Literature: Give Yourself Goosebumps
"Reader beware — you choose the scare..."Give Yourself Goosebumps
is the Choose Your Own Adventure
spin-off of R.L. Stine's popular Goosebumps
For '90s kids, this series was the first (or, if one avoided the Animorphs
Alternamorphs books, perhaps only) exposure they've had to the CYOA genre. Like other books in the genre, you, the reader, are required to make potentially dangerous choices to escape whatever dire circumstances you find yourself trapped in. Depending on the book, this may involve fleeing a haunted house, a deceptive genie
or escaping a carnival of horrors (i.e., the book pictured to the right
). And of course, the possibility of lots and lots of grisly deaths
Most GYG books follow a format which splits the adventure into two separate paths. The primary one covers the book's advertised premise more closely. The secondary one usually centers on the aforementioned premise as well, but may focus on a different aspect of the quest. For example, the first book, Escape from the Carnival of Horrors
, has you either going through the carnival games, or the carnival rides to make your escape. Other books have two different storylines only tangibly connected to each other. Zapped in Space
(#23), for example, has you choosing between the advertised virtual reality space adventure or another virtual reality game, which involves a trek through a snowy tundra to hunt down an Abominable Snow Woman
. Few books, like Checkout Time at the Dead End Hotel
(#27), go so far as to focus the entire book on one central quest.
In terms of overall design, Give Yourself Goosebumps
doesn't deviate much from its spiritual CYOA predecessors, other than including references to other Goosebumps
books. Usually, this involves a quiz question of some sort, though Return to Terror Tower
and Revenge of the Body Squeezers
continue where the original books left off (i.e., Night at Terror Tower
and series 2000's Invasion of the Body Squeezers
Because publishing company Scholastic forced R.L. Stine to write many volumes of Goosebumps
in a short period of time — like the main series itself — it's likely that several ghost writers wrote some GYG
installments. As a result, the novels really vary in quality
. Demian's Gamebook Web Page
, despite his obvious negative bias toward the series, does a decent job showcasing the erratic quality between each book. In contrast, a livejournal blog by MJN SEIFER
gives more detail and compassion for the series. However, it's not quite complete yet (it's only on book #37), and has not been updated since October 31st, 2012. Nevertheless, most GYG
books are worth reading at least once, though some books feel more tightly constructed and exhibit better gameplay than others.Give Yourself Goosebumps
lasted long enough to even have several Special Edition books. These eight CYOA novels emphasize inventory management
and more complex gameplay gimmicks not present in the other books. Into the Jaws of Doom
is the most notable example. With its split sections and chance encounters requiring dice rolls, it's the closest thing the series has to an actual gamebook. The other Special Edition books aren't as boldly ambitious, but they have other ways to surprise readers.The other wiki also listed the entire catalogue
of Give Yourself Goosebumps
Give Yourself Goosebumps provides examples of the following tropes:
- Acme Products: "Acme Cleanup" is mentioned in The Creepy Creations of Professor Shock.
- Adults Are Useless: The few times grownups are present, they don't do much besides punish you for acting panicked, lying about your unbelievable adventure, or sneaking off.
- Amusement Park of Doom: Escape from the Carnival of Horrors and its sequel, Return to the Carnival of Horrors.
- And I Must Scream: Most books have at least one ending describing you getting permanently frozen into an immobilized state or morphing into an inanimate object. This includes (but not limited to): being turned into a statue, being turned into an art museum painting, being turned into a computer chip for a virtual reality game, etc. For obvious reasons, these tend to be the creepiest endings for each book.
- Animate Inanimate Object: Mobile statues, mannequins, and six-foot displays coming to life aren't an uncommon occurrence in several books. Toy Terror: Batteries Included takes this trope to the extreme.
- Animated Tattoo: One storyline of Attack of the Beastly Babysitter sees you stuck with a guy who has these and can, of course, use them as weapons and possibly kill you. One of the good endings involves you defeating him by destroying the main tattoo in the middle of his chest.
- Annoying Younger Sibling: Many of the books give you one of these. Denny in Tick Tock, You're Dead!, Joanie in Under the Magician's Spell, Jen in Escape From Horror House and "Stinko" in Attack of the Beastly Babysitter are just a few examples.
- Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: In one ending of ''Escape From Camp Run-For-Your-Life", the people running the camp are arrested for kidnapping, conducting business with an alien government without a licence, and the most serious offence of all: not paying tax.
- Babysitter from Hell: One of the premises for Attack of the Beastly Babysitter.
- Bad Santa: A possible ending of Trick or ... Trapped! is that you end up in a sleigh with an evil version of Santa, who pushes you out of the sleigh to your death.
- Baleful Polymorph: Deep in the Jungle of Doom, Trapped in Bat Wing Hall stand out, showing the changed forms on the cover.
- Be Careful What You Wish For:
- On Scream of the Evil Genie, your wishes often don't work the way you hoped. Sometimes, it causes minor difficulties, but you're able to correct them without much difficulty. Often though, your less thoughtful wishes spark off some really bad things happening, including being stranded on a desert island, transporting a monster to your own house, or worst of all, being trapped in a painting.
- In an ending in Hocus Pocus Horror; you can wish for a ton of gold, which the genie makes appear directly above you, so it kills you when it falls.
- Happens in two endings of Scary Birthday to You! In one ending, after your birthday has been ruined, you blow out the candles on your cake and wish you could have had a better day - so you get sent back to the start of the book to do the story over again. In another, you're trapped with a sadistic entertainer holding you hostage, so you make a wish to be "as far away from him as possible" which sends you to the middle of a desert.
- Be the Ball: One ending in Escape From The Carnival of Horrors forces you to play volley ball with some monsters. Guess what position you play?
- Bedsheet Ladder: An option in One Night in Payne House and in fact it's how you'll reach the only good ending.
- Bittersweet Ending: Not all of the non-good endings turn out to be awful.
- In The Deadly Experiments of Dr. Eeek (book #4), you get turned into a dog, but at least you managed to return home safely and live as the new family pet!
- In Zapped in Space, you get trapped in your gaming partner's body, but both of you at least escaped the game intact, and your partner's mother turns out to be a better cook than yours.
- Both It's Only a Nightmare and All Day Nightmare have endings where not only is your adventure in the book revealed to be just a dream, but so is your entire human life, and you're really just an animal. It sounds like a bad ending at first, until you realize that you are happy with your "new" life (mostly because it's your REAL life).
- Please Don't Feed the Vampire has an ending in which you are stuck as a vampire forever but you learn to deal with it, get a job working night shifts, and eventually fall in love with another vampire and live a happy (eternal) life with them.
- In one ending of The Twisted Tale of Tiki Island you actually have to kill your friend to break the Tiki Eye's curse. You're sad, but decide that you did what you had to; and resolve to make sure the curse can't continue.
- Bland-Name Product: In Shop Till You Drop ... Dead! you and Julie borrow "Splotch" (Swatch) watches to time yourselves during a bet.
- The Blank: In Welcome to the Wicked Wax Museum, one of the possible endings was that your face gets stolen, and the front of your head only has smooth, blank wax where it used to be.
- Blessed with Suck: Being able to see ghosts in The Curse of the Creeping Coffin. It is implied that very few people can do this, and you are one of them. There is even a moment where you admit you always wanted a special ability, but not one that scares you so much...
- Boarding School of Horrors: In Zombie School, you're sent to an elite boarding school that turns out to be one of these when you discover that all your fellow students are zombies. The book is organized accordingly: you pick from a list of classes that you have to survive, and certain choices earn you "demerits" that will lead you to a bad ending in detention.
