When I think of my childhood, I think of going to the library every Saturday with my dad and checking out 2-3 Goosebumps books, inhaling them alll over the weekend and then doing it all again the next Saturday. It wasn’t long before I had finished the series that had so far been released and then moved on to Fear Street.
When I was a kid, there were Goosebumps books still coming out, then came the choose your own adventure style, then the television show. Goosebumps is synonymous with a child of the 90s and I’m not the only fan here at iHorror. I took the liberty of getting my fellow writers together to find out what their favorite books in the series where.
Whether you read this with the nostalgia of your 10-year-old self or you’re looking for present ideas for your kid/niece/nephew/grandkid/neighbor/secretly yourself or what have you, hopefully you will find this list helpful.
Say Cheese and Die! was published in 1992 and was the 4th book in the original series. It follows a young boy named Greg and his friends who discover a mysterious camera. As they take pictures, weird occurrences begin to happen causing harm to the people around him. Could the camera be haunted? It was followed up with a second book later on called Say Cheese and Die – Again! and also had a TV episode starring Ryan Gosling.
I love Say Cheese and Die! because it’s always been one that stuck out to me just like the rest of the classics. Plus there’s so many legends surfacing around camera’s taking souls as well as the phrase “a picture says 1000s words.” Well, what if that picture shows foresees your untimely death? I just love that idea behind this and it will always be a favorite of mine!
“One Day at Horrorland has always been the one story and episode of the TV series that really stuck with me as a child. The idea of a theme park dedicated entirely to horror was so much fun to read about, and terrible accidents aside, I would have loved to be able to experience something of the like. One Day at Horrorland will always be my favorite goosebumps story, and served as the beginning to my love for the horror genre.”
I’ve always been sucker for werewolves, so The Werewolf of Fever Swamp was always my favorite Goosebumps book. The story is simple enough – a kid moves to a new house that happens to be right next to a swamp, and he soon suspects that there is a werewolf in said swamp. It has all of the trappings of the typical Goosebumps books – the childlike innocence, the red herrings, the cliffhanger chapters – but it also has a werewolf! It also helps that the Fever Swamp Wolf was easily the coolest monster that found its way into the Goosebumps movie. Like many of R.L Stine’s books, it also ends with a Shyamalanian twist that, read through adult eyes, is pretty pandering, but to a kid, it was jaw dropping. One of those “no way!” moments from my adolescence.
-James Jay Edwards
Alongside The Haunted Mask, and One Day at Horrorland, one of the Goosebumps books I adore the most is one that it seems a lot of people have forgotten: The Scarecrow Walks at Midnight. If memory serves correctly, The Scarecrow was the 20th book in the initial Goosebumps series the dark and ominous paperback cover of a menacing looking scarecrow in a corn field was enough to catch my attention. The story itself is something that I can envision as an actual horror movie, which makes it that much more amazeballs. There’s just something so terrifying about a scarecrow coming to life that is beyond unsettling. Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark, Tales from the Crypt, and the Children of the Corn series have touched on it, and for a children’s series of books like Goosebumps making a successfully scary enough story out of it, is a feat not a whole lot of authors have under their belt. Plus it makes me hungry for chocolate chip pancakes.
Growing up, the Goosebumps book that terrified me the most was The Haunted Mask (book 11 in the original series). It follows easily bullied and scaredy-cat Carly Beth that just once wants to scare the kids that are mean to her. She stumbles upon a Halloween shop and goes for the most grotesque mask in the she can find. After putting it on, she realizes she can’t get it off but begins to like the power of fear the mask instills.
This one was scary as a book but was kicked up a notch when the show made a two part episode about it. I could relate to being bullied and wanting to stand up for myself. You felt the fear build in Carly Beth as she realized she couldn’t take it off and saw the change in her behavior once the mask started to take over. The second Haunted Mask book didn’t pack the same punch that this one did. It was a perfect story of finding out what truly matters.
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