A carpenter buys a house in some type of government auction. So he goes to the house to check it out and he finds out that it wasn't well taken care of. We're talking warped wood, a broken window or two... That sort of thing. It'd cost him twice what he paid for it just to bring the house up to code. What a day for that guy!
Why is it scary? Bad investment practices. Also, there are some rusty nails in the house, so tetanus could be a thing.
The year is 2020 and Bob really wants to dress up as Swamp Thing for the local comic book convention. Too bad Bob doesn't know how to make costumes...or really what Swamp Thing even looks like, for that matter. After a hard night of just gluing plants to his skin and coloring his arms in with a green Sharpie, Bob looks in the mirror and gets super embarrassed, so he decided to just stay in the basement in case one of his friends tried to snapchat his horrible costume.
Why is it scary? Public shaming. Not a very faithful description of Swamp Thing.
Tabitha just bought a new industrial grade juicer and she's just going crazy mixing her favorite fruits and vegetables. Switching to a juice heavy diet causes Tabitha to lose a good amount of weight, but more importantly, she gains a lot of self confidence. Eventually her juicer breaks (as seen on the cover) and she gains some of the weight back, but what she really learns is that it doesn't matter how you look, it's how you feel on the inside. Thanks, juice!
Why is it scary? Some of the juice combinations that she comes up with are pretty out there. We're talking carrots, kale, maybe even some pepper.
Eddie really wants to be a professional photographer, but he's too embarrassed to ask his friends to pose for him! Good thing he's the co-owner of the local Halloween supply store! Read on as Eddie uses plastic skeletons, sheet ghosts and rubber alligator heads to create slices of American life that are compelling and really hold a mirror up to society. Will he win the county fair's amateur photography contest? Who knows?!
Why is it scary? The other co-owner of the Halloween store is a ghost, I guess?
The head security guard of the Chicago Field Museum just got a fresh shipment of mummies all the way from Egypt. There's only one problem: Someone forgot to wrap all these mummies! Read as Chet uses paper towels, ripped up T-shirts and even good old toilet paper to get the mummies ready for the big exhibit opening. Did we mention that the mayor is going to be at the opening? She is, so hopefully Chet can "wrap" things up in time!
Why is it scary? Aside from a few key differences, it's pretty similar to Night at the Museum. So if you're afraid of Ben Stiller, this might bring up some memories.
This one is about a kid with a pretty crazy superpower: He can turn his right hand invisible! Crazy, right? The book is about his days as a pickpocket, novelty waiter and eventually Major League Baseball pitcher who strikes it rich off of other players inability to see how he's going to throw the ball. Batter up!
Why is it scary? I mean, YOU try catching a fast ball from a guy with an invisible hand.
Goosebumps book #8 is about a girl who loves watching people eat. A lot of people are creeped out by it, so they tell her to stop and she feigns politeness, but sticks around and keeps watching like a real creeper.
Why is it scary? Someone watching you eat when you don't know that they're doing it? How is that NOT scary?!
The Jenson family is having its first great outdoors camp outing, but they forget a camping lamp! Good thing dad is also a big stockholder in a company that makes glow sticks and he has a case with him at all times for just such an emergency!
Why is it scary? Even if you have a bunch of glow sticks, they don't last for very long, so you have to keep snapping new ones which will eventually hurt your hands a little.
An unofficial sequel to the book about the kid with the invisible hand, this kid can turn both of his legs invisible! The book is about his days as a speed walker, prank groin kicker and, eventually, professional soccer player who strikes it rich off of other players' inability to see his legs!
Why is it scary? I mean, YOU try stopping a soccer ball from a guy with invisible legs!
Johnny puts on a Halloween mask that's a few sizes too small and the whole book is spent with his family trying to pry that mask off with oil, solvent and even some butter. It's sort of like a Charlie Chaplin movie, but in book form!
Why is it scary? Any reader with bad skin knows that putting butter on your face gives you A LOT of acne! Gross!
