What Was Your Most Irrational Fear When You Were a Kid? | 22 Words

When I was in kindergarten, my best friend at the time told me a story about someone who fell through those metal sidewalk cellar doors in the ground and died because no one knew she was there. Needless to say, I was haunted for life. And I didn't even grow up in New York City! I was in the suburbs, where there were no sidewalk cellar doors. But you better believe that every time I visited the city, I would avoid those like the plague. For years! And she probably made that story up! But I still think about it to this day.

When we are kids, we all have irrational fears that haunt us. Usually, they are based on a scary movie we accidentally saw a scene of before our parents changed the channel or something an adult said that we misinterpreted completely. Writer Dana Schwartz recently asked people to share the irrational fears they had as kids, and the answers are hilariously specific...and so incredibly irrational.

Dana herself started it off with an irrational fear of her own.

The fear of being buried alive is very real and I understand it very deeply. I never considered the pill thing, though. I just thought someone would forcibly bury me knowing I was alive.

Cut fingers

There were so many urban legends that were so disturbing, and they all had to do with crazy, creepy people disturbing your limbs while you slept. Terrifying.

Shrunken relatives

I did not like Honey, I Shrunk the Kids when I first saw it. I thought it was absolutely horrifying and not at all a movie for kids.

Murderous witch

For some reason, being in the bathroom, whether it was on the toilet or (for me) in the shower, felt like it made you extremely vulnerable to attack from evil people.

Diving board accident

This is so scary! It reminds me of that Shel Silverstein poem "Fancy Dive," which totally haunted me growing up. It's about "the fanciest dive that ever dove" and it was "done by Melissa of Coconut Grove." She did all these twists and turns and somersaults and then the very last line is that Melissa "looked down and saw that the pool had no water."

Parents moving

Author Neil Gaiman brought up this very common one. Let me tell you a little story: When I was three, my parents sat me down and told me they were moving to a brand new house, and there would be a yard and a dog and it would be so exciting. I burst into tears and asked, "Can I come too?" I thought they were going to move without me, so I get this.


Crucifixion is super gnarly, and for some reason, it's not a thing that parents shy away from showing really young kids!

The Big One

Hey, I live in California now, and I am terrified of The Big One! Earthquakes? That's a big no thanks for me.

Suffocated in jello

Wow, this is a very specific fear, but I also totally get it for some reason. It's probably hard to go back to sleep as a kid when you know your basement is flooding.

Mysterious voice

Raise your hand if you always ran up the stairs as fast as you could from your basement because there was definitely something evil lurking there. I thought so.

Bermuda Triangle

Yes! This was such a big one as a kid. Why did they teach us about the Bermuda Triangle? I thought it would be a much bigger threat to my life than it actually is.

Elevators with pregnant women

This is very specific, but I understand. I can't get in an elevator if I have to use the bathroom because what if it gets stuck and then I pee my pants?


This is a classic case of misinterpreting what your parent says. Hilarious.

Invisible cars

Wow. I feel like it's very complicated for a kid to be scared of not knowing something that was somehow common knowledge for everyone else.

Falling down the stairs

Well, this is the cutest thing ever. Not the head smashing open like a watermelon part, but the holding hands down the stairs part.


The '90s was like, the pinnacle of kids being warned about creepy men in vans coming to kidnap you. I never thought of the hair thing, though. That's clever.

The moon

This poor kid's parents were laughing at them when they were terrified, probably trying to warn them about this crazy object in the sky!

Dump truck

There were so many movies where dogs got mistakenly taken away by dog catchers or purposely kidnapped by evil dog catchers, so I totally relate to this fear.

Anacondas under the bed

Growing up, my bed had drawers underneath it, so I was mostly immune from the "under the bed monster" fear. But my closet was a different story.

Osama bin Laden

This is adorable. They had no idea where he was, so it stood to reason he could have been anywhere, including your own backyard.


This is very strategic. The things we thought robbers would take... We were so misinformed. About so much.


Ah yes, a classic childhood fear. We were all led to believe that quicksand would be a much more common occurrence in our lives than it actually is.

Pictures come to life

This is a scary thought, but even scarier is the fact that she thought she had to eat the picture for it not to come to life.

Open-slatted stairs

I grew up with open-slatted stairs, and mostly we just used them to lie upside-down and spy on the adults.

Pool sharks

Look, logically we were aware that there was no way a shark would end up in the pool in the backyard, but it was still scary!


This is the truth. I basically slept 100 percent under the blanket because it would protect me from all manner of monster. I was convinced.

Falling piano

If you watched a lot of cartoons, this was a very real fear. Nevermind the fact that I pretty much lived in the woods, so where would a piano fall from?

Listening devices

THIS except with reading my diary. My mom claimed she never read it and I tend to believe her, but I had a babysitter who read it once and made fun of me and I could have died. I was so embarrassed.

Disappearing cows

This is such a specific and hilarious fear! Siblings always were the worst when it came to perpetuating your irrational fears.


What. This is so specific and scary. This should be a short story or something. Share this with a friend and reveal your own irrational fear!