This is a wonderful short video interview of Maurice Sendak on childhood and children’s stories. While he wasn’t specifically addressing the value of scary stories for children, he says, and I think this is very true,
I think there’s something barbaric in children and it’s missing in lots of books for them because we don’t like to think of it. We want them to be happy.
My parents were immigrants, and they didn’t know they should clean the stories up for us. We heard horrible horrible stories and we absolutely loved them.
We don’t like to think it, or remember it ourselves, but childhood can be a frightening time. And stories help us all, including children, through frightening times. Take five minutes out of your day to listen to what Mr. Sendak has to say. It will be worth your while.