Mystica is a down-on-her-luck fortune teller who, after a hilarious mishap, accidentally loses her crystal ball and has to replace it with an egg! What will she do when her regular customers complain about how her crystal ball is "clearly a rotting egg"? Her customers won't be the only people with egg on their faces when this is over!
Why is it scary? If you have alektorophobia, or a fear of chickens, you might want to steer clear of this one.
Edward was a boy who only wanted one thing in life: to sell weird-shaped pianos at a reasonable price. After his dad passed away (of old age) and willed a normal-shaped piano store to Edward, the kid with a dream got to work warping and building all the pianos in the store until they were oblong, rounded and hard to play. With his life's work complete, Edward leaned back, sighed and then came to the harsh realization that he didn't know how to play piano!
Why is it scary? Edward is self-trained when it comes to basic carpentry, so he ignores a few basic safety techniques. It's not on purpose, though.
Greg is having a blast camping out with his friends until a wolf steals his only pair of pants and he needs them back because he's got a job interview on Monday. A job interview to be PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES. It's a story that'll leave everyone howling...with laughter!
Why is it scary? Let's just say that since this book is political in nature, there's a lot of talk about gerrymandering.
A water shortage in a small Texas town leaves the residents unable to take showers! They use everything from alcohol wipes to a lot of perfume to try to keep the flies away, but nothing works! There's a big heartwarming moment at the end where the town realizes that if everyone smells, at least they smell together and then it starts raining right when the mayor says that and it washes the town and its residents clean. This almost won a Pulitzer.
Why is it scary? The book is scratch and sniff, which was pretty ill-planned for a book about how everyone smells like garbage.
Based on the weird sign and poor lighting, I can only assume One Day at Horrorland is about a man who placed a wager with his friends that he could run the least profitable amusement park in the world. Chad, as he's probably called, succeeds after the park goes one full year without a single paying customer, and his friends begrudgingly give him the $40 they owe him.
Why is it scary? To establish Chad's character, the first 30 pages show him doing a lot of gambling. He wins most of the time, but there's a chapter where he almost loses at blackjack. So, if you don't like surprises or are addicted to gambling, you might want to sit this one out.
In a weird move for R.L. Stine, this book is basically the movie Antz, but featuring bees instead of ants. The human face this bee is wearing is a Halloween mask the main character is wearing to a Halloween party. They refer to it as a "Buzz-o-ween" party and it's really cute because instead of passing out candy, the bees pass out aphids.
Why is it scary? It's not stated that the bees eat the aphids, but it's pretty heavily implied.
A spiritual sequel to the first Monster Blood, Monster Blood II is about a Monster Energy Drink executive that tries to create a healthy alternative to their main Monster Energy Drink line by mixing various juices together (a running theme for the Monster Blood series). At one point, he accidentally spills some of his new energy drink on Swole-ee, his super swole hamster that he keeps in his office. This has no real effect on the hamster and is never mentioned again.
Why is it scary? Some of the juice combinations he comes up with are even more out there then the first. He even tries to mix Monster Energy Drink with apple juice. The nerve!
This is basically Ecco the Dolphin, but from the perspective of the hammerhead shark that Ecco runs into a few times. It doesn't flesh the story out in any meaningful way, which is a real missed opportunity, but at one point the hammerhead says, "It's hammer time!" before wrecking a school of fish. So that's something.
Why is it scary? If you haven't played Ecco II: The Tides of Time, then there are some pretty big spoilers.
This one is pretty straightforward: A family owns a farm and they've had this scarecrow for a few years. The family is, to be frank, pretty lazy, so they never really maintain the poor thing. It's basically an art piece where you see the scarecrow decay over the years until it's barely a hat. R.L. Stine strongly recommends listening to Don Henley's "End of the Innocence" on loop for the full duration of the book, which I personally think is a good call.
Why is it scary? Don Henley hasn't been in the public eye for a little while, so it's sort of scary to think about what he's been up to. Is he just, like, a dad or something? I don't know!
