Movies + TV

Don’t Be a Babysitter

Horror films that taught me better.

I am 17 years old, and I have never babysat in my life. Kids love me, I love kids, and I’m fully capable of taking care of one. A fair number of people have actually asked me to watch their children. I decline every invite, saying, “Thank you for your offer but I don’t feel like getting MURDERED anytime soon.” Just kidding, I definitely don’t say that. But babysitting is a tricky job, and I’m a horror movie junkie. Let’s examine the evidence that supports the “Don’t be a babysitter because bad things will happen to you, duh” hypothesis:

Exhibit 1: When a Stranger Calls

Do you know that old tale of a babysitter who constantly gets calls from some stranger telling her to check on the children? And then the call is coming from … INSIDE THE HOUSE? Well this 1979 movie—and the 2006 remake—were based on that urban legend, and I can’t say I don’t believe it could totally happen. Creative psycho murderers just looove babysitters!

Exhibit 2: The House of the Devil

This isn’t your typical “babysitter getting terrorized” horror film. Made to look like an old school ’70s horror film, 2009’s House of the Devil follows college student Samantha Hughes one night while she does some unconventional babysitting. Responding to a flier, Samantha drives out to the middle of nowhere (uh oh) to a big old Victorian mansion (aaah!) for her job. Turns out there aren’t any children to babysit! Samantha simply has to babysit an old woman, but this old woman doesn’t leave her room and really doesn’t want to be disturbed. Then Samantha finds some questionable photos and the house phone isn’t working. Let’s just say that things don’t turn out too well for Samantha. She really should not have taken that babysitting job!

Exhibit 3: Child’s Play

There comes a time in every young person’s life when they ask, “Can dolls come to life?” and some people might answer, “Yes, of course they can—haven’t you seen Child’s Play?” But the truth is dolls won’t come to life, that’s just silly! Only dolls that have the spirit of a serial killer inside of them come to life. For those unfamiliar, Child’s Play is a 1988 horror film about an evil doll named Chucky. Poor Maggie didn’t realize that dolls can be evil. Maggie’s babysitting job ends up with her falling out of a window, thanks to Chucky! What babysitters can take from this is a greater understanding of hidden evil in toys. That kid you’re babysitting? $20 says his toys are coming to life. Run, babysitters! Run for your lives!

Exhibit 4: Halloween

This is the most important horror movie involving babysitters of all time! Did you know that Halloween (1978) was originally called The Babysitter Murders? Pretty scary! Halloween is about three teenage girls who are hunted by a masked killer named Michael Myers. Each girl has a distinct personality: there’s the horny one, the sarcastic one, and the sainted good girl. Each of them handles the killer in a different way. Halloween does such a great job of creating that feeling of being in someone else’s house and being in charge of a child’s life for one night. How scary is the idea of being stalked by a crazed maniac killer who is purposely targeting babysitters, when you’re a babysitter?! You might think you’re safe babysitting … but someone could be watching you, waiting for you!

Exhibit 5: The Amityville Horror

There isn’t always a killer after a babysitter. Maybe the house itself is out to kill you. Take the babysitter in the 1979 film The Amityville Horror. This nerdy teenager with archaic headgear had no idea what she was in for. Being locked in a very small closet, with all the lights out, is not only scary but definitely embarrassing. Ghosts will lock you in closets and make you scream. Just please, if you’re going to babysit, I strongly advise you to stay away from houses where people have been murdered or houses that sit on top of portals to hell. Or just stop babysitting. That is a really simple solution to all of this.

Exhibit 6: Mrs. Doubtfire

Your boobs could catch on fire while you’re cooking! OH MY GOD!



  • Chelsea October 18th, 2011 11:06 PM

    Hahaha preventing boob-fires is my main babysitting concern.

  • Anna F. October 18th, 2011 11:13 PM

    Hazel, you are AMAZING. I love adding horror movies to my “must see” list.

  • snow white October 18th, 2011 11:18 PM

    Oh man, I thought I was alone in being paranoid of babysitting :O I always thought to myself, there could always be crazy person hiding in the closet, you never know. However, for some strange unknown reason I really want to watch all of these movies now.

  • Gretchyn October 18th, 2011 11:52 PM

    I LOVE posts that include a million video-format-examples for me to watch. Ooh, I’m definitely adding these to my weekend-horror-movie-watching list. YAY.

  • asleeptillnoon October 19th, 2011 1:19 AM

    I was totally looking behind me while reading this list, haha. Not to be read past midnight.

