In the 1990s, R.L. Stine had an idea, "Why not write scary books for children?"It was through this simple idea that one of the most successful and controversial pre-Harry Potter-era book series began.The original Goosebumps series lasted for all of 62 books, including such famous titles as The Haunted Mask, Welcome to Camp Nightmare, the Night of the Living Dummy series, and the Monster Blood series note the last of which was the final book in the original series. It was The Twilight Zone for preadolescents, with a twist at the end of every book. Stine cites the horror comics published by EC Comics as a source of inspiration.If there wasn't such a thing as Harry Potter, then this would be the high water mark of scary, post-Roald Dahl children's writing. Growing up as a child in the '90s, these books were a must-have (along with Animorphs, The Babysitters Club, and the Sweet Valley High series and all its spin-offs and prequels).In the later editions of the series, it became somewhat infamous for the "You Can't Judge a Book By Its Cover", idiom. Deep Trouble, for instance, had a picture of a giant shark going after a boy swimming in the ocean, when really the story was about a boy finding a mermaid who was being targeted by scientists who wanted to experiment on rare sea life. Egg Monsters from Mars featured the monsters as horrible threats on the cover, but the egg monsters are actually a benevolent force captured by (you guessed it) a Mad Scientist.Later incarnations of the series included the rather more obscure Goosebumps 2000 (a Darker and EdgierGoosebumps series that ran for 25 books), and Choose Your Own Adventure series Give Yourself Goosebumps. It's currently being revived in a twelve-book crossover, Goosebumps HorrorLand... which has itself been given a seven sixteen-book extension, as well as the PC game Escape From Horrorland. There was also a PC game called Attack Of The Mutant, but with a different plot than the television episode or book with the same name.The television series is currently in repeats on The Hub. The show first aired on FOX and then reran for two years on Cartoon Network (usually around Halloween time, but it lasted a bit longer in 2007 due to the Writers' Guild going on strike and producers scrambling for filler programming until the strike ended), and an unsuccessful stage show that closed after only a few months.
This series provides (usually multiple) examples of:
The Ace / Always Someone Better / The Rival: Wilson in How I Learned To Fly. In fact, a lot of the Goosebumps stories usually have the antagonist as someone who is better than the protagonist at almost everything (cf. Judith in "Be Careful What You Wish For" and Courtney in "You Can't Scare Me!")
Abusive Parents: Mostly avoided, but played horribly straight in Chicken Chicken, where Crystal and Cole's parents do absolutely nothing for their kids' conditions and outright mock them. There is a very good reason this is Troy Steele's most hated book in the series.
In "Monster Blood IV", Andy thinks the blue Monster Blood creature is cute and pets it. The creature ends up multiplying when it drinks water and soon the town is overrun with blue Monster Blood creature.
Subverted in "The Werewolf of Fever Swamp." Grady adopts are stray dog and names it Wolf. After some strange howls and disasters in the swamp, he wonders if Wolf is a werewolf. He isn't.
Adam Westing: Adam West as the Galloping Gazelle in the TV episode and video game of Attack of the Mutant.
Adaptation Distillation: The Haunted House Game was originally a short story about four kids playing a reality warping board game called Haunted House. The TV episode is more like a low-budget version of Jumanji (only without the jungle aesthetic) and have to play their way to get out. The four kids in the short story turn out to be Dead All Along, while the two kids in the TV episode manage to escape the game, only for two other kids to be tricked into finding the game.
The Haunted Mask II is another example. The book was simply about Steve, one of the kids Carly Beth scared in the first book, finding an old man mask that gradually began turning him into an old man. The TV episode is the same thing, only there's an added subplot about the mask Carly Beth wore in the first book returning from the dead to take revenge on her.
Adaptation Expansion: The TV series, in certain cases (mostly due to the source story being too thin). One notable example is "The Perfect School," a ten-page short story expanded into a two-part TV episode.
Adult Fear: The Horror at Camp Jellyjam. Imagine being a parent who has sent their kid to a seemingly legit, if not oddly named, sports camp (though Wendy and Elliott — the main characters — actually crash-landed at the camp because the trailer attached to their car fell off and their parents didn't realize until later). Then you've lost contact with the camp. Then you learn that your children have been exploited for slave labor at the behest of a gigantic purple monstrosity that ate any kid that stopped working!