- Breaking the Fourth Wall: Invoked pretty often in the series, though usually when readers choose obviously foolish decisions (e.g., like eating blue eggs in Escape From Camp Run-For-Your-Life). See You Bastard
- But Thou Must: Done a few time as the first choice of the book. The formula is one choice is to go adventuring and the other is to safely leave. The author tells you off for choosing the latter telling you you're reading the wrong book and turn back to the page to think again.
- Captain Ersatz: Several of these. Illinois Smith (Indiana Jones), Nasty Kathy (Talky Tina from The Twilight Zone episode "Living Doll"), and many more.
- Cats Are Mean: Night of a Thousand Claws is built on this trope, and the reader's character is all too aware of it. Other examples include Dora's cat Puff in Beware of the Purple Peanut Butter, and Uncle Darius' cat Sapphire in one dimension in Elevator to Nowhere.
- Cave Mouth: Used in a few bad endings, which of course lead to the reader's character being eaten. Deep in the Jungle of Doom", The Twisted Tale of Tiki Island, and Return to Terror Tower'' have provided examples, the first of which actually has "your" friend Zoe betray you and allow you to enter the "cave" knowing very well that it is a monster's mouth.
- Choose Your Own Adventure
- Circus of Fear: Special edition book #3, Trapped in the Circus of Fear.
- Clothes Make the Maniac: In Under the Magician's Spell, if you wear his cape after he's defeated, you become the new Magician and make a Face-Heel Turn.
- Covers Always Lie: A fair assessment for around 60% of these books...
- Crapsack World: Oh, you'll be exploring plenty of these throughout the course of this series...
- Crapsaccharine World: ... and these as well.
- Crazy Cat Lady: Katrina Madd from Night of a Thousand Claws. Some of the endings have you pull an Enemy Mine, while one of the truly good endings reveals the real, good Katrina had been held hostage by her brother Jacob since before the book started. After freeing her, she decides to confront the impostor you met at the beginning.
- Creepy Doll: "Nasty Kathy" in Toy Terror: Batteries Included.
- Creepy Twins: John and Jane Luckmeyer in The Curse of the Creeping Coffin.
- Cursed with Awesome: Several examples. Escape from Twisted Tree Lodge (now you know that monsters are terrified of dust, you can't ever clean your home again, so you won't have to do any more chores,) Revenge of the Body Squeezers (you get sent to the 1960s and have no way of returning to your own time; but you know you'll be able to use your knowledge of the future to your advantage) and Weekend at Poison Lake (forced to eat chocolate cake every day to keep a terrible smell from coming back) are just a few.
- Cutting Off The Branches: Return to the Carnival of Horrors assumes one of the good endings from its prequel, despite there having been several — and it's actually a plot point, since one of the first things you do on one story path is try to find the same ride you escaped in the first time.
- Darker and Edgier: A few of these. Into the Jaws of Doom and One Night in Payne House have only one good ending, and are very difficult to complete without running into most of the bad ones. Escape From Horror House took a more downbeat tone with less comedy and more graphic description of your many demises; while Zombie School is noted by fans for having gorier bad endings than most of the other books, such as you being torn limb from limb by zombies.
- Dead All Along:
- Zeke in Lost in Stinkeye Swamp. Although the cause of this character's death, and reasons for remaining in this world as a ghost change depending on what path the reader has taken.
- This actually happens to you in one ending from Trapped in Batwing Hall, you are given a boat ride by a figure who (while never referred to as such) is clearly the Grim Reaper based on the book's description, and when the ride ends you are at a crypt, and realize that you can see through your own body, and your name has been written on the crypt.
- Didn't Think This Through: Some of the bad endings (understandably) invoke this trope.
- Hiding under the operating table in The Deadly Experiments of Dr. Eeek turns out to a poorly thought out plan, as the sheet covering the table doesn't completely cover the reader. The other hiding place, Dr. Eeek's office, is an equally bad idea, as it is Dr. Eeek you are hiding from, and he is obviously going to go into his office.
- One choice when faced with a carnivorous plant in You're Plant Food! is to kill it with weed spray, however, you realize too late, that this will kill you and your friend Kerry too, as you're all in an enclosed area, and would have to breathe in the toxin (the book itself tells you that you should have known this was very dangerous.)
- Disproportionate Retribution: Nathan in Trick or...Trapped! lures the reader to a mansion so he can set a monster (known as "The Thing") that he created himself on him/her. The reader's crime? Not being Nathan's friend.
- The Dog Bites Back:
- Lost in Stinkeye Swamp has an ending in which you are eaten by your own goldfish, which is pissed off that you haven't bothered to care for it as you were too busy trying to escape the book.
- One storyline of Hocus-Pocus Horror involves you trying to help a dog that was being used in an evil magician's stage act. At one point, should you try to run away and leave the dog to its doom, it attacks you while invisible and you get killed.
- Some of the bad endings involve your friends or sibling/s turning on you after you have treated them poorly in some way. You may also get to bite them back in the good endings: for instance, Tick Tock, You're Dead! is based around you having to travel in time to find your bratty little brother, who ran off and got lost in a time travel experiment because he insisted "you're not the boss of me!" and wouldn't listen when you told him to stay put. One of the best endings is you being appointed leader of an alien race, smugly saying that now you are the boss of him, and making him your slave.
- Earn Your Happy Ending: There are at least two or three of these present in every book. Only Into the Jaws of Doom and One Night in Payne House (special edition books #1 and 4) explicitly states that there's only one good ending.
- Elevator Failure: A stock bad ending. Into the Jaws of Doom, Checkout Time at the Dead-End Hotel, Night of a Thousand Claws, and many others have them.
- Enemy Mine: Sometimes an option. In one of the storylines of Escape From Camp Run-For-Your-Life, you're forced to team up with a girl you hate in order to survive (although many of the bad endings involve her leaving you to die to save her own skin.) In Escape From Horror House, one storyline involves you deciding whether to work with a medium or a ghostbuster in order to defeat poltergeists. The two hate each other and each accuses the other of being a fraud, but you have the option of making them work together just this once.
- Explosive Decompression: One bad ending on Tick Tock, You're Dead! Oh, does the ending live up to this trope.
- Evil Elevator: Shop Til You Drop... Dead! has one in the mall you have to escape.
- Evil Old Folks: Granny Kapusta from Under the Magician's Spell. She'll either turn into a werewolf, or drug you, Joanie, and Sid, with plans to cut off your legs and eat them for dinner.
- The alien grandma from Secret Agent Grandma.
- The three-headed gardener from The Knight in screaming Armor.
- Exact Words: Used in some bad endings.
- In "Return to the Carnival of Horrors", the frog-like owner of the road race game promises that if you lose you won't be killed by a blue tornado like the previous loser was. Once you lose the game, you are instead killed by a purple tornado.
- In "The Curse of the Cave Creatures" you agree to help a witch if she promises not to turn you into a frog, and she agrees. You save her, and she turns you into a snake, since you never said she couldn't do that.
- Even the books themselves do this; in "The Curse of the Creeping Coffin" there is a page where you have to throw the book in the air to determine if you survive a fall. If you do, you are killed by the ghost who you were trying to escape from when you fell, with the ending pointing out that the previous page only said you'd survive the fall, not the whole story.
- Face-Heel Turn:
- In Ship of Ghouls, which revolves around a mad scientist's plot to blow up a cruise ship you're on, you can ... join the real mad scientist, in which you two become really good golfers.
- In Under the Magician's Spell you may end up turning into the new Magician yourself (see Clothes Make the Maniac above).
- The main choice you make in All-Day Nightmare will pit you against either aliens or werewolves. If you pick the latter, you can join a band of werewolf hunters, but you can also choose to become a werewolf yourself and hunt them.
