FRIDAY OPEN THREAD: Are You Afraid of the Dark?

Hi jolly ranchers! It’s been a week! We’re all here! We made it! Come on in there’s kettle corn and a fleece blanket on the couch for you.

Do you live in a part of the world where the sun is going down at approximately 4 pm already? I do! So far I don’t even mind that much — today I successfully did one of the things I know helps me with the seasonal change, getting up early even when I don’t have to so that I get as much sunlight as possible — but it is definitely DARK OUT THERE. Added to this is the fact that we just had a three-day power outage where I’m living on the East Coast — three nights of lighting candles and camper lanterns. It was annoying! But I realized I had vague memories of blackouts as a kid that were fun — lighting a fire if we had a fireplace and telling stories and playing games with my brother. For a while in my early 20s I was living somewhere with regularly scheduled rolling blackouts, and they were actually kind of nice — time to read and write and enforced quiet time.

This dark season can be really rough (Heather has some tips for you if that’s the case!) but sometimes it can be fun too. What are your favorite things about the dark? What sleepover games did you play as a kid? What sleepover games do you play as an adult (?)? Did anyone else bring in pots and pans full of snow from outside to melt in front of the fire as a kid in the winter and now feel deep regret as this was probably unsanitary? Did you tell ghost stories in the dark as a kid? Wasn’t Are You Afraid of the Dark actually really scary? What’s your favorite blackout episode of TV (Heather Hogan’s is the one where Bette and Tina fuck in the elevator, for reference)?

Tell me about all of it! Show me a picture of your pet! Actually show me a video of your pet with the new Superzoom thing from Instagram, I’m obsessed with those and I’m never going to get over it!


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Rachel is Autostraddle's Managing Editor and the editor who presides over news & politics coverage. Originally from Boston, MA, Rachel now lives in the Midwest. Topics dear to her heart include bisexuality, The X-Files and tacos. Her favorite Ciara video is probably "Ride," but if you're only going to watch one, she recommends "Like A Boy." You can follow her on twitter and instagram.

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54 Comments

  1. The last blackout we had was the same day I read the dear David Twitter thread and I proptly gtfo of my house and waited in the safety of my car with the radio on charging my phone.

    I’m especially nervous about blackouts since I’m about to sign the lease to move in to a house ALL BY MYSELF(!!!) and I do this thing where I pretend I’m not a scaredy cat but also knowing deep down I am one?

    • i love that we all share a collective reaction to the dear david thread

      living alone during blackouts is definitely weird! make sure you have candles and matches around — my grandmother used to always call us when a storm was coming and warn us about stocking up on them.

    • Hi Katie! Big transitions are scary for anybody and maybe you will freak out in your new house a few times while you get used to its weird noises. But then you will get used to things, and calm down, and realize you have your OWN SPACE where you are so in control of everything and it will become your safe place and you will be all like, I am so badass because everything in my place is just the way I like it and those blackouts can just bring it on because I have candles and flashlights that you recharge with a crank handle and food and water and whatever else I need and omg I rock. You go, girl. See? I’m just some random internet stranger and even I know how amazing you are.

  2. I am child of immigrants, so my parents and my aunts in the early 90s still were learning what was appropriate for kids. I saw the movie Chucky(Child’s Play 1 &2 on the same week no less) on VHS at an early age(6 years old?). My aunt & mother thought it was about a kids doll or something, cause why else would let us watch a horror movie not fully supervised. It gave me nightmare for years & I would have to pretend my bed had a button to shield me from crazy Chucky’s coming into my room(surprisingly not mad at them about it). Compare to that, Are You Afraid of The Dark? wasn’t that scary to me, though I was also older(10 years old). I also was a fan of the Goosebumps series, which I still have
    a few in my room. I liked the Abominable Snowman of Pasadena as it was a city close to me and felt like it could really happen here. There also was those chose your ending stories, which I’m seeing making a comeback in form of interactive movies. It also became a TV show on Fox, kind of their competitor to Are you Afraid, but it was usually at like 8 or 9am on Saturday mornings so I never caught too much of it.

