Are Scary Stories Good For Children?

In 2016 researchers working for The Book People and asked 1000 parents if they like to read scary stories to their children. This is what they found:


of parents (that’s almost 8 out of 10 parents) said that baddies helped children tell the difference between good and evil.


(just over half) that they helped children “learn to cope with difficult situations”


(just under half) that they help conquer fears.

“Children are often being wrapped up in cotton wool,”

says child psychologist Emma Kenny. She believes that scary stories are quite useful for children to learn about life.

“Risk and fear are something we need in childhood. We know that people who take risks, in the long term, do better than those who don’t … And how can you feel safe and secure until you know what it’s like to be afraid? Anything that gives you a wide range of emotions in a safe and controlled environment is great.”

Here are ten scary characters from ten fantastic and scary stories.

The Witches in The Witches, by Roald Dahl

The Big Bad Wolf, from Little Red Riding Hood

The Snow Queen in The Snow Queen, by Hans Christian Andersen

Lord Voldemort in the Harry Potter series by JK Rowling

The Death Eaters in the Harry Potter series, by JK Rowling

The Wicked Witch of the West from The Wonderful Wizard of Oz (L Frank Baum)

Aunts Spiker and Sponge in James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl

The Child Catcher from Chitty-Chitty-Bang-Bang (Ian Fleming)

Cruella de Vil in The Hundred and One Dalmations, by Dodie Smith

Miss Trunchbull from Matilda (Roald Dahl)

So, what are your scariest characters in a book?

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