- One ending of Into the Twister of Terror is that you merge with the twister and have a great time destroying everything in your path.
- In The Curse of the Cave Creatures, a certain choice during your battle with the Cave Spirit results in you becoming more powerful than him - causing you to switch bodies, because the Cave Spirit must always be the most powerful. You become evil and start plotting to kill him, as he is now in your human body.
- Failure Is the Only Option: Make too many unwise choices, and you might run into a pair of choices that ends badly, no matter which one you choose. For readers who didn't acquire certain items earlier in the adventure, when it comes time to use something to save yourself, you won't be able to do so. Sometimes, the books conceal the page number to make sure you actually ran into the item or piece of essential info instead of cheating and/or punish you for trying to cheat.
- Into the Jaws of Doom does this trope very deviously for people who accidentally run into the giant magnet. To escape it, you need to discard almost every item you've acquired at that point. Only the boomerang gets a pass, but by that point of the game, you don't need it at all. This sets up an endless loop of bad endings, as the adventure's impossible to finish without the items you've left behind.
- In The Curse of the Creeping Coffin, you can get chased by a ghost soldier, which will lead you to fall off a bridge with a 50-50 chance to survive. If you die, you become a ghost who performs heinous acts like crossing out the page numbers of the very same book you're reading. If you survive, the soldier hears your groaning after landing from the fall, which he then proceeds to jump off the bridge to finish you off with his sword. The book then clarifies that you had a chance to survive the fall, not the adventure.
- One of the two main storylines in Little Comic Shop of Horrors is to find that you are stuck in the world of comic books, and having to decide which of two comics you will enter. One of those gives you the option going into a third different comic, but all choices made from there end badly - you're either killed by a Mad Scientist (who thinks you are a spy) or a team of other kids turned into comic book superheroes, who are angry that you accidentally caused one of them to get killed.
- Tick Tock, You're Dead! has an entire storyline of this. Your main choice in the book is whether to go to the past or future to find your missing brother. If you go to the past, all paths lead to a bad ending. One of them does advise you to search in the future next time, just so the reader doesn't get too frustrated.
- In Revenge of the Body Squeezers, if you end up on board the Body Squeezers' spaceship, you will get killed no matter what you do next.
- Happens if you encounter Granny Kapusta in Under the Magician's Spell. She will either turn into a werewolf and eat you, or she gives you a glass of milk which magically immobilizes you and you discover she's going to cook and eat you.
- Some books use this trope by the fact that none of the endings, good or bad, allow you to reach the goal you set out to achieve. For instance, in Ship of Ghouls you're on a cruise that is supposed to take you to Japan for a vacation; even if you get one of the good endings, you never actually get to go to Japan.
- "Story A" from "Night of a Thousand Claws" has no completely good ending. In the two endings where the reader wins, his or her parents will either become the new "Keeper of the Cats" or the reader himself/herself will turn into a dog.
- Similarly, going with the "werewolf" storyline from All-Day Nightmare gives no real good ending: if you survive the book, you'll be a werewolf, a "were-hawk", or a regular wolf.
- Fantastic Racism: A subtle example is used on Revenge of the Body Squeezers. A friend tries to convince you that the green aliens was in on the plan to use the squeeze bomb (proving this with, as it later turns out, fabricated evidence), while you try to convince her that you watched the blue aliens declare this plan in front of your own eyes when you snuck into their spaceship. Going with your gut turned out to be the better decision, as agreeing with your friend's "skin color doesn't matter" philosophy ended with both of you vandalizing Leonard Nimoy's cemented star with pick axes, and get you two thrown in jail, accomplishing nothing. As it turns out, this was part of your friend's plan, as she was a double agent for the blue aliens.
- Gender-Blender Name: Drew Mortegarth in Checkout Time at the Dead End Hotel. It's a plot point that you don't know Drew's gender and thus, which of two potential Drews is the right one.
- Gender Flip: In Return to Terror Tower you discover that Robin Hood is a woman.
- Genre Savvy and No Fourth Wall: In Escape From Camp Run-For-Your-Life, one of the choices has you deciding whether or not to eat some blue eggs. If you choose to eat them, you will suddenly stop, remember that you are in a Goosebumps book (where eating weird-colored food is usually a bad idea), and spit the eggs out. It turns out that the eggs cause you to become an obedient slave of the aliens running the camp.
- Gold Fever: Treasure hunting is a common sideplot for several books, though Alone in Snakebite Canyon and Lost in Stinkeye Swamp has it for a main storyline.
- Guide Dang It: Into the Jaws of Doom may be too difficult for some readers to figure out, so R.L. Stine included a guide in the back of Checkout Time at the Dead-End Hotel.
- Hall of Mirrors:
- "Escape From the Carnival of Horrors" has one of these in the House of Horrors, and it is possible to get lost in there forever, which is represented by forcing you to keep turning back-and-forth between the same two pages for the rest of your life! (well, until you close the book anyway.)
- Features in The Creepy Creations of Professor Shock if you choose the "mirror world" storyline.
- Haunted House: One Night in Payne House and Escape from Horror House. The latter book has you trying to get rid of poltergeists that are making your house haunted.
- Heel-Face Turn: The Lord High Executioner is a major villain in Return to Terror Tower (and the main villain of the original Goosebumps book on which it's based) but in the best ending of the book, you defeat the evil king and the Executioner becomes good, having been under mind control the whole time.
- Hell Hotel: Checkout Time at the Dead-End Hotel.
- Here We Go Again:
- Into the Jaws of Doom and One Night in Payne House both have only one good ending, but that ending is always this trope. In the former book, you are "rewarded" by being turned into your favorite action hero and having to battle dangers, and in the latter you end up going back into the house for proof you were there.
- In Invaders From the Big Screen, you may successfully survive the House of a Hundred Horrors movie, but the cast promises to see you again "soon" and you then come across a poster for the sequel. In another ending, you save a kindly old lady from vampires and promise to visit her again, only to discover that she is a werewolf.
- Two endings for The Deadly Experiments of Dr. Eeek end with this phrase. One is where you wake up to find that this whole experience was a dream, but your mother's dialogue implies that the same event will happen again for real this time. The other is where your friend Sam (who in a sense, got you into this whole mess by wanting to explore the labs) runs off to do some more exploring in the same lab that he and you could have either died in, or worse.
- Hilariously Abusive Childhood: In one scenario of Weekend at Poison Lake, your parents hire a guy to dress up as a lake monster to scare you (he even goes so far as to try to drown your dog in front of you.) It's played for laughs.
- Hollywood Acid: Secret Agent Grandma, Return to the Carnival of Horrors and Scary Birthday To You! all have endings where you die after someone spits or sprays acid all over you, dissolving you instantly.
- Horror Hunger: In Trapped in Bat Wing Hall, if you go with the Blue Team and turn into a bat, you develop a craving for insects even while in human form. One ending has you arrested for eating rare beetles on display in a science emporium. While in jail you come up with a brand new flavor of ice cream, Beetle Berry Crunch. Three guesses as to what's the secret ingredient.
- I Ate WHAT?: In Secret Agent Grandma one ending has you and your friends place some alien eggs in the refrigerator to stop them from hatching, but your mother finds them, and makes scrambled egg out of them for you, which you eat before you realize.
- I Don't Like the Sound of That Place: Stinkeye Swamp and Poison Lake would count (and in the latter book, you're also living in a house called "Vampire Lodge")
- I'm a Humanitarian: A few endings involve this. One ending of Under the Magician's Spell has a witch immobilize you and apparently take your knees to be used in her cooking. In Little Comic Book of Horrors you can be eaten by your friends who have become cannibals after being trapped in a maze for too long.