    How’s everyone’s week going? Sunday I went to Cuties for queers, coffee, and donut, and had two donuts. It was also the 2nd national buy a donut day and I’m all about supporting queer women owned business. I’ve also realized that I may need to cut back on the sugar and bread as I’ve can feel that I’ve had more than I should. Sunday is my next event, which should be exciting as it’s just great to meet other locals in the community, especially since my last few the people who showed up were mostly not cis white gbq men.

    I had a nice, but short costal walk Monday night.

    Thank you for viewing and reading my post. Have a positive weekend!

    • “Legends of Tomorrow”
      – Okay, Sara and Agent Sharpe (#Avalance) is a thing that’s happening, right? We all agree on this?
      – I can get behind the character of Ray. He’s a beacon of optimism and righteousness on a show of mostly morally grey characters. But I can’t like Nate. I wish he was just gone.
      – If Sara and Alex happens, I will enjoy it. Even if happens this close to Sanvers ending.
      – I’m okay with Zari either hooking up with Amaya or Ray.

      “The Flash”
      – Some people have complained about Amunet’s British accent, but Torchwoodboy says that that’s a fairly accurate Bristolshire accent. So I’m good with it.
      – Amunet makes a joking reference to Killer Frost coming out of the closet, and I’m REALLY hoping that these two shared something during those six months.
      – I really want them to flesh out Iris and give her something to do, but “Girl’s Night Out” was supposed to be about Killer Frost. Every time it seemed like the moment was building up for Killer Frost, Iris came in and deflated it. I don’t want more Iris at the cost of Killer Frost’s development.
      – I want Flash to have almost nothing to do with Amunet. I want her to be Killer Frost’s nemesis, and leave him mostly out of it.

  3. I used to be TERRiFIED of sleeping (alone) in the dark, mostly because I cant see shit and I just imagined someone jumping out at me while I struggling to find the lights. Things in the dark look even weirder when your eyesight’s as bad as mine and the world is essentially in 144p without your glasses on. I still sleep with the lamp on now, but that’s just because I’m usually writing at 2am rather than sleeping.

    In other news I’ve mostly spent this week volunteering at book/poetry events that are part of the literary festival happening around my borough. Its inspired me to get a library card! It’s reminded me that children get excited about the most random things! (clipboards and sharp pencils???) Seriously though, watching children get excited about by books and poetry is the best thing <3

  4. It has been a week. My gods, I’m so glad it’s Friday. I have a long weekend coming up. I get to meet my third nephew for the first time and see his brothers/his mom/my family for the first time in way too long. Then we’re going to see my partner’s family. Weeee

    Also, I’m not the biggest fan of the time change, but the extra hour of sleep was really great over the weekend, so there’s that. And the last blackout I remember was a hilarious one – I was in the attic of my dad’s old house reading when it happened. We were all in separate rooms, and my sister, who was taking a bath, starts yelling for my stepmom. Mind you, she had candles in the bathroom… just odd.

  5. Last month my girlfriend and I were in New England (New Hampshire, Maine, Massachusettes) and we loved it so much (like ready to leave our southern life behind) until we found out the sunset at 4pm in the wintertime. I hope you have lots of Vitamin D supplements at the ready and a sun lamp.

    I’m really into scary stuff and finished the Spooked podcast last week. I highly suggest it if you want to get freaked out.

    • i’ve been meaning to try it! thank you for the recommendation! the early dark is definitely, for me, one of the hardest parts of living here — that and the constant snow shoveling. i’m so glad you got to visit though!

    • I was in New Hampshire, Vermont, and Maine at the end of September. I would love to live there in the summer. I can’t do cold weather. I can’t stand it. But it was insanely beautiful. Just amazing.