I Live in your Basement definitely plays on people's fears of madness and obsession.
How I Learned To Fly teaches us that fear isn't found in monsters, ghosts, vampires, aliens, or legendary creatures: it's often found in greedy people and being a celebrity.
"An Old Story" from Still More Stories to Give You Goosebumps presents readers with the premise of an elderly witch disguised as a loving, yet eccentric aunt who physically ages her two young nephews to sell them to her equally elderly female friends for marriage.
The Night of the Living Dummy series. As several people, along with the blogger himself, pointed out on the snarky Goosebumps blog, the Night of the Living Dummy series may be creepy as a child, but as an adult, a completely different layer of creepy reveals itself. The living dummy in question is obsessed with making preteen girls (and it's always girls, never boys in these books) into his slaves. When they refuse, he punches and slaps them - a rare act of physical violence for this series - and knocks one girl unconscious. In Bride of the Living Dummy, he goes further, demanding a 12 year old girl as his bride (instead of the female dummy), and calling his violence against her a "love tap". From adult eyes, it takes on a whole new meaning that flew over our heads when we were kids, with some really disturbing subtext...
In the TV adaptation of Night of the Living Dummy III, it is shown that Slappy has demonically possessed or at least is using his powers on a young pre-teen boy. The effect is no less creepy than it was with the girls.
Adults Are Useless: Either that, or in on the conspiracy (as seen in such stories as "My Hairiest Adventure," "Welcome to Camp Nightmare," and "The Horror at Camp Jellyjam").
Zigzagged in the TV ending to Awesome Ants. The protagonist's experience turns suspiciously nightmarish as the town is suddenly abandoned, there is a storm outside, and the ants are growing to ever-bigger proportions. Just before he gets killed by one, he wakes up at home and all seems fine. Then he gradually remembers the reality of the situation: in the real world ants are actually mountain-sized, and keep humans secluded in the human equivalent of ant farms and force them to survive on small pellets of blue food. In the book the ants just grew that big rather than always having been so.
There's also I Live In Your Basement!. The ending reveals that the character who had been dreaming ever since he was hit in the head with a bat was actually Keith the monster boy, not Marco. Keith dreamed that he was Marco.
Alpha Bitch: Courtney in You Can't Scare Me! and Judith in Be Careful What You Wish For.
Alien Blood: Dr. Brewer's plant clone from Stay Out Of The Basement, which leads to his downfall.
In The Werewolf of Fever Swamp, the werewolf bites the hero, passing the curse onto him.
Calling All Creeps. Some reptilian monsters that can turn into human form come to think that the protagonist, a boy bullied by most of his school, is one of them. They have plotted how to transform everyone in school, and then on town, country and world, in Creeps like them and the hero is trying to stop them from feeding everyone the transforming goo. In the last moment, when he is mocked one more time while trying to stop everyone from eating goo-filled muffins, he is told that he will be the ruler of all Creeps and no longer a target for bullies. The protagonist does a quick Face Heel Turn, treats everyone to eat the muffins, and eats one himself, becoming the real Creep leader.
Animorphism: The Barking Ghost,Chicken Chicken, and the Goosebumps 2000 books Cry of the Cat and Full Moon Fever base entire plots around this. Other books deal with it in passing (Don't Go to Sleep, for example).
Asshole Victim: Many, not just limited to the protagonists. Examples include the three kids in The House of No Return, Steve Boswell in The Haunted Mask 2, Alexander in Deep Trouble, Todd in Go Eat Worms, and Brandon from Headless Halloween. And in the TV adaptations, there's Mr. Mc Call from Revenge Of The Lawn Gnomes, Ritter from Deep Trouble Judith in Be Careful What You Wish For, and Mr. Wright from A Shocker On Shock Street.''
The preying mantis from A Shocker on Shock Street.
The ants become this in Awesome Ants.