- Immediate Sequel: Revenge of the Body Squeezers is one. It begins exactly where Invasion of the Body Squeezers, part 2 from the Goosebumps 2000 series left off; and a main plot point is the conflict between the blue aliens that appeared right at the end of that book, vs the green aliens from the first one.
- Incredible Shrinking Man: Beware of the Purple Peanut Butter has this happen to the reader if they choose the Purple Peanut Butter.
- Intercontinuity Crossover:
- Jenna from Scream of the Evil Genie has a cameo in one ending for Checkout Time at Dead-End Hotel.
- The mutant alien roses from Secret Agent Grandma appear in You're Plant Food! and you're expected to have read the book in order to know what to do about the roses.
- Several of the books feature guest appearances from creatures from the main Goosebumps series: Slappy and Mr Wood, Monster Blood, the Grool, and more.
- Inventory Management Puzzle: For the books that use inventory, not having enough items, grabbing too many items, or using/acquiring the wrong items can lead to bad things.
- Into The Jaws of Doom has the most complex inventory system. Not only can you discover numerous items, you can interact with them on multiple circumstances. You can even discard items if you feel like you won't need them any more. This flexibility comes with a price, of course. Grabbing some items triggers an event, and if you don't have the proper item to counter said event (usually a monster appearance or death trap), you die. Some items aren't designed for multiple circumstances, and using them inappropriately will kill you. One item is completely useless, and if you choose it over a not-so-useless item, you're screwed. If you drop some items too early, you'll die when you'll need them later. If you haven't dropped enough items during one chase scene, the added weight will slow you down too much. No wonder the other novels couldn't replicate this.
- Return to Terror Tower has you picking three items out of a possible four, and using them at a possibly appropriate time. Pick the wrong item to use during the events, and a humiliating death usually results. One item is useless, as the one time you could use the object, it doesn't help you at all.
- Trapped in the Circus of Fear and One Night in Payne House makes the reader choose three items out of a possible twelve. The former book doesn't punish you too severely for picking a bad item or two, but for the latter, grabbing even one wrong item will eventually lead you to failure, whether immediate or prolonged.
- After you choose to be a hunter or spell caster on The Curse Of The Cave Creatures, you have the choice to pick several potential weapons or casting spells. One of the items will always be the default tool, though you can choose three others to aid you. Pick the wrong items or choose the worst time to use them, and you're dead.
- Trick or... Trapped! has you searching for items throughout your quest and using them for the appropriate time. Unfortunately, the inventory system is so poorly implemented into the book, it doesn't enhance the experience.
- Shop Til You Drop... Dead!'s scavenger hunt has you going through floors two through six, and acquire as many items as possible before hitting floor seven, the final showdown. Skipping some floors or doing some actions wrong causes you to grab some weaker replacement items- or not acquiring some items at all, which affects the final confrontation. Also, going through the scavenger hunt in the wrong order may get you killed in other floors, since you need those items to survive. On floor seven, at one point the books asks you if you have one item or the other. It's possible to have none of them, but that option isn't included on that page.
- You're Plant Food! and Zombie School have scavenger hunts that work similarly, though not quite as good as the one in Shop Till You Drop... Dead!
- Involuntary Shapeshifting: Alone in Snakebite Canyon is practically based on this trope, with at least one named character ending up stuck in a random animal-form by most endings.
- Jackass Genie: Jenna on Scream of the Evil Genie. There's only one wish that works out exactly how you expected — and even then, it took an extra wish to correct it — but the other ones turn out to be worse, whether by a little or a lot.
- Karmic Death:
- In You're Plant Food! there is moment where you can find a warning notice about a plant virus, that no one but you has seen yet. You are given the option to tear down the notice (and potentially endanger your classmates) simply because you don't want the field trip to be cancelled. If you do this, the plant that the notice is attached to will also be ripped, and some deadly sap will squirt all over you, and you end up melting.
- Choosing to wish for "a ton of gold" rather than wishing to save your friend in Hocus Pocus Horror causes the gold to fall on you, and kill you. Laser-Guided Karma indeed.
- Kick Me Prank: In Zombie School, your teacher writes "HIT ME, KICK ME, SHOVE ME" on your forehead because she caught you trying to de-program your fellow students. Unfortunately for you, it's not just a prank; the zombies can't disobey an order, so they beat you to death.
- Kill It with Fire: Happens in a few books, usually if you encounter a dragon. In Return to Terror Tower you can be burned at the stake for sorcery.
- Long-Lost Relative: In one of the good endings of Return to Terror Tower, you help your two friends (a medieval prince and princess) overthrow their evil uncle and reclaim the throne. It is then discovered that you are their cousin and didn't know about it, so you get to rule the country with them.
- Lost at Sea: During the secondary story in Ship of Ghouls, you escape a bombed cruise ship, and must survive out in the ocean for days on end.
- Luck-Based Mission: Some books don't follow any real internal logic, which makes winning the book more trial-and-error than good planning/decision making. Some specific offenders:
- One Night in Payne House. You choose three of twelve items, and if you choose even one wrong item or go one incorrect route, you'll hit a bad ending. It's next to impossible to beat this one without running into nearly every bad ending in the book.
- Weekend at Poison Lake is this, literally. You pick between four short adventures based on Poison Lake, which comes with their own designated lucky number, and you decide how (or if) to use your lucky number during any perilous moment. Interesting concept, but the problem is that there was no logical way to deduct when to appropriately use your luck, as it could backfire at anytime. Yeah ... there's a reason this book wasn't well regarded.
- In Attack of the Beastly Babysitter there is a spinner in the back of the book that initially decides which of the two main storylines you will follow: "Fun" or "Games." If you get Games, rather than letting you make choices, a lot of the paths are decided by actual games such as flipping a coin or rolling a dice, etc. You also have to use the spinner at other points in the storyline.
- Most of the books will have at least one choice determined by something random the book asks you such as what day of the week it is, what month you were born, whether you have fair or dark hair, or are right or left-handed, etc.
- In Danger Time you come up against the Zodiacs: representations of each star sign. Subsequently, certain choices are affected by your real life horoscope and, if you have the "wrong" sign, it's impossible to get around some of them without cheating.
- Zombie School. You pick from a list of classes you have to survive, without getting too many "demerits" (and being sent to an automatic bad ending in detention.) Several important choices depend on factors like whether you can remember the last time you fell over in a gym class at school, or whether you are dressed correctly for the class you're supposed to be taking.
- Mad Scientist: Several books in the series have mad scientists, just like the original Goosebumps books. If there's a scientist in the book; chances are he or she is a mad one. In one of the books revolving around a cruise ship, you get tipped off to the plot by encountering a rather eccentric scientist with crazy hair and an even crazier expression announce his intent to "BLOW UP THIS SHIP!!" when you and your friend investigate what he's doing. Strangely enough, he's the good guy. The real bad guy is Affably Evil.
- Little Comic Shop of Horrors uses this as a plot point in one storyline where, after being sucked into a comic book, you're told to look for a Mad Scientist as they may be able to help you escape.
- The Many Deaths of You: Every novel contains 20+ endings, so it's no surprise that several of them won't go so well.
- Meat-O-Vision: A variant happens in Diary of a Mad Mummy where, if you try to distract a crocodile by throwing gummy candy at it, you then run out and the crocodile sees you as a gummy candy ... and eats you.
- Mind over Matter: A possible outcome in Escape From Horror House is that there is no poltergeist - the mysterious events in your house are caused by you, or your sister, being telekinetic and not knowing about it.
- Monster Clown: Done with Scary Birthday to You! and Trapped in the Circus of Fear.
