Did '90s kids have it pretty great growing up? If you can't tell by the fact that we refuse to let go of the decade until someone pries its nostalgia from our cold, dead hands, the answer is yes. However, having such an idyllic coming of age was cosmically counterbalanced by the worst fears every '90s kid had. Because let's face it: As great as the decade was, there was also plenty to be terrified about if you grew up during that hallowed time — and I'm not just talking about nagging anxiety over whether or not our glittery eyeshadow might scratch our corneas.
No, I'm talking about the deep-seated fears so many '90s kids had. You know, the ones that haunted our dreams and made us question whether or not living during the heyday of Dunkaroos and Pokemon really worth the hype if these foreboding visions of doom constantly loomed. Rest assured, it was worth the hype; '90s kids 4 lyfe, amirite? Still, that's not to say there aren't certain parts of the decade that strike fear in our hearts to this very day.
So grab your raggedy ol' Puffalump for comfort (hey, no judgment here), and let's look back at some of the most persistent fears we faced in the '90s.
1One Word: Pennywise
To this day, clowns remain the creepiest thing on the face of the planet to all '90s kids who grew up with the constant threat of spotting Tim Curry on their television screens. I hope you're happy with yourself, Stephen King.
2That Y2K Would End the World
There's nothing like ringing in the New Year with the irrational fear that transitioning from 1999 to 2000 would cause a technological crash of apocalyptic proportions which would inevitably cripple society. Fun times.
3Melting in Acid Rain
There was much talk in the early '90s about acid rain and how bad it was. Only, as a kid, rather than realizing the danger acid rain posed to the environment, you just imaged it would melt you into a puddle of screaming goo.
4Answering the Phone and Hearing, "Do You Like Scary Movies?"
Sure, now they might seem campy, but in the '90s the novelty hadn't yet worn off of the Scream films — we all feared poor Drew Barrymore's fate.
5Falling Down a Well like Baby Jessica
Although baby Jessica fell down a well behind her home in the late '80s, parents of '90s kids everywhere used her story as a cautionary tale to keep us from straying too far. And, real talk: It worked.
6Accidentally Walking in the Path of a Shrink Ray
Almost drowning in a puddle in your backyard? Scary. Nearly getting eaten in a bowl of cereal by your own dad? Horrifying. Imagining being tiny a la Honey, I Shrunk the Kids was fun — until it wasn't.
7Coming Face-to-Face with the Werewolf from 'The Neverending Story'
Praise be to the kind souls who invented the fast forward button, 'cause that snarling Gmork beast was a fast track to Nightmaretown.
8Getting Sucked into Jumanji
We just had to have the Jumanji board game after watching the movie, but that doesn't mean we didn't secretly live in fear of the moving playing out in real life and getting swallowed into a time-bending vortex of monsooning, mean monkey jungle hell.
9Being Swarmed by Bees
None of us were ever the same after seeing Thomas J. in a casket because bees swarmed him when he was trying to rescue Vada's mood ring in My Girl. The very thought of a bee sting made me break out in hives.
I mean, did you watch his videos? "Tainted Love" and "Sweet Dreams" alone were enough to make me live in fear of all things dark and sadistic.
11Seeing Zeke the Plumber
This Salute Your Shorts character had his nose chomped off by a parrot, which caused an explosion because he couldn't smell gas and hit a gas pipe, which LED TO HIS DEATH. His noseless ghost haunted the camp... and our psyches.
12Seeing Dead People
Or worse, pondering the idea that you might be one of the dead people and life as you know it is some macabre Sixth Sense-style dream sequence starring Haley Joel Osment.
13Running into the Rhino from 'James and the Giant Peach'
In our defense, this evil rhino not only looked terrifying, but it came charging out of the clouds to kill James' parents. How did grown-ups figure that wouldn't traumatize us for life?
14Literally Everything about 'Are You Afraid of the Dark?'
C'mon... that pool creature? Someone was clearly trying to scare the collective living daylights out of '90s kids.