Bigger Bad: The TV series implies that it's actually R.L. Stine himself who's behind everything in all the stories (in a meta sense he is, of course) and the ultimate evil of the series, even though he doesn't appear in any of them. In the intro, a man in black walks up to a town, and his briefcase (clearly marked with his name) flies open. The papers fly out and morph into the Goosebumps logo, which proceeds to spread misery around the town until it reaches a creepy mansion, which then shows clips of some of the stories.
The Blank: Broken Dolls features a creepy old woman who crafts dolls, but doesn't include facial features on her creations. It is later revealed that she uses a type of magical gel (referred to as "dolly jelly" by the protagonist's younger brother) which not only robs the unfortunate victims of their faces, which then end up on the specific doll, but their souls apparently become trapped in the dolls, too.
Body Horror: Why I'm Afraid of Bees, Attack of the Mutant, Egg Monsters from Mars, Chicken, Chicken, and My Hairiest Adventure all feature this in varying degrees of horror.
Breakout Character: Slappy was a minor character in the first Night of the Living Dummy book (a different dummy was the villain), but in the sequels was brought back as the primary villain. Slappy was even the main character of a book of his own.
Broke Your Arm Punching Out Cthulhu / Too Spicy for Yog Sothoth: How To Kill A Monster ends with the heroes captured by the monster, even after their attempts at killing it by making it fall through the stairs and poisoning it. Said monster is allergic to humans, and keels over dead after merely licking one. Unfortunately, the monster's friends are pissed off after this and may or may not be allergic to humans.
Butt Monkey: Many Goosebumps protagonists have lives miserable enough to qualify them as this. Special mentions go to Gary from Why I'm Afraid of Bees, Ricky from Calling All Creeps!, Crystal and Cole Chicken Chicken, and Evan from the Monster Blood series.
Calling the Old Man Out: Scream School is one of the few books, if not the only one, where a protagonist finally gets to call their parent out on being a useless jackass. Jake Banyon stages an elaborate prank to scare his father, horror movie director Emory Banyon, witless, after Banyon has spent every day scaring Jake and recently ruined Jake's birthday with a needlessly elaborate prank. And for added measure, Jake set up another prank while setting up the first one.
Calvinball: "Beast From the East" features a very warped version of "Hide and Seek" in which the rules are either made up as they go along, or so incredibly stupid that it just seems that way.
Canon Discontinuity: The Horrorland series continues the stories of Carly Beth, the Haunted Mask, and the Deep Siblings, but the events of the sequels are never mentioned, and the characters are the same age as they were in the originals.
The evil camera from Say Cheese and Die! only returns, and not Greg or Shari. In fact, the camera's backstory is rewritten so that it was originally created specifically for a movie called "Say Cheese and Die Screaming" that was scrapped because of unexplained accidents that kept occurring on set.
Monster Blood is the only exception to this since it focuses on the substance and not Evan.
Catapult Nightmare: In both the book and TV episode of "Attack of the Jack-O-Lanterns", Drew wakes up from a nightmare where her friends and herself are taken prisoner by a crazy old man and woman who "collect" trick-or-treaters with what they consider good costumes and lock them up in their attic.
Content Warnings: The Fox Kids run coincided with the rise of the American TV rating system, so many episodes started with a warning that "Goosebumps is rated TV-Y7, because it may be too spooky for kids under seven." Originally, it had their own rating called "GB-7," but when the FCC imposed the content ratings on all TV shows (except for news shows and sports), they had to conform to that.
Cool Teacher: The only time this trope has ever been played straight, wherein the teacher is not an idiot, a loser, or evil, is in Headless Halloween. Mr. Benson, the science teacher, is regarded as cool by most of his students, save for Brandon, the Jerkass protagonist who is always being lectured and punished by Benson for how cruel he acts towards his cousin and other students.
As mentioned above, this could be a big problem, particularly for the revived HorrorLand series.
"How I Learned to Fly" (book number 52 in the original series) also applies. The back cover blurb summary heavily implies that the magic mixture the protagonist, Jack, uses to make himself fly was cursed or had some sort of supernatural consequence, but the problems he really faces are more based in reality.
Deep Trouble shows a threatening shark on the cover which would suggest a Jaws-inspired story, but has a story about friendly mermaids instead.