- Moon Logic Puzzle: Done frequently in the series. Some examples:
- Zapped in Space:
- You have to get across a planet's surface without being cooked by the intense alien sun's heat. You're in a greenhouse, with two options — slather yourself with random goo, hoping its sunscreen, or make a hat out of leaves. If you use leaves, the leaves have lenses in them you didn't notice, which cook you.
- When you're fending off alien lizards, you can either use a sword, or a gun you have no clue how to operate. If you use the sword, the Lizards unveil their uncanny ability to regain all lost limbs, including their heads. FUUUUUUU—
- When you and your friend reach the Abominable Snowman's cave, there's a table with a box, containing a magnifying glass and a compass, saying "Take one". Logically speaking, since there are two of you, you and your partner can take both items without breaking the rule. Unfortunately, a beam of sunlight bounces off the compass through the magnifying glass, which flash defrosts the cavern and buries you and your friend into an avalanche of snow. What.
- Into the Jaws of Doom: You're running from a man with no skin who's trying to kill you inside a museum. You need to kill him so you can use the stairs again and get to the third floor. You're in the gift shop along with a chemistry set, as well as a fire extinguisher you found previously. If you try to kill him by exposing him to the extinguishers intense cold, the recoil knocks you out and he strangles you. You make a smoke bomb, it incapacitates you and not him (even though he doesn't have any eyelids). You make a noise bomb, he's still not incapacitated but you are. You make a stink bomb, you both suffocate. And no, there is no option to just kick him the overly exposed balls. You're supposed to go into a maze, find the right direction without coming across the giant magnet that takes everything away from you permanently, find the laser gun guarded by the snake, throw a stinkbomb at the creature that likely wouldn't be bothered by it, take the laser, find your way out, and shoot the skinless man in the eyes to blind him so he falls down the steps, presumably knocking himself out. It's probably worth noting, the smoke bomb and the flash grenade do absolutely nothing positive and stop you from making the stink bomb, making the game unwinnable.
Cheap endings aside (the germ and smoke bomb ones come to mind), Into the Jaws of Doom has more internal consistency than most other books in the series. As for the "Visible Man" stalking you, the book gives you specific instructions on how to beat him if you were paying attention. First, if you were lucky enough to get the hint about needing the fire extinguisher back in the fourth floor, you'll know to keep it for the fire ants when reaching the third floor (and even if you didn't, it's simple to figure out anyway). After snagging the key that was contained in the ant farm and you use it to open up the gift shop, your friend P.D.A. contacts you though a walkie-talkie and specifically tells you that only the Laser will work on the Visible Man, which is located in the giant mirror maze. The noise bomb is useless, but the intro in the book warned you that some items are worthless by design, so no loose logic here. The intro also said that most items are only good to use once, and using them multiple times may do more harm than good (only the fire extinguisher can be successfully used twice...the other times, it's worthless). Lastly, avoiding the giant magnet was easy, assuming you checked your notebook map on floor three and learn not to go north too often (though it's pretty tough to hit the giant magnet).
- Diary of a Mad Mummy: You are in Egypt, being attacked by a crocodile. The book asks you if you are carrying some gummy candy to distract the crocodile. If you don't it kills you. If you do... he follow you around to get fed more, and you know one day you'll run out, and the croc will have to find something (or someone) else to eat...
- The Knight in Screaming Armor: You're being chased up a bell tower by some ghost monks, who want to make you one of them. You reach the bell, and there is a kettle of black liquid, which probably won't even harm ghosts, and when you reach for the bell, the monks cower, which means they obviously fear the bell for some reason, so naturally you next choice is to ring the bell. No! What you're meant to do is pick up the kettle, which is too heavy for you, and then fall over and ring the bell by accident! Pulling the rope to ring the bell causes it to break, giving the monks time to catch up to you...
- Please Don't Feed The Vampire: You have been turned into a vampire and are faint from lack of blood. You are trapped in a room with other vampires who start drinking from the Dracula Expy. You can either try to escape while they're distracted, or drink some of the blood (not an unreasonable choice to make, since your character is now a vampire and needs blood.) But if you pick the latter, the next page abruptly breaks the fourth wall, assuming YOU in the real world want to drink someone's blood; and tells you to put the book down and stop being creepy.
- Invaders From the Big Screen has one choice determined by whether or not you know the meaning of the word "pince-nez", but you continue with the story only if you don't know — if you do, you get a bad ending.
- At one point in Shop Till You Drop ... Dead! you can be captured inside a store by mannequin security guards, who put you on "trial" and ask whether you plead Guilty or Not Guilty. Pick Not Guilty, and the mannequins "reward" your innocence ... by turning you into a mannequin just like them. You actually have to plead guilty if you want to survive.
- Morton's Fork: Not a common occurrence, but some books force you into a pair of unpleasant choices that both end in a similar disaster for you, the reader.
- Alone in Snakebite Canyon at one point presents a pair of animal morphs that even the book admits sound less-than-ideal: a slow-as-molasses tarantula morph to cross a busy street, or a mosquito morph through a bat infested cave, right after you ate a mosquito when you were in bat morph minutes earlier. The choices end as well as you expect. The logical third option - i.e., turn into a tarantula and wait in the cave until the snake eyes reset into two other and presumably better animal choices — was completely absent.
- The Werewolf of Twisted Tree Lodge presents an interesting scenario when you're trapped in the middle of the woods, facing a bunch of creatures that could easily eviscerate you for their own amusement. One option is to trick them into playing a game of tag and running like hell to escape, but they easily catch up and kill you. The alternative? Convince them that they'd all turn on each other if they try to eat you, because they're all different creatures, and require different needs when it comes to eating humans. By doing that, they'd either let you live to prevent turning on each other, or go all divide and conquer to see who gets to eat you. Instead, they claim that they're diplomatic monsters, and that their different needs doesn't interfere at all with feeding on you, so you still wind up dead.
- Diary of a Mad Mummy, if you get trapped with the crocodile in Egypt. He either eats you right away, or you stall by giving the crocodile gummy snacks. Unfortunately, since there's no rescue on the horizon, you'll eventually get eaten anyway after the snacks run out.
- In one book, you are given the choice of using either a cushion or a baseball bat to defend yourself from an enemy. Pick the cushion, it's easily destroyed and you get killed, with the book mocking you for even thinking a cushion would protect you. Pick the baseball bat, you're not strong enough to use it effectively (as you are an 11/12-year-old kid) - you still get killed.
- Being reasonable in a book about trying to stop a mad scientist's plot to experiment on a cruise ship you are on and trying to escape with your friend gets you stranded in the ocean after managing to get to the outer decks, all because gave you a friendly slap on the back, causing your cable lubricant-soaked body to barrel over the railing and into the sea. The other choices make you kickstart the plot by reporting the only person capable of stopping the conspiracy.
- In Escape from the Carnival of Horrors, you may encounter Slappy and Mr. Wood, the evil dummies from the Night of the Living Dummy books in the main Goosebumps series. You will then be asked if you remember the spell that was used to wake the dummies in the books. Whatever happens next ends badly for you: the right spell causes you to be enslaved to the dummies, while the wrong spell turns you into a chicken.
- Welcome to the Wicked Wax Museum: You are in a limousine and decide to use its phone to call for help. You have a choice of three buttons to press. One of them does nothing, so you have to choose again and if you pick one of the other two, you discover that the driver is the bad guy you're trying to escape from. He either drives off a cliff and kills you, or leers at you menacingly and you then realize too late that the picture on the button was of a grinning skull rather than a smiley face as you thought (presumably also leading to him killing you.)