Go Eat Worms is about a kid named Cindy that's just trying to finish her math homework before class starts. The school dweeb, Elson, accidentally spills a bunch of worms on Cindy and even though it's pretty gross, she just has to deal with it and finish her homework. There is never any explanation about why or how Elson has a bucket of worms.
Why is it scary? I'm pretty bad at math, so I can relate.
In a weird turn for R.L. Stine, this whole book is about a hypothetical alternate Earth where the moon is about fifty percent closer to our planet. Tides are effected, there's exactly one ghost and, in a strange twist, all of the tombstones in this world are very generic.
Why is it scary? In this alternate Earth, Mitt Romney won the presidency.
This book starts exactly where the last Goosebumps mummy book left off. The head of security just finished wrapping all of the mummies and they've started to stink pretty bad. Will Chet be able to whip up a non-invasive perfume to cover up that long-dead mummy smell before the mayor shows up and says, "Smell ya later!" to any future museum funding?
Why is it scary? Still pretty heavily inspired by Night at the Museum.
This one is about a dumb theatre kid named Dark Moon who decides to wear a mask to school for a week to impress girls or whatever. The book ends when some bullies kick the s*** out of him for being an idiot.
Why is it scary? This one is actually a pretty feel-good story.
This Goosebumps book is about a kid who invests in a pair of fingerless biker gloves. He thinks the gloves are really cool and wears them pretty much everywhere.
Why is it scary? The gloves get pretty gross at the halfway point. They're made of leather and he even washes his hands while wearing them. Also, in one of the chapters he wears them to a wedding, which is pretty embarrassing for everyone involved.
A Night in Terror Tower is about a masked guy with an axe who builds a tower with a door that's way too small for him. Most of the book is spent with him doing anything he can to get into the tower that he built!
Why is it scary? There's a pretty long montage where he tries to butter up the door to squeeze back into the tower. Some of the butter gets on the steps leading up to the tower, so it's sort of a safety issue. Also, the axe.
This was a spiritual sequel to A Night in Terror Tower, except, instead of a guy in a mask trying to get into a tower that's too small for him, it's a bird trying to get into a cuckoo clock that's too small for it.
Why is it scary? They have the same "using butter to get into the clock" scene and it's just as unsafe.
Similar to Monster Bloods I and II, Monster Blood III is about a kid who experiments with different juice concoctions. He feels no ill effects from his new juice mixes and things turn out pretty well for him.
Why is it scary? He lives next to a guy that has a comically small house. He forgets, but every once and a while he'll accidentally stomp through the man's front yard. It'd be scary if it wasn't so silly.
It Came From Beneath The Sink is about a prankster plumber who leaves googly eyes under every sink he fixes. He does it all in good fun, and once everyone realizes he's such a goof they learn to laugh at it, as well as themselves.
Why is it scary? The plumber isn't very good at his job and in one scene he leaves a pipe disconnected. Water gets everywhere.
The Barking Ghost is about a dog who has a butt for a forehead and a slightly off-center face who just wants to be adopted. After several failed adoptions from people who just couldn't get over this dog's weird appearance, he is finally adopted by a blind couple. It's really sweet and most people cry by the time they reach the end of the book.
Why is it scary? The story is told entirely through barks.
This one is a magical realism take on the life of baseball legend Yogi Berra. The lawn gnomes shown on the cover are a metaphor for all of the baseball teams he's been on. They're all wearing the same outfit, which is clearly a play on baseball uniforms.
Why is it scary? R.L. Stine spends a solid paragraph describing every time Yogi Berra spits chew into a spittoon. He gets pretty graphic and it happens, like, five times per chapter.
This one is about a giant metal mantis sculpture that an art-loving neighborhood built to advertise their farmers market. The city wants to tear "Big Mantis" down, but quick thinking, and a knowledge of bas�c municipal codes, manages to save the day AND the mantis.
