13 Goosebumps Books That Gave All '90s Kids Insane Nightmares
The entire original 62-book Goosebumps series marked an important part of our childhoods: the excited feeling of being just a little bit terrified. Whether the books still send a shiver down your spine, creep you out even more as an adult, or just straight-up provide you with nostalgia for your youth, take a peek at our picks for scariest Goosebumps books. From Welcome to Dead House, the first of the series, to The Ghost Next Door, the saddest of the series, to The Haunted Mask, one of the classics of the series, the novels ahead will be sure to give you a scare — and twist endings like no other. Reader beware . . .
Welcome to Dead House
The first book in the original series, Welcome to Dead House definitely sets the scene for all 61 books to follow. Siblings Amanda and Josh are strangers in a new neighborhood, so what's left to do but go exploring, especially after their dog runs away? Soon, however, they wind up figuring out the dark secret of Dark Falls — and it's something you'll only want to read with the light on.
The Girl Who Cried Monster
It's one thing to make up a few monster stories now and then, like protagonist Lucy, but once you see your librarian eating flies? That's a whole other story (specifically, a story called The Girl Who Cried Monster). It's one that gets a whole lot weirder as it continues . . .
The Ghost Next Door
One of the most horrifying — and definitely the saddest — tales of the series, The Ghost Next Door is the story of Hannah, who spends the Summer exploring her neighborhood and doing what she can to have fun (fitting in with the attire of the time, our heroine wears a whole lot of Day Glo green). One day during her adventures, she meets her new neighbor, Danny, whose constant disappearances make her start to suspect that he's a ghost. The truth is worse than she ever thought possible.
The Haunted Mask
The Haunted Mask is the story of Carly Beth, who is so mercilessly teased by classmates Steve and Chuck that she's determined to get revenge on them by buying the most grotesque Halloween disguise she can find and scaring the crap out of them on Halloween night. But what happens when the mask isn't just a mask and turns out to be something . . . more? This is a classic entry in the Goosebumps hall of fame.
Piano Lessons Can Be Murder
We don't know about you, but we're pretty sure we'd never take piano lessons from a man named Dr. Shreek. However, in Piano Lessons Can Be Murder, main character Jerry isn't fazed by his piano teacher's moniker (though he should be), and quickly takes up piano lessons with him. Needless to say, it's a near-fatal mistake.
The Scarecrow Walks at Midnight
If a scarecrow must detach from his post and start scampering around, what better time than midnight, amirite? All "corny" jokes aside, The Scarecrow Walks at Midnight is a creeper of a tale about multitudes of moving scarecrows that haunt Jodie and Mark — and not just at nighttime. The only way to stop them is, of course, a dangerous one.
The Haunted Mask II
Steve, bully-turned-protagonist from The Haunted Mask, returns to have his own adventure with a spooky Halloween disguise in The Haunted Mask II. Only this time, the mask he chooses is a grotesque old man crawling with spiders. But as with Carly Beth, he's not attached to the mask — the mask is attached to him.
The Headless Ghost
Easily one of the scariest Goosebumps books on record, The Headless Ghost is a story within a story, a tale of a boy named Andrew who haunts his former home, looking for his head. According to the story, after the boy had seen a ghost himself, the ghost tore off Andrew's head and hid it somewhere in the house, and Andrew now wanders around looking for it. Now, two young friends, Duane and Stephanie, are obsessed with the story and the house. But what happens when they run into the ghost himself?
R.L. Stine's campfire ghost stories are among his best, and Ghost Camp is the perfect example. Imagine going to sleepaway camp for the first time, your stomach already in knots with nerves and excitement, when you suddenly find yourself running for your life — from the camp. That's exactly what happens to main character Harry!
Attack of the Jack-o'-Lanterns
At first, the cool trick-or-treating town Drew and Walker find is every candy-eating kid's dream: it has the biggest chocolate bars and a never-ending supply of all the best Halloween haul. However, things take a turn for the creepy in Attack of the Jack-o'-Lanterns when the pumpkin-headed townsfolk don't seem to be wearing costumes . . .
Calling All Creeps!
The ending is by far the best part of this book, and even though it came out close to 25 years ago, we still don't want to spoil it for you. Instead, we'll leave you with this: of all the Goosebumps twists, Calling All Creeps has the scariest — and perhaps the most satisfying.
The Curse of Camp Cold Lake
The Curse of Camp Cold Lake is so bone-chilling it still sends shivers down our spines. Our protagonist, Sarah, hates her sleep-away camp to begin with — but she really hates it when she believes the ghost of a dead girl who drowned at the lake is trying to kill her. It's like a Friday the 13th for kids, only with a totally different twist ending.
The Haunted School
You only have to see The Sixth Sense to know what goes down when schools are haunted. But in the world of Goosebumps, things can get a little bit more dark (and we mean that literally). The Haunted School sees Tommy and his friend Ben attempt to save the class of 1947, who are somehow locked inside the school via a black-and-white photo, meaning they are trapped inside a colorless world for their entire ghostly existence. Despite the boys' heroic efforts, however, by the end of the book, it looks like Ben and Tommy are doomed to the same fate themselves . . .