  6. I love the dark, the only time I have the lights on is when I’m cooking. I did get scared last weekend while I was walking through an urban forest at sunrise while listening to the latest episode of The Black Tapes, every falling leaf had me jumping and checking my surroundings.

  7. I’m not really afraid of the dark in general, but for a couple of years from age 6-12ish I could not fall asleep and was terrified if any part of me was outside of my blanket. I had to learn to sleep with the blanket over my head and only a small hole to breathe through. The fear and compulsive feeling that I had to sleep that way only started when we moved into a new house and stopped when we moved again. My bedroom was the closest to stairs which also gave me weird, scary, compulsive feelings that I had to run up/down them and not linger. So… I blame that fear of the dark and such on whatever fucked up energy was going on around those stairs/my room.
    Right now, I’m just scared of not finishing all of my papers for this term and not finding a job. Spooky adultness!

    • My childhood room was next to the flat-roofed garage and also the only one with two windows (one of which had been a door to the garage roof at some point before we’d lived there), so definitely closest to where aliens would land and enter the house, AND the attic door was in my closet so anything in the attic would come to my room first too. I guess some kids will just find anything to latch onto to be scared of?

  8. I’ve just started watching “One Step Beyond” which was on the air a year before “Twilight Zone.” It’s similar, but the show takes its episode plotlines from true events that have happened around the world.
    Also, shoutout to “Are You Afraid of the Dark,” I have all the episodes on DVD and I cannot befriend anyone who hasn’t seen it, unless they’re willing to marathon it right then.

  9. It’s light out for like maybe 5 hours a day (when it’s not just grey) where I am right now and I’m scared of everything all of the time the other 19 hours of the day! Please give me your best tips for not being afraid of everything! I’m in a rural area until January with no lights and no car access and few people and the others were all exchanging ghost stories from their lives the other day and I haven’t been sleeping at night. I will not google this thread that scared everyone else. I have freaked out while reading scary stories online at noon on a sunny day in August in a boring suburban office tower.

    I wasn’t allowed to read Goosebumps because it was too scary although I was only really scared by the ventriloquist one, despite it not really being particularly relevant to my life with its lack of ventriloquists. Are You Afraid of the Dark, on the other hand, was fine, although more than a few episodes gave me nightmares.

    My best blackout story was when I got to use my fear of being alone in my house in the dark to get a girl to sleep over for the first time.

  10. Firstly, thank you so so much for the article on SAD!!! I moved to a new city this year so the combination of SAD and homesickness has been kicking my butt, and having a way to mitigate at least one of those things really helps.
    My parents live in the middle of nowhere where there are a lot of trees and a lot of hanging wires, and where it gets snowy and icy in the winter. These factors combined meant that during my childhood it wasn’t a real winter until we had a multi-day blackout (the worst was my sophomore year of high school…we lost power for 3 days around Halloween). This probably explains why I hoard candles as an adult (well, that and they smell good).
    My parents recently bought a small camp stove, but for most of my childhood the only way we had to cook without electricity was a fondue setup, so now I associate winter and darkness with fondue. Specifically, chocolate fondue, because honestly if you’re sitting around in the dark you want, need, and deserve chocolate.
    Also I survived my first Career Fair as a law student today and I got some great info about various diversity programs for my 1L summer so at least I’m a little less anxious about finding a job.

  11. Would anybody be interested in a virtual meditation meetup? Not putting any up right right now,but my website is about to go up and I want to start putting things together.
    Umm so yea, my week was weird but that’s it.
    Can anyone suggest any dating apps or ways to meet people to date? I don’t want tinder, I’m not looking for any sexual encounters. I want something meaningful, not marriage just meaningful.

      • Google Hangouts or skype. Because energy is not bound by time and space we will cleanse ourselves through smudging or maybe an exercise. Perhaps both. Have a short discussion, introduce ourselves, names and pronouns. Meditate for 20 ish minutes, more if requested and then talk about our experience. I have not set up a program yet so I am not sure what the agenda will be, but the meditation might be focusing on a specific chakra or connecting with plants.
        How does that sound?