Why is it scary? The book ends with the mantis sculpture collapsing and crushing a bus-full of schoolchildren.
This is about a ghost who is headless, but also pretty vain. He curls and lifts his own head every day in an effort to become the most muscular ghost in all of ghost world. He's kind of a show off, and the other ghosts don't like him until he uses his ghost muscles to lift a ghost car off of another ghost's ghost legs. The book ends with a bunch of ghosts chanting, "No Head! No Head!"
Why is it scary? It's heavily implied that this is the ghost of Arnold Schwarzenegger, which I think is in poor taste because he's alive and really healthy. For shame, R.L. Stine. For shame.
This is mostly a buddy/cop book starring the talking shrunken heads who generically banter with each other. They're a really mismatched pair, but they definitely teach each other a thing or two...about friendship.
Why is it scary? R.L. Stine clearly wrote himself as the police chief and it's not a very flattering portrayal. Man, I hope that guy is okay.
This one is about a smelly magician and his gross rabbit (as seen by the stink lines coming out of it in this illustration). The big turning point of the book is the rabbit and magician taking a bath, losing their stench and being forced to walk the world without their signature scent.
Why is it scary? Honestly, this one just ends on a downer. They lose their scent and don't get it back. They're miserable. It's all very "Greek morality play," which was a weird choice for this.
This one was an unofficial sequel to the Dr. Seuss book Green Eggs and Ham. It follows the standard tropes of self-discovery that you'd find in a prequel. The book ends with the green egg sitting on ham's doorstep. Green egg rings ham's doorbell and it's implied that ham answered, setting up the story for their more famous book.
Why is it scary? Let's just say the egg may be green, but the language it uses throughout the book us surprisingly blue.
This one is about a baseball mascot that loves giving high fives. All of the other mascots make fun of him, so he stops, but then there is some type of "high five emergency" that convinces him to start doing high fives again.
Why is it scary? He high fives someone so hard that their head explodes. It's really graphic and pretty off voice for the book.
Eddie from the last Say Cheese and Die is back! Based on his experiences in the last book, he gets a job taking pictures for Vanity Fair! Things are finally going Eddie's way, but he really misses the old days of taking pictures of skeletons. So he quits his job, moves back home and gets back to taking pictures of a plastic skeleton family.
Why is it scary? It turns out he really shouldn't have quit Vanity Fair and the book ends with him penniless and unhappy.
Also known as Converse Presents: Ghost Camp, this book is an okay scary story that was filled to the brim with Converse product placements. Whooo boy, whoever the Converse marketing head is deserves a medal for this one.
Why is it scary? The book is filled with typos, and at one point they refer to converse as "Bonverse."
This one is about a kid who bought a pair of off-brand Hulk hands and he won't stop wearing them around the house. After that, it flashes back to the guy who invented those off-brand Hulk hands and his quest to make it in the toy business. It's very Tarantino-esque, except instead of being violent, it's uplifting.
Why is it scary? If you can't tell by the cover, the house the kid lives in is really weirdly shaped. You might get motion sickness just by reading the book.
This one is about Glenda, the world's weakest Viking. Glenda was tasked with guarding a treasure chest, but instead of moving it to someplace safe, she just stands on it in the middle of a field for generations. No one's ever scared of her, just inconvenienced. She eventually dies and then becomes the world's weakest ghost.
This one is about a teenaged goth named StarBeam who has really bad hygiene. He never showers because he doesn't want to be a "sellout." The book ends with him realizing that even goths have to shower every now and then.
Why is it scary? It's revealed that his black clothes used to be white. He's THAT dirty!
This one was supposed to be a sequel to Bill and Ted's Bogus Journey. The basic gist of the plot is that Bill and Ted went back in time and turned everyone into dinosaurs. It's got all of the hallmarks of a Bill and Ted adventure, but now they're called "Phil and Jed." A few "Bill and Ted's" slipped in though, which is weird.
Why is it scary? The way they turned everyone into dinosaurs is because Bill made love to a dinosaur.
