Are You Afraid of the Dark? Creator Reveals the One Thing Nickelodeon Wouldn’t Let Them Do

The creator of Nickelodeon's Are You Afraid of the Dark? revealed the network would not air one very specific thing on the beloved horror series. Find out what they refused to show.

By Daniel Trainor Mar 28, 2023 6:12 PMTags
Watch: JoJo Siwa Seemingly CALLS OUT Nickelodeon After Coming Out

Nickelodeon was not looking to play with fire when it came to this show.

Horror series Are You Afraid of the Dark? was nightmare fuel for kids who grew up in the '90s watching The Midnight Society gather ‘round the fire for a scary story. But the show's creator recently revealed the network had a specific safeguard in place to make sure things didn't literally go up in flames.

"You never saw them light the campfire," creator D.J. MacHale told Bloody Digusting's Horror4Kids March 24. "You never saw them strike a match and lighting the campfire because they didn't want kids playing with matches."

While MacHale acknowledged they mostly "had carte blanche" and were allowed to do whatever they wanted to do, Nickelodeon did push back from time to time if they worried about viewers becoming copycats.

"The only comments we got from them had nothing to do with the scary stuff," MacHale noted. "Like any show, they're worried about imitate-able behavior. They don't want to show a kid doing something that someone's going to do at home and say, 'I learned that on Nickelodeon and that's why I wiped out my family.'"

E! News reached out to Nickelodeon for comment and has not heard back.

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MacHale also explained that Nickelodeon would balk at any material that veered into Satanic territory.

"They were starting to be concerned that people might push back and be afraid that there was Devil worship going on in the show or black magic or voodoo," MacHale said. "We had to be careful because really religious people don't like that kind of stuff. When they would say, 'Is that a demon?' I'd be like, 'No, no! It's just magic.'"

Regardless, MacHale is thankful the original Are You Afraid of the Dark?—which ran from 1992 to 1996 on Nickelodeon—aired when it did.


"I'm not so sure if that could happen today," he admitted, "because when you think about it, back when Are You Afraid of the Dark? was first run, there was no social media. It didn't exist. There really wasn't the platform for every Tom, Dick, Harry and Karen to write it and complain."

Are You Afraid of the Dark? is available to stream on Paramount+.

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