Every kid has their "I'm creeped out" threshold - here's some of the things that I recall terrifying me as a kid ....
bear country jamboree
I was not a big fan of mechanical real-looking automatons. You know how dogs freak out about wind-up stuffed animal dog? Well, that's kind of how I felt.
open closet door at night
A. You never leave the door open or you might see something. B. If you leave the door open, something can sneak in quietly from deep within the dark void....
You never saw a kid dig their heels into an escalator like me when I was about 4. No way was I going to talk to that creepy dude in the furry red suit with the loud laugh.
Who the heck were these loud people with painted on smiles and bright clothing? They weren't anyone I had ever encountered before and they were so in-your-face, to a shy kid, that's intensely horrifying!
I'm sorry, but bunnies should never be 6 feet tall and hang out in the mall. Not in any stretch of the Alice in Wonderland imagination.
I had a friend in grade school with a collection of these in her bedroom closet that had no door on it. I would spend the night on the floor in my flowery sleeping bag, shivering in fear as a dozen faces stared down at me and I expected their mouths to move on their own.
Their floppy movements and ventriloquist-doll looks creeped me out. They danced around like drunken spiders.
My older brother loved this show. Me? Not so much! Just the musical beginning of it would make me tense. Sometimes, I watched it from behind the chair, just to be sure they were doll figures and not some kind of miniature mechanical people that lived in outer space.
old lady houses filled with figurines and the smell of lavender and moth balls
There were a few relatives with homes like these with the Hummel figurines in little cabinets, tiny porcelain bird statuettes and creepy medicinal smells of moth balls and lavender, lace doilies, and afghan covered sofas.... They always made me feel like I was an alternate universe.
dentist's office chair
It was bad enough knowing you had to go to the dentist, but when they led you into that plastic chair and reclined you with a tray nearby holding instruments of torture....
I remember going in a few attics as a kid where generations had lived there and left their stuff behind. There were prosthetic limbs, mannequins, chests filled with who knew what, decorations for holidays made decades ago and looking faded and angry instead of the intended cheerful look of the 1940s. The air in attics is hot and heavy, they are dusty and mildewed. In general, it feels like the place family items go to die.
Truly, aren't these musty mildewed damp places just a crypt for the living?
No one speaks as they walk down the echoing hallways of a hospital. Sounds beep in rooms, everything smells of astringent cleaning agents, lights go off, voices mumble in patient rooms, the loud speaker sounds off warning visitor's hours ending and code blues. You know you're supposed to be quiet and reserved, but you aren't sure why.
I was the kid that if someone gave me a baby doll, I buried it in the pet cemetery atop our septic tank in the apple orchard. Those eyes staring so wide at me and the expression never changing...it was not natural and did not make me want to coo and diaper it, but to put it face down in the basement where I wouldn't chance to see it.
shapes in the dark
There was something about lying down in bed in a room that was dark, but not dark enough to be completely black, just dark enough to make that sweater on my chair look more and more like a person sitting there as I stared at it intently, trying to focus and see if it moved.... How many times did I reach for the lamp to see if that was a monster or just my stuffed animals stacked up on the dresser?
Now, here's a few kid movie horrors -
The child catcher from "Chitty Chitty Bang Bang"
Slugworth from "Willy Wonka"So, feel free to add your own to the list....