To be fair, here is a scene like that, but it doesn't figure into the mermaid story (and it happens at the end).
Sometimes, people anticipating that the cover is fake works in the books favor. In the TV version of Attack of the Jack-O'-Lanterns, the main bad guys aren't the beings with the Pumpkin heads on the cover... which is expected. However, the aliens who save the kids from the monsters were the Pumpkin-headed beings.
Creepy Basement: Stay Out Of The Basement, Vampire Breath, I Live In Your Basement.
Creepy Cockroach: In Headless Halloween, Brandon is forced to bob for apples in a tub filled with cockroaches, and isn't allowed to stop playing unless he catches one with his teeth.
Crisis Crossover: The new HorrorLand books, which are bringing together classic Goosebumps villains (and the odd protagonist) into a single storyline for the first time (the stage show doesn't count).
Awesome Ants: Ants rule the earth, not humans, and the size difference between the two is inverted.
How To Kill A Monster: The kids have killed the monster by sheer luck, and flee the house. After a few hours' travel they're all alone in the middle of the swamp at nightfall, and it turns out that there are hundreds more monsters resting there, and these ones aren't allergic to human flesh.
Werewolf Skin: The hero's (platonic) girlfriend is also a werewolf.
Ghost Beach: The kids' uncle and aunt are ghosts too.
A Night In Terror Tower: The high executioner has obtained one of the magic stones, and followed the protagonists back into the future again. (Though this is only in the TV episode, the book has a happy ending)
Attack Of The Jack-O'-Lanters: The protagonists' two friends are man-eating aliens, responsible for the recent dissapearances, and leave Earth in their spaceship until they’ll come back next year to feast again. They even warn the kids that they might well devour them next time if they don't keep off the candy enough.
My Best Friend is Invisible: The invisible boy was a scared human child that his parents tried to save by making him invisible, and all the "humans" seen so far are actually a species of world-conquering aliens who have take over the Earth and exterminated all the humans.
Stay Out Of The Basement: Many more plants have become sentient, and/or the girl's father really isn't her actual father either.
The Perfect School: The protagonist’s friend was a mole, and he'll be replaced with a clone/robot, and locked up forever. In the book, he manages to escape, but is forced to pretend to be a robot for the rest of his life or at least until he's old enough to leave his parents.
Legend of the Lost Legend: Everyone's lost in a mystical forest until the end of time.
Welcome to Camp Nightmare: The protagonist is revealed to be a Human AlienChild Soldier who just passed his test, and received the mission of infiltrating a planet called... Earth. Though, he is quite good natured and kind, and his home planet isn't much different from this earth.
Double Dip Horror: The protagonist has just left her identical twin sister alone on a ski slope with a ghost that murders identical twins.
In Don't Make Me Laugh! the two bullies learn why the aliens have forgotten to laugh: it hurts. The two are promptly ordered to be disintegrated.
In the book of Be Careful What You Wish For, the protagonist who got rid of the clumsy genie is screwed by her anyway as the new master, the Alpha Bitch, ordering her to "fly away" ends turning her into a crow. The episode is a laser-guidedKarmic Twist Ending instead, as the new master asks to be admired by everyone and becomes a statue.
Cryptid Episode: The Abominable Snowman of Pasadena, which is about a yeti, and Deep Trouble, which is about mermaids.
Cloning Blues: In Stay out Of the Basement, this motivates Doctor Brewer's clone to turn against his creator.
A Wicked Witch in "Chicken Chicken" transformed kids into literal chickens because they knocked over her groceries in the street and then ran away without apologizing. (One kid who stammered out an apology for running off was apparently forgiven.)
"Full Moon Fever" provides an equally extreme example. The protagonists are turned into wolf-like monsters by Mrs. Eakins, their grouchy neighbor. Their crime? Kicking a soccer ball through her living room window.
Mr. Grimsley in The Chalk Closet sends failing/misbehaving students into a room where they'll spend the rest of eternity listening to the screech of chalk on a board, even after they've died.
