Literature / Graveyard School
is a 28 book series of children's horror novels written by Tom B. Stone
One of many kids horror series published in wake of the growing popularity of the Goosebumps
books, the Graveyard School
series actually subverted some of the more common elements found in Goosebumps
The series takes place in the small town of Grove Hill, where sixth graders deal with daily horrors out of Grove Hill Elementary School, not-so-affectionately dubbed Graveyard School due to the abandoned graveyard located right behind the school. Only the kids seem aware of the nightmarish effects the graveyard and the school seems to have on the town, while their parents and older siblings are either blissfully unaware or in denial.
The school's staff includes the intimidating Dr. Morthouse, school principal and purported to have a silver fang in her mouth which the students can only catch glimpses of. There is also the overly saccharine Vice Principal Mr. Hannibal Lucre, the perpetually growling secretary Mr. Kinderbane, and the mysterious and elusive custodian Mr. Bartholomew, a.k.a. Basement Bart, alongside a rotating cast of teachers, some weird, some normal, and some evil.
Unlike the Goosebumps
books, the series focuses on one main cast of characters starting from Don't Eat The Mystery Meat!
and does include transfer students moving to Grove Hill as the school year progresses. Likewise, these characters fluctuate from main to supporting to background character from book to book, and there is no specific star of the series. A definitive trait shared by these kids is that, while they may have some annoying younger or older siblings and may deal with bullies from time to time, none of them reach the levels of Straw Loser
and Butt Monkey
as the protagonists of the Goosebumps
A definitive answer is never given to what the actual cause of the Graveyard School hauntings are, nor is there a given background on the school principal and whether she is the cause of the horror or a by-product of it.
This series contains examples of:
- Adult Fear:
- Jaws' kidnapping and all its pedophilic overtones in Don't Eat The Mystery Meat!
- Appears in The Fright Before Christmas. Christopher Hampton is shown a vision of his parents discussing their worries over his miserly tendencies and dislike of Christmas. While they do agree with his views on how grossly commercialized the holiday season has become, they voice concern that his unhappiness is far deeper rooted beyond hating Christmas and are more focused on trying to figure out why he is so unhappy and how they can help him.
- Adults Are Useless: Would it be a kid's horror series if they weren't?
- Alpha Bitch: Polly Hannah, notable for being an unlikable Alpha Bitch and one of the few reoccurring characters to never be a starring protagonist. In fact, if Let's Scare The Teacher To Death! is anything to go by, even the teachers think she's nauseating.
- Amusement Park of Doom: Vampire Park.
- And I Must Scream: Boys of Stone.
- Ax-Crazy: Ms. Stoker.
- Big Creepy-Crawlies: The Spider Beside Her and the short tale Don't Open The Door!
- Big Eater: Jaws Bennett, rumored to be able to eat anything, even roadkill.
- The Big Guy: Jaws and Jason Dunbarr share this status. Jaws is a benevolent example, Jason isn't.
- Body Swap: April Ghoul's Day.
- Boy Meets Ghoul: Never stated explicitly, but can be read as subtext between Park and Morton in Don't Tell Mummy.
- Butt Monkey: While most of the kids avoid the levels of Butt Monkey found in Goosebumps, Polly Hannah is a more typical version due to what a spoiled and haughty brat she is.
- Cats Are Mean: Aunt Mab's companion Natasha.
- Christmas Episode: The Fright Before Christmas and Here Comes Santa Claws.
- Conveniently an Orphan: Ari Spinner. It's never stated what happened to her parents, or how she managed to live on her own for so long.
- Cool Teacher: Ms. King, the substitute in Creature Teacher.
- Cordon Bleugh Chef: Ms. Stoker the lunch lady in the first book, whose dishes are made from stolen pets.
- Corrupt Corporate Executive: Mr. Dolarman from Row Your Boat, and George Quayle from Slime Lake.
- Creepy Child: Ari Spinner, Dolores, and the kids in Mrs. Storch's homeroom except for Blue and Tim. Although the kids in Mrs. Storch's class are actually pretty nice beyond their monster exteriors.
- Deadpan Snarker: Morton.
- Deal with the Devil: The Dead Sox and The Skeleton On The Skateboard.
- Dem Bones: The Skeleton on the skateboard, and its brother.
- There's also the short story Mr. Bones, One More Step Faster, and Homebones.
- The Dreaded: Dr. Morthouse, the sheer mention of who can cause the younger students to burst into tears. To a lesser degree, Basement Bart.
- Early Installment Weirdness: The first ten books often ended with the reveal that the kids were more connected to the strangeness of Gravyeard School than one would assume at first glance. Kirstin Bjork's the Headless Bicycle Rider, Skip comes from a family of werewolves (but it skipped him over), Marc and Terri's uncle protects the Slime Lake monster, and Jeep's family works for an agency that monitors vampire activity with Jeep himself a junior agent.
- Evil Twin: Twins.
- Evil Aunt: Kyle Chilton's Aunt Mab, though this is subverted. Mab's magical hijinks are not unprovoked.
- Fair Folk: Invoked with Kyle's Aunt Mab. Mab is sometimes referred to as the Fairy Queen in Shakespearean lore.
- Fairy Tale Episode:
- Jack and the Beanstalker.
- Tales Too Scary To Tell At Camp has the kids enduring a situation similar to Hansel and Gretel.
- Fantastic Racism: Explored in Little School of Horrors concerning humans and monsters. The monster kids in Mrs. Storch's class tend to avoid human kids. Some, like Eduardo the vampire, are contemptuous of humans, while others just don't feel comfortable around humans because they have to lie about who they are. They don't actually have a problem with having Tim in their class, and some find Eduardo's contempt to be annoying.
