Are You Afraid of the Dark? “The Tale of the Vacant Lot” (part 1 of 2)

Once upon a time, in a land far, far away called the Nineties, an American company named Nickelodeon fell in love with a Canadian company called Cinar. The result of their decade-long tryst was a little show called Are You Afraid of the Dark?

It was kind of a Tales from the Crypt for kids, but instead of the Cryptkeeper, we’ve got a bunch of fresh-faced tweens known as the Midnight Society, who gather around the campfire every week to swap scary stories and occasionally pull pranks on each other. While the cast for every scary story changed on a weekly basis, the Midnight Society was our stable rock.

Erm, sort of. In the first few seasons, the cast members changed pretty often. Nevertheless, the core Society members were always Gary (the bespectacled-yet-crush-worthy leader), Kiki (the tough chick—we know because she wears a bandana), Frank (the tough guy—no bandana necessary), and Tucker (Gary’s pesky younger brother).

…Until the show died in 1996. However, it came back two years later with a mostly-new Midnight Society. With Gary and the older Society kids off at college, Tucker was now the man in charge. His crew consisted of two dudes that nobody remembers, a young Elisha Cuthbert, and a young Vanessa Lengies. Basically, anyone who didn’t grow up to be a hot girl (except for Tuck, obviously) was completely forgettable.

Throughout ten years and more than 90 episodes, every show had the same framing device: the scary story we watch is actually a story told around the campfire by a member of the Midnight Society. Is your mind blown yet?

Oh, just wait. It will be… [cue ominous wind-chime sound effect]

Are You Afraid of the Dark? "The Tale of the Vacant Lot" (part 1 of 2)

So this ep starts out with the members of the Midnight Society gathered around the fire, playing a totally non-sexy game of show and tell. Most of them have some really cool shit with them tonight.

Are You Afraid of the Dark? "The Tale of the Vacant Lot" (part 1 of 2)

Gary (who is normally a lame-ass) has a sweet autographed pic of Houdini, Betty Ann has a collection of Poe poems published in the 1800s, Tucker has a mint-condition Hank Aaron rookie card, and Sam has… um… an old bracelet from her non-famous great-grandma.

Are You Afraid of the Dark? "The Tale of the Vacant Lot" (part 1 of 2)

Well, at least she’s pretty.

The only person who didn’t bring anything is Stig, the tough chubby kid. The others give him a hard time about it, until he threatens to shiv Gary in the face, so they all back off.

The point of this whole bit is to underscore the moral of Kiki’s upcoming story, which is that every item has a personal value that makes it seem priceless. Except… when you’re trading it for your life. Bum bum bum!

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Multi-Part Article: Are You Afraid of the Dark? "The Tale of the Vacant Lot"

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