Exact Words: In Santa's Helpers, a pair of older siblings enjoy telling their little sister she isn't related to them because she doesn't resemble them or their parents. When the siblings are mistaken for a pair of Santa's elves (they're short, have red hair, and were wearing red-and-green clothes that could easily let someone mistake them for elves) and taken to the North Pole, they try to get their sister to vouch for them. And she says "but you always told me I wasn't really your sister. You always said I wasn't related to you at all." The siblings are dragged away as their sister asks for them to make sure Santa doesn't forget her.
Extruded Book Product: After a while, the series turned into this; according to rumor, to keep up with the demand for more and more new Goosebumps books, R.L. Stine started working with ghostwriters to keep the new releases coming. Considering that a new title was published monthly and that Stine pumped out several other book series as well, this was almost inevitable.
In a few of the sequels this was especially obvious (particularly Return of the Mummy), since it was apparent that all the writer knew about the first one was the blurb on the back.
Fate Worse Than Death: Often the implication (overt or covert) of the Twist Ending. Examples include Let's Get Invisible, The Barking Ghost, Bad Hare Day, Ghost Camp, The Haunted School, The Cuckoo Clock of Doom.
Face Death with Dignity: Billy in the comic adaptation of Deep Trouble when he's thrown overboard to drown. Rather than scream and cry, he simply bows his head and sighs, acknowledging the situation's futility.
Face Heel Turn: In Calling All Creeps, the whole story ends on this note. After seeing how futile opposing the Creeps is, and wanting revenge against his bullying classmates, the boy who was trying to stop the Creeps decides in the end to become a Creep himself, because he would be their leader.
Fluffy the Terrible: One book revolves around aliens that hug people. Harmless, right? Except that this is how they reproduce... oh, and they grow sharp claws to stab into the backs of their victims, and they're hell-bent on murder and world domination.
Andy from the Monster Blood series (her real name is Andrea)
Dana, the male protagonist of "Egg Monsters from Mars" (though that was probably done as a censorship measure, given the ending of that book. It...was still Squicky no matter how you slice it).
The female Drew from Attack of the Jack-O-Lanterns
Revenge R Us's female protagonist, Wade.
Genre Anthology: The "Tales to Give You Goosebumps" short-story books, the "Triple Header" novellas, and the Goosebumps TV show.
Genre Savvy and No Fourth Wall: In one of the Give Yourself Goosebumps books, 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.
Halloween Episode: All The Haunted Mask books, Attack of the Jack-O'-Lanterns, Headless Halloween, Full Moon Fever, Weirdo Halloween, The Five Masks of Dr. Screem, The Halloween Game, The Headless Ghost, and Werewolf Skin.
Hand Waved: Frequent, usually because having pre-adolescent heroes means often ignoring basic common sense provisions so that they can get into the required dangerous situations. Great example being Why I'm Afraid of Bees; you'd think an 11 year old kid would need parental consent to be the subject of a strange medical experiment like that. Also why there's apparently no money involved.
I Am Not Weasel: The blue variant of Monster Blood in Monster Blood IV actually turns out to be a genetics experiment Gone Horribly Wrong which the creator dumped inside an empty Monster Blood can when he couldn't find a proper container.
A Shocker On Shock Street: The TV ending at least; the book ends on a Cruel Twist Ending, as the two protagonists find out they're robots and are deactivated by the girl's "father" to be reprogrammed. In the TV episode, the two wake up again and decide to kill their creator after putting them through so much torment and trying to replace them with new versions.
Click: The protagonist has abused the universal remote to suit his own ends. When he's confronted about this he tries to use the device against the accuser but it doesn’t work properly, so he presses the "off" button in frustration, and the entire world vanishes as he finds himself in a black void. Then the battery runs out.
Killed Off for Real: A rare example in The Horror At Camp Jellyjam, where the protagonist is told that three unnamed campers were eaten by the camp's disgusting mascot.
The Girl who Cried Monster:Lucy's parents, who are revealed as monsters, gruesomely devour the villain, much to their children's delight.
''Egg Monsters From Mars:The titular aliens tackle and smother their evil captor, partially to help their human friend, and also to protect the offspring he's carrying.