  • Tessa October 19th, 2011 1:22 AM

    That is hilarious. I am 23 and have never babysat either. Oh, wait…one time I was forced. I was at a family friend’s house and they had three kids, eldest was 10 or something, and our parents left, leaving me responsible for these kids. I was like “Wait…I’ve never…done..this…?”
    I really don’t like children actually, meaning under the age of 13, but sometimes you come across a rad 5 year old.

    I was in the doctors office yesterday and some toddler was running around and tripped over my shoe and I really couldn’t care less. Quite a feat that they like you and the feeling is mutual.

    I’m not a creepy person/horror movie watcher because my imagine conjures up enough trouble already, with the exception of Mrs. Doubtfire, heh. But any other reason to stay away from babysitting is fine by me.

  • Bren October 19th, 2011 1:58 AM

    I’ve babysat my siblings all my life and sometimes I’d make them stay up till my parents came home from work. Even though they’re really young and have school and everything. I’d just make them sit with me, and I’d even promise to rewatch Dora and any other thing they’d desire. It can be so creepy to babysit sometimes.

  • gogobionicgirl October 19th, 2011 5:04 AM

    Oh! If you want to add to your horror list add “Communion”

    • gogobionicgirl October 19th, 2011 5:04 AM

      also known as “Alice sweet Alice”
      one of my favorites

  • diny October 19th, 2011 8:52 AM

    i’ll remember the list, so i wouldn’t end up look at one of this. horror is horror and it makes me scare. well, enough said.

  • Laia October 19th, 2011 12:28 PM

    omg the ending of this post was the best thing ever in the history of the world.

  • puffytoad October 19th, 2011 1:28 PM

    So… isn’t this a sexist trope trying to make women afraid of everything?

    • Hazel October 19th, 2011 5:45 PM

      Not to me! I am a young girl and I am afraid of serial killers and haunted houses, does that make me a trope? Being alone with someone else’s child IS scary, and these horror movies simply capitalized on that fear. They took that isolation to the next level. This is a lighthearted post, surely you don’t suggest I’m actually trying to scare girls out of babysitting jobs?

  • Mrs. Pete October 19th, 2011 5:03 PM

    All teenaged boys AND girls should be required to babysit. It’s the safest and most effective means of birth control ever invented.

    • Tavi October 19th, 2011 6:07 PM

      franklin makes me LIKE toddlers!

  • Gabby October 19th, 2011 5:56 PM


  • stellar October 19th, 2011 6:02 PM

    you find out it’s the parents who need to be ‘babysat’ later on…

  • darksideoftherainbow October 19th, 2011 6:45 PM

    not exactly a horror movie but….don’t tell mom the babysitter’s dead! you can watch it to convince yourself to never babysit OR to see christina applegate’s awesomeness!

  • C. Wallace October 19th, 2011 11:37 PM

    Adventures of Babysitting (1987) isn’t on here (!!!) ? I suppose that one might encourage teenagers to start babysitting, though. I mean, when you’re babysitting the kids and things start to get a little dull and the best friend who ran away from home calls you to come pick her up from the bus depot because a crazy homeless person & a man with a gun keep eyeing her, then you know you’re gonna have a much more interesting evening than just the same ol’ Mac n’ Cheese and tuck the kids in before 8 o’clock deal. Not only will you be driving into The City to pick up said Frantic Friend at the bus depot but you’re also likely to experience: a flat tire, a mechanic with a hook for a hand (who makes a pit-stop to take revenge on his cheating girlfriend), a car thief, a group of mobsters (who chase you & your babysittees for the rest of the night into night clubs to ‘Sing the Blues’ before you can make an escape), gang bangers on the subway with knives, a trip to the hospital (where you believe one of your charges is dead), charges clinging off skyscrapers… not to mention THOR (which is pretty cool), oh, and crashing the parents party and then racing them home. Anyway, I’ve probably missed a whole bunch of neat stuff, but either way, it’s a seesaw sort of film: if you want adventure whilst babysitting, then its the film for you; if you’d rather bake cookies or babysit in pairs watch, The Baby-sitters Club, which is almost equally amazing!

    (BTW House of the Devil is SCARY! O_O)

  • puffytoad October 20th, 2011 12:38 AM

    @Hazel I’m not trying to say *you* are trying to scare girls out of babysitting jobs. Just that those movies are part of a larger cultural idea.