- Night of a Thousand Claws: You have been cornered and are about to be devoured by ghost cats. The book then presents you with a wordsearch puzzle to determine whether you'll survive. If you don't solve the puzzle, the cats eat you, and you are told it's your own fault for being too lazy to solve a simple puzzle. If you do solve it ... the cats eat you anyway, because you were too absorbed in the puzzle to notice them advancing on you.
- You're Plant Food!:
- At one point you can be trapped with a Mad Scientist who's trying to kill you. Your choices are to throw a random chemical in their face, or flip over the lab table to slow them down. The chemical turns out to be harmless, so the scientist catches you. Flipping the table injures the scientist, giving you time to escape — but the remote control for the mechanical door gets crushed in the wreckage, so you're still trapped with the scientist who could wake up at any time.
- Your friend is being held captive in a plant's tendrils, and you're given the choice of using hedge shears or weedkiller spray to free her. Using the shears causes the plant to eat first the shears, and then you. Use the weedkiller, you're overcome by fumes (and apparently die) with the book scolding you for thinking it was safe to use poisonous chemicals in an enclosed space.
- In Deep in the Jungle of Doom you can get trapped in a pit with two living tiger skeletons (Wait, tigers, in the Amazon? They're supposed to be jaguar skeletons!). Your only choices are to try to jump out of the pit, and escape by jumping on one of the tiger skeletons, and then out of the pit, or to sing to the skeletons to calm them down. The former leaves you too badly injured to move, as the skeleton breaks the second you land on it (you automatically kill the other one with your remaining good leg), and the latter works at first, but you soon realize that the second you stop singing the skeletons will want to kill you again. Ironically, both endings imply there should be a way out of this; simply sing to the skeletons and then kick them, but there is no third option.
- Under The Magician's Spell:
- You can get involved in a card game, which if you lose, you have to polish rhinestones on the winner's suit, and if you win you, find out you're playing "Five Hundred Card Draw" meaning you have to win 499 more times before you proceed. Ironically this is the first time the "Card Draw" (which you have to do in real life) was used in Goosebumps - in a choice that affects nothing!
- You can get trapped in a room, but have the nagging feeling that your little sister hinted towards an exit unknowingly. If you can't figure it out, you stay in the room, meaning the Magician will return and kill all of you. If you do figure it out, you escape through a hidden trap door, but get talked into a knife throwing act, which ends badly for you.
- As before, you are trapped in a room, but a giant appears and asks you to follow him. If you refuse to do so, he will cry so hard that the entire room floods, and you all drown, but if you follow... well, it isn't actually clear what happens, but the book seems to imply you will be turned into a dummy.
- Stuck with an old lady who promises to take care of you, she offers you a glass of milk. If you accept, you become immobilized, and she plans to use your knees in her cooking. If you decline, she turns into a werewolf and attacks you.
- Zombie School:
- You have been sent to detention and brainwashed into a zombie. The teacher then sends you back to class because your punishment is to spy on other students and report them if they start to think for themselves. You overhear some kids talking about how weird the school is, and have to decide whether or not you'll try to fight the mind control. If you do, you let them escape, but it is implied your head will explode because you weren't supposed to be able to do this. If you don't, you turn them in. They are taken away to be brainwashed just like you, and the book insults you for being a snitch.
- If you go with the Book's "B" storyline (requiring you to pick from a list of classes which you have to survive), pretty much all choices turn out to be this. They will either lead to a bad ending (where you usually get killed), or earning a bunch of "Demerits" which invariably push you towards doom in the Detention Room.
- No fewer than four examples in Into the Twister of Terror:
- You discover that the twister is part of a movie being made by an Expy of Steven Spielberg. He then offers you a part in the movie. If you accept, you're killed during filming when the wind machine sucks you into a pit of sharp objects - the director ignored your screams because he thought it was part of the script. If you say no, he then casts your aunt and uncle (with whom you live) in the movie instead, and they go to Hollywood and become famous, leaving you to run their farm.
- A wind spirit is controlling the twister, and is angry that you did not give back a doll you stole from him. Your choices are to apologize, or tell him that you didn't understand his culture. Pick the former and he pretends to take you home, but drops you in mid-air and gives a fake "apology." Pick the latter, he sends you 500 years back in time and you have no way of getting back.
- You have been cornered by talking animals who want to destroy humanity, and kill you so you can't warn others. They chase you to an abandoned school. If you go into the school building, you're killed by laboratory animals inside (see No Good Deed Goes Unpunished.) If you go into the school bus, the talking animals easily break in and kill you.
- You have to decide what to do with a magical flying carpet to help you escape the twister. If you talk to the carpet, it tries to fly you to safety, but the twister flips it over and you plummet to your death. If you try to find another way, the genie of the carpet tricks you into switching places with him inside a bottle.
- Music Soothes the Savage Beast: Often employed, but things don't always go according to plan for the reader.
- One choice when faced with the tiger skeletons in Deep in the Jungle of Doom is to sing to them. This works, but the second you stop they are no longer soothed, so you have to keep singing to them forever if you want to live.
- In Trick or... Trapped you can try this trope on The Thing (and it's even called by name), and you are given a choice of instruments.
- Never Trust a Title:
- Nowhere in Escape From Horror House are you required to escape from a house — the story is based around you getting rid of poltergeists that have invaded a house.
- The titular elevator in Elevator to Nowhere is actually a dimension-hopping device.
- The title Invaders from the Big Screen implies that movie characters are going to escape from the cinema screen, and invade the real world. Aside from one scenario, it's the opposite that happens.
- There are no ghouls in Ship of Ghouls, either on the ship or elsewhere. The closest you'll get are mutant fish creatures.
- Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: In one of the books that revolves around a mad scientist taking over a cruise ship the reader is on, this comes up twice.
- Reporting the Mad Scientist who loudly and hammily announces to you that HE IS GOING TO BLOW UP THIS SHIP!! gets his head ripped off and placed on a giant turtle by the real villain, another mad scientist. He is not amused at you when you encounter him again, and would beat you up if he wasn't a giant turtle.
- If you and your friend manage to climb up an empty elevator shaft, you get up to the deck, both covered in grease. He slaps your back in a friendly "you-did-it" way. Unfortunately, you being covered in grease, you accidentally go over the railing and into the water, with no way up as the ship sails into the horizon. Oops.
- No Ending: Sometimes, your adventure won't end with a "The End" message. Sometimes, you'll just get thrown into an infinite loop that sends you flipping through the same couple of pages forever. In Escape from the Carnival of Horrors, you may find yourself traveling through a labyrinth with no end in sight until you hear a voice. You turn towards it, travel down another never ending tunnel until you hear another voice... and turn back the way you came.
- One Night in Payne House has an "ending" where you run screaming through the house after someone startles you. The book then tells you that your friend was responsible - but the story just ends there abruptly without explaining why it's the end.
- In Night in Werewolf Woods, pressing a button marked STOP literally stops the story there and you can't go on any further.
- Also in Night in Werewolf Woods", there is one "ending" where you are told by some ants (via sign language) that they mean you and your friends no harm, but there is another enemy in the woods that you haven't seen yet, but then the book ends, even though you have not yet achieved anything, and seemed like it was just starting.
- In ''Checkout Time at the Dead-End Hotel", choosing to drink clam juice will lead to the book telling you that clam juice can cause strange affects on people, such as causing the books they're reading to have missing letters. The remainder of the page begins leaving out random letters itself, and the ends saying the book is now unreadable (even though this shouldn't affect the characters themselves) .
- Trapped in the Circus of Fear requires you to choose three items from a list to use at different points in the book. If you make a wrong choice, the book will sometimes allow you to avoid a bad ending, but then send you back to the first page to start the story again with a different inventory.