''Deep Trouble:A gang of thugs kidnap a mermaid to sell for profit. Similar to the above example, the supposedly cute and harmless mermaids show a darker side when they assault the crooks' boat. These guys are never seen or mentioned again.
''Shocker On Shock Street:The TV adaptation ends with the protagonists, revealed as robots, preparing to exact brutal revenge on their "father" for trying to discard them.
Latex Perfection: The Haunted Mask series. Though as it turns out, the masks aren't made of latex...
Mad Scientist: Almost too many to count; "Stay Out of the Basement," "Monster Blood III," "My Hairiest Adventure," "My Best Friend is Invisible," and "A Shocker on Shock Street" etc.
Often the mad scientist (or some sort of researcher who, if not specifically "Mad", is at least a Jerk Ass) will prove to the real villain of the story instead of the comparably harmless "monster". See: Curse of the Mummy's Tomb, How I Got My Shrunken Head, Deep Trouble, Egg Monsters from Mars.
Magical Camera: Say Cheese and Die and its sequels are about a camera which causes tragedy to befall any person photographed with it.
The Haunted School has a camera that acts as a portal to another dimension.
Magic Mirror: Let's Get Invisible, The Ghost In The Mirror, and Mirror Mirror On The Wall. Goosebumps Horrorland made it a plot point that mirrors could be used as a gateway from Horrorland to Panic Park.
Mama Bear/Papa Wolf: After Lucy's parents actually know that Mr. Mortman is a monster who's trying to eat their daughter, their solution to the problem is...extreme.
Actually this was less about him trying to eat Lucy, what he might not have done if he had known she's a monster too, but about too many monsters at one place endangering The Masquerade
Mandatory Twist Ending: Author R. L. Stine did this to the point where the twist endings became played out after a while. Stine once said in an interview that he'd always write the ending first and then go back and think of twists later.
The most infamous one is My Hairiest Adventure, which ends with the revelation that most of the kids were actually dogs, who were transformed into humans by some company so that their employees could have children.
Welcome To Camp Nightmare, which takes place on an alien planet, mentioned in the last sentence.
Vampire Breath, in which Cara and Freddy find a bottle of "Werewolf Sweat".
My Best Friend is Invisible, in which every character except Brent is a multi-headed creature with more than two eyes and suction cups on their head.
No Historical Figures Were Harmed: In A Night in Terror Tower, Prince Edward and Princess Susannah of York are blatantly based on Edward V of England and Richard of Shrewsbury, first Duke of York— right down to being imprisoned in a tower by their Evil Uncle.
Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: In one of the Give Yourself Goosebumps 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.
Parents as People: In Scream School film director and self-proclaimed "King of Horror" Emory Banyon insists on being more than just a parent with his son Jake and insists that they are also buddies. Which is what entitles Emory to act like an asshole and scare Jake every day, including ruining his birthday (although he does feel a little bad with how that one prank turned out). Jake gets his revenge in the end.
Platonic Life Partners: The series features a many storylines where the main characters are a boy and girl who are best friends who are inseparable but have absolutely no romantic interest in each other. A few of them even use She's Not My Girlfriend and mean it. As most of the characters are children who aren't thinking about romance in the first place, this is justified.
Plant Person: Dr. Brewer's sinister hybrid clone in Stay out of the Basement.
Red Herring: A frequent occurrence as often the books' twist endings rendered what the characters had believed most of the time to be the cause of the strange events to be completely irrelevant. The best example is probably "My Hairiest Adventure" when for most of the book, Larry believes that the fur growing on his hands and body is from expired tanning lotion and could be behind the disappearances of his friends and why there are a lot of dogs in the neighborhood. Turns out the expired tanning lotion had nothing to do with it, and the fur, disappearing friends, and influx of dogs was from a local doctor's dog-to-human serum wearing off.
Ret Gone: In The Cuckoo Clock of Doom, when Mike accidentally erases his bratty little sister from the universe. He keeps reminding himself he'll go back to get her. Someday. Maybe.
Rewriting Reality: The magic typewriter in The Blob That Ate Everyone allows Zach to do this, until it's revealed that Zach is a Reality Warper after being shocked by the typewriter.