An alt title for this book: Oh No! A Duck Stole My Pants! As you'd expect, it's about a bunch of ducks who stole a kid's pants. The book ends with the kid getting his pants back, but then there's an epilogue sequence where it's revealed that the ducks still have his shoes. I guess he was trying to set up a sequel with this one.
Why is it scary? If you didn't know already, ducks are pretty gross.
R.L. Stine wanted to write another Haunted Mask sequel, but, for whatever reason, the publisher wanted more bird stuff. This book follows all of the same beats as The Haunted Mask, but instead of a kid getting a mask stuck on his face, this is about a girl getting stuck in a chicken costume. The book ends with a bunch of nerds developing a special type of grease that loosens the zipper, allowing the girl to get out of her costume. He establishes early on in the book that she hates nerds, so it's supposed to be a growth moment for her when nerds end up saving the day.
Why is it scary? The nerds use a lot of pseudoscience and the book has a pretty strong anti-global warming message for some reason.
This book was going to be called What's the Deal With That Weird Lamp?, but they changed it at the last minute. It's basically about a kid who gets a weird lamp from one of his relatives. His parents want him to throw the lamp out because it's not in very good shape, but he keeps it and restores it. It's sort of like The Sandlot, but instead of being about baseball, it's about antiques.
Why is it scary? The lamp was originally owned by Nazis.
This book's about a hypothetical scenario where Earth grows a penis. It's less a story and more a thought experiment on how the earth's new penis would affect nature and the way people interact with each other. It's nothing if not fascinating.
This one is about what is referred to in the book as a "lake miser." A "lake miser" is someone who owns a lake and won't share it with anyone. The story is especially sad because the lake miser's lake is right next to a summer camp for kids with really dry skin. After a series of hilarious mishaps, the lake miser realizes that it's okay to share and it ends with the miser and the kids having a fun BBQ right next to the lake.
This book is entirely about a cat that was born with elbows. All of the other cats constantly make fun of his elbows until all of the cats in the world get caught in some problem where the only solution is having elbows. The cat with elbows saves the day and is accepted by all of catkind and then becomes cat president.
This one is about a junior high school hoarder. He's in eighth grade and his locker is so filled with macaroni paintings and spelling tests that he can't open it anymore. His parents, friends and family members stage an intervention and he finally realizes that there's a difference between throwing things away and throwing away the experience of being human.
Why is it scary? He was in charge of the school hamster for a weekend a few years ago. He left the hamster in his locker and forgot about it. The hamster somehow developed a thousand hamster strong colony in his locker and the chapter where animal control has to clean out all of hamsters is pretty off the rails.
This one is a slapstick comedy about the world's worst taxidermist. Watch as he takes perfectly good animal pelts and ruins them through a series of hilarious mishaps. There are a few musical numbers, including the songs "You Can't Stand Forever," "Furry Statue" and "Googly Eyes, Schmoogly Eyes" that are weirdly out of place because this is a book and not an audio medium.
Why is it scary? The book ends with him falling into a vat of lacquer and becoming a perfectly preserved statue. "Though he was bad at taxidermy in life, he was great as a taxidermy statue in death," are the last words in the book. It's chilling, but deep.
This one is about a kid who really loves collecting rocks and dirt. She keeps her collection in the basement. Her parents originally thought it was weird, but over the course of the book they start to accept and even cultivate their daughter's hobby. The kid eventually grows up to become a geologist and the book ends with her picking up a rock and smiling and then we as the readers smile because we know what she's been through.
Why is it scary? At the start of Act II, her parents and friends are crushed to death by rocks.
This one is about an alternate reality where slugs are the dominant species on Earth. It follows the story of Slugula, a teenage girl slug who just wants to be accepted by all of the popular girl slugs. It's sort of like Dawson's Creek if Dawson was a giant slug.
Why is it scary? I don't know, slugs just creep me out I guess. Did you know they can crawl over blades and not get hurt?