- In one case, information gained from one such wrong ending is necessary to survive the final confrontation, so it's justified in this case.
- Tick Tock, You're Dead! has an ending where you choose to stay and watch a dinosaur hatch, only to find that you were watching a prehistoric chicken hatch. For some reason, this is an ending even though there's nothing to imply that the book ended at this point.
- No Good Deed Goes Unpunished: A devious example came up in Into the Twister of Terror. During one sideplot, talking animals hunt you down, because you figured out a secret that they don't want any human to know. You try to reason with them a few times to no avail, and they eventually trap you inside a abandoned school. You decide to release a bunch of small animals that were trapped behind cages and glass habitats as a sign that you're a trustworthy human. The animals' response to your messianic efforts? Use the small rodents you just liberated to attack and kill you. And ... they do.
- Non Standard Game Over: Sometimes, making an obviously poor decision or showing an exceptional lack of judgment ends the story for you then and there due to your being Too Dumb to Live. Examples include Please Don't Feed the Vampire (where refusing to ring your neighbor's doorbell leads to you being told you are too much of a wimp for the story to go on any more), Scary Birthday To You! (if you choose to talk it out reasonably with the insane entertainer holding you and your friends hostage, you cannot continue because the book says it should have been obvious that there was no way he would ever play fair with you) and One Night in Payne House (if you don't know a certain clue from a Goosebumps book, you can't continue any further as the clue is essential to surviving the story.)
- Only Known by Their Nickname:
- "Stinko" in Attack of the Beastly Babysitter. He's the reader's younger brother, but the book never reveals his real name.
- "Sharkey" Murphy in Night in Werewolf Woods is nicknamed because "getting into a fight with him is like trying to survive a shark attack", but his real name is not mentioned.
- Parental Neglect: Many examples of parents leaving you alone and/or with people they shouldn't trust to look after you (see Adults Are Useless.) The most extreme example happens in Ship of Ghouls where your parents leave you and a friend, both ostensibly 10-12 years old (the target audience of the books) alone on a cruise for two weeks, with the approval of your friend's parents.
- Parody Names: Many of these in Little Comic Shop of Horrors: Super Duper/Super Doer (Superman), Tex Loudsnore (Lex Luthor), Ballistic Bug (Spider-Man), Y's Guys (X-Men), Wolfenbean (Wolverine), and many more.
- Portal Cut: One bad ending in Little Comic Shop of Horrors involves a portal closing too soon and bisecting the reader.
- Puzzle Game: You'll see plenty of them within the series. Some puzzles even go so far as to uncover what page you need to go to next (and if you can't figure it out, you'll be directed to a Failure Is the Only Option page as a failure to figure this out).
- Random Events Plot: A frequent criticism of the series. Most of the events don't exactly make sense or converge with any kind of internal consistency, which makes many of these books feel quite arbitrary with any quest. There are exceptions, but the bulk of the novels tend to go this route.
- Weekend at Poison Lake doesn't even hide this, since the trope IS part of the book's premise.
- Into the Twister of Terror is one extreme example. The book contains several sideplots that go in many different directions with no cohesive center to tie all the madness together. Even the origin of the twister that causes all these events vary wildly between quests.
- It's Only a Nightmare! tends to randomly shift from event to event, so much so it's difficult to determine what choice will do what (even more so than normally). Kind of justified as the book takes place in a dream world most of the time.
- Rapid Aging:
- Is used as a bad ending in Return to the Carnival of Horrors, you don't die, but you become really old within seconds.
- In The Knight in Screaming Armor, you and your cousins are being aged rapidly by the Keeper of Time, but you manage to kill her by speeding up time yourself, as she is already older, so she ages and dies first (though it's pretty close, seeing as how fast you are all aging).
- The Corridor of Time, in Tick, Tock, You're Dead! seems to have the ability to do this to whoever stays there too long (your younger brother is already an old man by the time you arrive).
- Reality Warping Is Not a Toy: In The "B" Storyline of It's Only a Nightmare, you are able to control your dreams by (in a sense) "wishing" in your mind what happens next, but your dreams have an effect on you in the real world, and can even kill you (It Makes Sense in Context). To make it worse, each dream is controlled by your thoughts first, so it is possible to just randomly think of something, and have that come true even though you didn't really want it to.
- Remembered Too Late: In Under The Magician’s Spell you can be faced with choosing two different paths in strange dimension; one to safety, one to doom. You tell your friend Sid, and little sister Joanie to wait while you explore a path, and if it turns out to be the Doom Path, you'll scream before you die, and then they can take the other one. However, if you do choose the wrong path (which is by chance, by the way) your Heroic Sacrifice fails miserably, as you become so scared you forget to scream, and suddenly remember a second before you die, and realize you have caused your friend and sister's deaths.
- Ret Gone: Tick Tock, You're Dead! is based around you trying to help your brother escape from a weird time-travel experiment before he is erased from time forever.
- Ridiculously Cute Critter: Joanie in Under The Magician's Spell is seen as this by everyone except the reader, which is why she never seems to get in trouble.
- Rule of Three:
- Many of the books have two main storylines of roughly equal length and importance (though one is sometimes slightly more relevant than the other), and one third storyline which is normally shorter.
- A possible ending of One Night in Payne House is that you try to defend yourself with a baseball bat against a monster, but you miss three times and are then killed for this reason.
- Schrödinger's Gun: Many of the books have a few choices where the two pages lead to completely incompatible scenarios — such as two different endings in which a person turns into two different kinds of monster. The branching points which decide between the two plots could in some cases be considered this too.
- Shaggy Dog Story: Even when reaching the one good ending in Into the Jaws of Doom, it's debatable how good it really is. Yeah, you defeat the supercomputer, but then your friend P.D.A. — the avatar helping you for much of the adventure — "rewards" your heroic actions by turning you into your favorite action hero (an Indiana Jones Expy) and re-creating events from the movies he stars in. Fun watching it, but not so fun running for your life from a stampede, especially after dealing with a supercomputer who nearly killed you mere hours ago. The final words your character utters, "Oh no! Here we go again!", perfectly encapsulates your ironic situation.
- Shaped Like Itself: At one point in It's Only a Nightmare, you have the choice of reading either an ancient book of sleep remedies, or a Give Yourself Goosebumps book titled "Nightmares Are No Fun." If you pick the Give Yourself Goosebumps, of course it's about the same subject as the book you're reading in the real world; so you have to go to page 1 and start the story again.
- Shout-Out: Readers familiar with the original Goosebumps series (i.e., 95% of them) will see plenty of references to them sprinkled throughout this series, mostly in the form of quiz questions.
- Silver Bullet: Comes into play in All-Day Nightmare where anything silver is dangerous to a werewolf. Averted by A Night in Werewolf Woods and The Werewolf of Twisted Tree Lodge, which don't use this trope (and in the latter book, there are silver items at the titular lodge, but the werewolves aren't affected by this.)
- Spiritual Successor: R.L. Stine previously wrote a CYOA series called Hark. The trademark randomness of the Give Yourself Goosebumps novels was also present on Hark; perhaps even more so. The closest GYG came to reflecting Hark's game design was Into the Jaws of Doom.
- Spot the Imposter: Happens twice in Secret Agent Grandma, first you have to decide which of the two grandmas is the real one to determine which storyline you will take part in, and later in one of them you have to deal with the more traditional version of the trope with both grandmas warning you that the other is fake, and having to choose.
- Taken for Granite: Used several times as an ending in the books. In The Curse of the Creeping Coffin you are turned into a statue and ghosts 'tease you and pinch your stone nose' until the end of time. In Shop Till You Drop... Dead! two endings turn you into a mannequin and a cardboard cutout.
