly a little scary. Sure, you know that dogs' eyes can't become the yellow/green shade of a highlighter for no reason and a letter "G" won't just fly around. But... it's still kind of creepy.
9 Are You Afraid Of The Dark: The Campfire Setting
While Goosebumps had a solid opening sequence, Are You Afraid Of The Dark had a special, unique setting. The kids are part of a group called The Midnight Society and they sit around a campfire.
This is the perfect atmosphere for a horror anthology show and it is definitely part of what make kids so eager to tune in. It looked so fun to gather in the woods with your best friends and share terrifying tales. After all, how many children have sleepovers and try to freak each other out?
8 Goosebumps: The Source Material
There's not much comparison here. Goosebumps had much better storylines than Are You Afraid Of The Dark. This is thanks to the book series that the show is based on by the popular author R.L. Stine.
These storylines are compelling stuff, from the amusement park that isn't normal in "One Day at Horrorland" to the "Living Dummy" episodes featuring the scary Slappy. The source material is so good that there are even two Goosebumps movies that were released in 2015 and 2018.
7 Are You Afraid Of The Dark: It Was Scarier
It might be because the kids are sitting around a campfire and telling spooky stories, but many would probably agree that when it comes to which show is scarier, Are You Afraid Of The Dark beats Goosebumps.
Sure, they're both corny and have more of a sweetness than other horror anthology series since they were both aimed at a young audience, but they do aim to strike fear in those young viewers. Many '90s kids spent a lot of time watching Are You Afraid Of The Dark and being freaked out while, of course, pretending that it was no big deal. Since the kids were sharing stories that they had heard about, that gave the show a terrifying tone. It honestly felt like these things could have happened.
6 Goosebumps: Returning To The Same Spooky Tales
Goosebumps had many episodes that were two-parters, such as "The Perfect School" and "Chillology" (in that last case, there were three episodes).
Sure, some of these episodes were more well-crafted than others, but it was cool to have some longer stories. Goosebumps would also return to the same spooky tales by having a later episode continue the same plot as an earlier one. This is something that the series did really well and even if the latter episode wasn't as good, it was still a nice, comforting sight.
5 Are You Afraid Of The Dark: Relatable Kids
Since Are You Afraid Of The Dark had young characters who were around the campfire at the beginning of each episode, it was easy for young viewers to relate to them. They could have been any '90s kid hanging out with their friends and wishing that they could come up with the most horrifying story yet.
While the kids are adorable on Goosebumps, they're tough to relate to since they're dealing with such out-of-this-world storylines. The main characters on Are You Afraid Of The Dark are sharing the stories, not starring in them.
4 Goosebumps: Special Effects And Makeup
It makes sense that if a TV show features monsters and other spooky creatures, the special effects and makeup should be top-notch. Thankfully, that's the case on Goosebumps, and honestly, the creepy characters are totally believable. For example, the monsters in the "One Day at Horrorland" episode are so cool to look at.
While we can watch this show as adults and not blink an eye because we don't find it that scary, we know that we were concerned while watching each episode when we were younger. That's in large part thanks to the convincing special effects and the makeup and costumes.
3 Are You Afraid Of The Dark: The Structure Of Each Episode
While the structure of Goosebumps episodes is pretty standard, Are You Afraid Of The Dark does something different.
The main characters gather in the woods at the start of the episodes, one of them "submits a story to The Midnight Society" and then they tell the story which becomes the "meat" of the episode. This is so cool and helps this series stand out against others from the time period, including Goosebumps.
2 Goosebumps: The Endings
A horror movie can't be considered well done if the ending sucks... and if it's completely predictable. The best films in this genre will create a crazy plot twist in the third act and even end on a cliffhanger or a surprising note.
The endings of each Goosebumps episode are much better than Are You Afraid Of The Dark. They are designed to make viewers raise their eyebrows and sometimes question everything that they thought they knew about the story being told.
1 Are You Afraid Of The Dark: Future Talent
While Goosebumps had Ryan Gosling and Scott Speedman in the same episode ("Say Cheese And Die"), it's fair to say that Are You Afraid Of The Dark had many child actors who would become super famous in the future.
Just to name a few: Revenge star Emily Van Camp (season seven), Ryan Gosling in "The Tale Of Station 109.3," and Jay Baruchel in a bunch of episodes. This is yet another reason to go back and watch any episodes that we can get our hands on.