When it comes to the movies that petrified us as children, we tend to talk about them as though the frightening moments were some kind of mistake — the byproduct of a tonal miscalculation or the sick work of a rogue Disney animator bent on corrupting America's youth. But there's a certain subset of films aimed at the underage for which a short, sharp shock — or a long, nightmare-inducing set piece — is a key part of the package. Kids' movies can stimulate imaginations and offer thrills, spills and family-friendly chills. And, every so often, they're perfect for scaring the shit out of the young 'uns as well.
In fact, a startling number of the most beloved children's classics of all time tend to take detours towards terror, providing sudden jolts of horror before returning to their adorable tales of talking woodland creatures. (The traumatizing moments in Disney toons alone is enough to fuel therapist bills for decades.) And whether or not this weekend's No. 1 box-office attraction Goosebumps will ever be considered a "classic," the big-screen meta-take on R.L. Stine's popular YA-horror book series is a great reminder that a few well-placed scenes of ghosts, ghouls and creepy talking ventriloquist dummies in a kids' movie offer the perfect Fright 101 primer for middle-schoolers and tweens.
So whether you're looking to relive the scenes that scarred your youth or simply looking for a step-by-step guide to safely instill your brood with a healthy measure of fear, check out our chronological list of the 12 scariest moments in the history of kids movies. From the Wicked Witch of the West's sky-high simians to Coraline's button-eyed alt-parents, these dozen scenes are chock full of the stuff that dreams are made of. Bad, bad dreams.