- This Loser Is You:
- In Welcome to the Wicked Wax Museum, choosing to not go down a corridor gives you a happy ending, but at the cost of the author Breaking the Fourth Wall to insult your cowardice. For several paragraphs. Of course, this being an R.L. Stine book, going down the corridor gets you decapitated.
- Several books will allow you to make a "safe" choice, but the book will mock you for being too chicken to take any risks, and usually punish you in-story. For example, if in Into the Twister of Terror you choose to go into the storm cellar during a hurricane rather than search for your dog, you get out safely but are told what a wimp you are and that as a result, you didn't get to have any adventures. In Welcome to the Wicked Wax Museum, if you don't follow your friends into a car (the three of you had broken away from the group during a school trip), the book again insults you, and then your teacher catches you and calls your parents.
- You may also be scolded by the book if you don't complete a puzzle successfully (such as Night of a Thousand Claws; you have to make a list of words from the phrase "Spiral staircase", and if you don't get enough, the book insults you for your laziness in getting such a simple task wrong) or if you deliberately cheat in a scavenger hunt/inventory (Into the Jaws of Doom, One Night in Payne House).
- Please Don't Feed the Vampire! has an ending where, if you refuse to ring a neighbor's doorbell and ask your friend to do it, you are told the story has ended because you are simply too much of a wimp for it to go on any further.
- Time Police: In the book Danger Time.
- Time Travel:
- Done in Tick Tock, You're Dead! and Danger Time.
- One ending in Revenge of the Body Squeezers has a spaceship accidentally transporting you to the 1960s.
- Annoying a wind deity in Into the Twister of Terror gets you sent back hundreds of years in time.
- Too Dumb to Live: Pretty much all of the books have at least one ending like this.
- In the one good ending of One Night in Payne House, you and your friend Trevor managed to escape Payne House, but both of you would've died without the help of two trick-or-treating teens helping you out of the house when you two were dangling from a white sheet. When both of you try to convince them that you survived the worst ordeal, and were bummed out that they didn't believe you, you two dare each other to go back in and get some proof so people will believe you, despite nearly dying that night in so many ways.
- A particularly bad example happens in Welcome to the Wicked Wax Museum where, in a wax museum that you know is full of living wax figures, you stand in front of a statue of a serial killer while bragging that no one would ever murder a nice kid like you ...
- Too Many Halves: One bad ending in The Deadly Experiments of Dr. Eeek has Dr. Eeek discovering the reader after they try to hide under the poorly covered operating table. The deranged doctor then turns the reader into part kid, part dog, and part basketball.
- Video Game Cruelty Punishment:
- An equivalent. Sometimes the book will let you do something immoral, but you are almost always punished with a bad ending. These range from humiliating or self-defeating (in Diary of a Mad Mummy, if you try to leave your six-year-old sister to be killed by the mummy, he calls you out on it and then takes her to safety and makes her rich and famous) to fatal (in Hocus-Pocus Horror, if you try to abandon the dog you were supposed to rescue and save your own skin, the dog will attack and kill you.)
- Averted in Night in Werewolf Woods when Sharkey and his brothers are being cornered by werewolves, as choosing to save them leads to a bad ending.
- Viewers Are Goldfish:
- Zapped in Space uses this against you in the Abominable Snow Woman storyline. In one part of the book, the right clue to advance in the game was given away with the game's poster when you entered the arcade way back in page 3 or 4. There was a minor description of the lights' colors near the game's poster that was irrelevant at the time, but was a major clue for later. This effect is magnified if you do the Abominable Snow Woman storyline second. Unless you have a sharp memory or cheated to see the answer, you'll have to guess the right colors for the lights. Guess wrong, and you'll be led in the wrong direction.
- Ships of Ghouls during the stranded-at-sea plot mentioned a miniature a magnet that you used to create a substitute compass to find your way back home. By this point, most readers forgot about the part when you grabbed the magnet, so the book referenced the page where you picked it up.
- The Walls Are Closing In: Happens to you in One Night In Payne House when you encounter the Pink Room and need to have brought the right item to free yourself.
- We Want Our Jerk Back: Tick, Tock, You're Dead! is an example of this trope. The jerk is "your" brother.
- With Friends Like These...: Sometimes, your friends don't make you feel appreciated in a bad situation.
- In Scary Birthday To You!, if you volunteer to stay at your house so everyone else can do the scavenger hunt, they leave you behind with Dr. Death with no intentions of coming back.
- In Ship of Ghouls, when everyone's evacuating the bombed yacht, if you (somewhat foolishly) decide to swim hundreds of yards away to reach your best friend instead of getting into a lifeboat that's much closer, he tells you to go away, because your added weight on the plank he's hanging onto would make both of you sink. Kind of justified in hindsight, though his choice to reject you causes you to drown.
- Deep in the Jungle of Doom has an ending where your friend taunts you about being to scared to go into a cave before her, and when you do you hear her voice acting like she's feeding someone, and then the cave closes, because it's not a cave — it's a monster's mouth.
- Also, the majority of books have at least one bad ending which is caused by your "friend" even if it means ignoring continuity for it to work.
- Your mom can (accidentally) kill you in Please Don't Feed the Vampire! when she pulls up the blinds in your room.
- In One Night in Payne House, you can die when your friend lures you into falling to your death. He had been killed earlier in the story and you didn't realize that he was a ghost, so now he doesn't want to haunt the house alone.
- Sometimes, you are the dreadful friend, which may lead to a bad ending if other characters get sick of you. One example is Scary Birthday To You! where your friend is trapped in a ballroom with dancing ghosts because he wanted to learn the waltz from them. You decide that anyone who would actually want to learn the waltz is too boring to be worth saving; and escape on your own, leaving him to die.
- Wrong Genre Savvy:
- Revenge of the Body Squeezers uses this trope as Snark Bait with the squeeze bomb scenario. You and a friend suspect the bomb is planted in a Rose Bowl float during New Year's Day. The two possible choices was a "Man on the Moon" float and a "Giant Clock" float. Regardless of the choice you make, neither float contains the bomb. However, in the story narrative, you insistently express that the former float has the bomb; with the logic that because aliens planted the bomb, the correct float has to be the one referencing outer space. If you act on that impulse, story "you" gloats about how your solid instincts won't betray you. Nope.
With the "Giant Clock" choice, it's a subversion. Your friend thinks the aliens would plant a bomb on the float displaying how much time the bomb has to go off, but she only said that to throw you off track, because she's working for the aliens. However, the book rewards your open mindedness for the "Giant Clock" float, since you later notice another float passing by, which has black gumballs that resemble squeeze bomb victims. That clue guides you to the bomb's real location.
- In Scream of the Evil Genie, you are stranded on an island when a parrot appears and you then have the choice of whether or not to follow it. If you figure that a parrot has to be bad news, the book complains about your ingratitude and says that if you've read the series before, you should have known the parrot was trying to help you. You're allowed to continue only if you say this is your first Give Yourself Goosebumps book.
- You Bastard: The author does a good job making you feel moronic for making some questionable choices. Sometimes, the book will give you another chance for making a sloppy decision, but others will automatically end the book there. Also done for readers who blatantly cheat, like bring more items than they should have (One Night in Payne House and Zapped in Space) or don't attempt to solve the otherwise simple mazes the way they were meant to, and instead only pick and choose the possible page number. Get it wrong, and something bad happens.
- Your Head Asplode: One of the bad endings in Escape from Horror House.
- Zombie Apocalypse: A possible ending from Escape from Camp Run-for-Your-Life. Averted by Zombie School (since the "zombies" referenced in the title are living people who have just been brainwashed.)