Ridiculously Human Robots: the ending of A Shocker On Shock Street, though it did explain why Erin's dad freaked out when Erin mentioned her mom.
Also, Piano Lessons Can Be Murderand the scam run by the school in The Perfect School to "fix" problem children.
Sanity Slippage: Most of the kids from the original class of Bell Valley Middle School went completely insane ever since they were trapped in Greyworld in The Haunted School. Also, this is the case regarding Erin and Marty in A Shocker on Shock Street as their programming gradually became unstable.
Show Within a Show: A Shocker on Shock Street and Fright Camp focusing on kids who are fans of an extensive film series and a veteran horror director respectively, and elements from both types of films feature deeply into the book's plot.
Tune in Tomorrow and The Halloween Game end with the reveals that the former is about a girl watching a TV show called "Life with Elizabeth" and the latter is the prototype for a Halloween-themed video game.
How I Learned to Fly: despite implications that the flying formula had supernatural powers from the back cover blurb, the story is scary in a real-world sense, showing that talent is often exploited by the greedy and how celebrities are "trapped" because of constant media attention and obsessed fans, and the government wanting to know the secrets of Applied Phlebotinum.
Deep Trouble is another example. Most books before it dealt with clumsy, generic kids stumbling into adventures with gross monsters. The protagonist here is a dangerously overconfident kid who seeks out adventure and discovers a mermaid on a trip to the caribbean. The real conflict comes from him debating whether to go along with his uncle's plans to sell her to a zoo, or do the right thing and return her home. Also, the villains, rather than being monsters or mad scientists, are greedy thieves looking to exploit the mermaid for their own intentions.
The Series 2000 books "Are You Terrified Yet?" and "Scream School" have no supernatural events at all (and the monsters are revealed to be people in elaborate costumes playing a prank on someone), and takes place in the "real" world.
Spared by the Adaptation: Spidey gets killed by the camera in the book. While in the TV episode, he becomes trapped in the camera and eventually released, but strangely doesn't appear in the TV episode of "Say Chese and Die - Again!" (except in flashback).
Spiritual Successor: The series has had direct sequels, sequels that share only the same villain, and sequels that have merely the same kind of villain. The latter are arguably spiritual sequels, and include Return to Ghost Camp (has nothing in common with Ghost Camp), and Who's Your Mummy?
When cornered by the eponymous monster in How To Kill A Monster, the younger brother tries to fend it off by sticking his hand in its mouth. Luckily for him the monster's allergic to humans and promptly dies, otherwise the boy would have been lunch.
Luke in Return to Horrorland, who seems to have forgotten that Horrors tried to murder his family and friend the last time they were there, and is quite eager to try out new rides knowing full well there's a good chance they're actually lethal.
To be fair none of the rides in the original were actually dangerous, they were just very creepy. The dangerous part was that the family was chosen for the Horrors' game show
To Serve Man: The ending of Attack of the Jack-O'-Lanterns where Drew's friends Shane and Shana are revealed to be the aliens who ate the four fat adults who were missing according to a local news story.
What Could Have Been: Goosebumps Gold was a series planned after 2000, with three titles, The Haunted Mask Lives!, Happy Holidays From Dead House, and Slappy New Year, established. Cover artwork for the first two can be found on Tim Jacobus's website, and certain websites stock some of the books for sale. The plot for The Haunted Mask Lives! would've been about Carly Beth being targeted by the novelty shop owner who initially made the masks. Slappy New Year was included in the Horrorland series.
Also, Goosebumps 2000 was supposed to have a book called "The Incredible Shrinking Fifth Grader," but the series ended before it could be published. "The Incredible Shrinking Fifth Grader" was also supposed to be part of the aborted Goosebumps Gold series, but eventually found its way to the Goosebumps Horrorland series under the name "Night of the Giant Everything."
Worthy Opponent: The Masked Mutant considers Skipper this, because he knows everything about him and no other superheroes were able to defeat him.
Zerg Rush: This is how Slappy gets defeated in Night of the Living Dummy III, when the spell used to bring him to life brings to life all the dummies owned by Trina's dad, who promptly rush after Slappy and kill him.