  12. Glad to hear I’m not the only one dealing with SAD (can it be called that if you have Regular Depression(TM) as well?) here. At this time of year we only get ~8 hours of light in Quebec, and by the time December hits we’ll be down to 6 or so. It’s brutal, especially since I’m solar-powered anyway. But I’ve been taking my Vitamin D for a few weeks now, and it’s helped stave off the worst of it.

    Also, I do in fact have pictures of Oscar! I’m kind of celebrating him today. Long story short, he had another health scare, and his time with us was looking very short. However, because this dog is damn near immortal, it turned out to be the best possible outcome. He likely has Cushing’s, but even though we’ve decided against treatment it’s not likely to shorten his lifespan at this point. And while a quality-of-life decision will probably have to be made in the nearish future, he’s not in any pain and is still relatively happy.

    So. Without further ado, here are 2 pics of Oscar expressing his displeasure at being plonked in the snow for pics.

  13. Guuuuuys life is still kinda rubbish because I’m still unemployed and broke BUT I had sex with a girl yesterday for the first time in like 2 months and it was really good and I’m really happy and that’s all I have to say! Have a great weekend! Go forth and be gay ?

  14. I got up on the wrong fucking side of the bed this morning, like angry woman’s vengeance country song kinda of pissed wrong. I’d say for absolutely no reason but any day with Cheetolini in office is reason enough to be feel pissed. Anyway Gunpowder And Lead was my internal soundtrack this morning and boy did I get somethings done.

    Can’t define my favourite thing about the dark. It’s something indefinably home to me in the summer, but in winter it reminds me of how hard and brittle I used to be thinking I was marble walking with no coat just a t-shirt in the cold of dead of night. Sometimes still acknowledging cold weather makes me feel soft and weak. But night aside and darkness in general I think it’s the way it conceals yet reveals even more. When visibility is low to non existent I find that I can focus better on all the little sounds someone makes, the way their body feels and reacts. Also can do my “amazing ninja” routine where I move from point A to point B without being seen as well as not heard.

    Uh I don’t wanna say we played sex games at sleepovers as a kid but uh there was play acting of a sexual nature or at least it looks that way to me as an adult and one of my earliest memories of being wet is from a sleepover. O_O
    I think my favourite part was all the talking about stuff in what felt like privacy to a child, cause in the day adults could always be listening and sometimes kids need space to talk about stuff without worrying about getting into trouble.

    Never had snow growing up because hello sub-tropical environment but I definitely had some childhood regrets involving too much soda and sweets at a sleep over. All 3 of us vomited that night and only one made to the toilet, I at least made to the linoleum & probably a trash can, J. poor dear I’m not even sure she got away from her sleeping bag.
    Of course there’s always the winter regret of burning my tongue on hot chocolate and drinking it down too quick, but I’m pretty sure that’s every body who’s ever enjoyed hot chocolate.

    My favourite blackout episode of TV is “I Am the Night—Color Me Black” from the Twilight Zone. It’s not ‘the blackout episode’ (that’s The Monsters Are Due On Maple Street) because it’s not the electricity that goes out, it’s sky itself that has gone dark and will not alight.
    It is one of the best episodes in my opinion for this quote:
    “A sickness known as hate. Not a virus, not a microbe, not a germ—but a sickness nonetheless, highly contagious, deadly in its effects. Don’t look for it in the Twilight Zone—look for it in a mirror. Look for it before the light goes out altogether.”

    Wasn’t Are You Afraid of the Dark actually really scary? It was the fun kind of scary, actual scary was real people and still is.

    I’m listening to these two soundtracks alot:
    Blade Runner Soundtrack (Remastered 2017)

    Taboo OST by Max Richter

    05:10 is my favourite track and I want to see a ballerina in ballet pointe shoes dance to it in black leo with a romantic tutu with shorter than classic cut.

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