- Fattening the Victim: Ms. Stoker kidnaps Jaws in Don't Eat The Mystery Meat! with the obvious implications that she plans to use him for her next lunch recipe after feeding him up some. Jaws literally doesn't realize what she's doing until Park and Stacey save him.
- The Friend Nobody Likes: Polly Hannah still hangs out with the other kids even though she doesn't like them and they don't like her.
- Generation Xerox: Kids who've met Polly Hannah's mother regard as an older, frillier, and meaner version of her daughter.
- Genki Girl: Terri Foster and maybe Vickie Wheilson judging from her wardrobe.
- Giant Spider: The Spider Beside Her. Though this a subversion. The spider on the cover is one of the main characters, Ari Spinner. By the end she's reduced to a normal size spider.
- Gorgeous Gorgon: Melissa is a subversion. She can turn her snakes into hair, but it's never stated if she can turn people into stone by looking at them.
- Green Aesop: Here and there. Some of the books offer brief tracts against rampant commercialism and environmental destruction. That they aren't shoved down the throats of the readers means they work better than some attempts at the Green Aesop trope are.
- In Slime Lake Mr. Quayle expresses contempt at those who protest his plans to dredge Slime Lake and turn the area into a commercial resort by wrecking the local wildlife. The kids, especially Stacey Carter (but not Polly Hannah), are disgusted by this.
- In The Fright Before Christmas, Christopher is shown a Bad Future where he became a politician whose greed managed to destroy most of America's forests and air.
- Hair-Raising Hare: The demonic rabbit David Pike's brother hatches.
- Headless Horseman: A Headless Bicycle Rider. This is actual a benign example, because the Rider is also Kirsten Bjork, the sixth grade class president.
- Horror Doesn't Settle for Simple Tuesday: The Skeleton On The Skateboard is on Halloween, its sequel The Skeleton's Revenge is on Thanksgiving, Boo Year's Eve, April Ghoul's Day, The Easter Egg Haunt, The Fright Before Christmas, and Here Comes Santa Claws.
- I Ate WHAT?!: The reactions Stacey and Park have when they dawn upon the realization that Ms. Stoker is feeding the school stolen pets, including an anaconda and an ant farm.
- I'm a Humanitarian: What Ari Spinner was dangerously close to becoming.
- Infant Immortality: Played straight and averted a few times.
- Invisible to Normals: Inverted in Boo Year's Eve. It is pretty much outright stated the party guests were all ghosts, yet from their perspective they believed Jordie was a ghost and could only briefly catch glimpses of her. This seems to imply they don't realize they're dead.
- Karma Houdini: Ms. Stoker gets away at the end of Don't Eat The Mystery Meat! and starts stealing pets in another town.
- Kids Are Cruel: Averted. There are some bullies at Grove Hill, and while the kids might tease each other once in a while, they're never cruel or malicious about it. In fact, whenever someone is acting really mean and vicious, it's sign that something is very wrong.
- Kid Hero: The kids in these books are more action-oriented, taking it upon themselves to save those around them from being killed by whatever threat they're facing.
- Lack of Empathy: Polly Hannah.
- Laser-Guided Karma
- Lethal Chef: Ms. Stoker from Don't Eat the Mystery Meat! She makes school lunches from kidnapped pets, and even plans to use Jaws in one of her recipes.
- Life Imitates Art: In-universe with Scream Around The Campfire, where the campfire stories are coming to life. Though it may also be a case of Your Mind Makes It Real.
- Loners Are Freaks: Ari Spinner.
- The Magic Touch: How Old Man Stone acquires his statue collection in Boys of Stone. Bonus points for his first name being Midas. He can also reverse the process if he wishes.
- Mall Santa: The Fright Before Christmas had Christopher Hampton's little sister being pushed while on the lap of a mall Santa, causing her to accidentally punch him so hard he falls through the store's display and gets knocked out. This caused the rest of the kids to freak out because they think "Santa's been killed." Christopher's classmates start giving him grief over this, assuming, because they know how much he hates Christmas, that he got one of his sisters to attack Santa Claus on purpose.
- Mind Screw: Boo Year's Eve.
- Mummy: Morton turns out to be a good version of this.
- Naďve Newcomer: Garth in Scream Around The Campfire can't understand why he's being picked on by his bunkmates, leading Alex to realize, despite how big and clumsy Garth is, he's somehow never been bullied a day in his life. It's because Garth is weird by human standards, but normal by Bigfoot ones.
- Negative Continuity: Here and there. It can be difficult to discern a timeline of events depending on when past incidents get referenced. This is especially disconcerting in the summer-themed books.
- Since Grove Hill School ends at 6th Grade, naturally the books taking place over the summer should mention the kids are now free from Graveyard School. Instead, the narration usually mentions they won't have to go back to that school until the summer ends... despite references to what the kids endured in the 6th Grade (Alex and the ghost in the bathroom, Algie and the headless bicycle rider).
- In The Gator Ate Her, Algie is spending the summer with his relatives in Florida, even though he'd spent an entire summer season playing little league baseball in The Dead Sox.
- Never Smile at a Crocodile: The Gator Ate Her.
- No Name Given: The unnamed body which was discovered in the boys room.
- Non-Malicious Monster:
- The kids in Mrs. Storch's class (except for Tim) may be young monsters, but they don't actively terrorize anyone and most of them grew up hearing horror stories about humans the same way human kids grew up hearing stories about monsters. Also, they make it very clear that whatever is wrong with the school they are not a part of it, and they're also scared by some of the teachers and the principal.
- Also, Morton is a living mummy.
- There are a few other examples of benign monsters. This includes Kirstin the Headless Bicycle Rider, Skip Wolfson's family who are benevolent werewolves, and Emmie the Slime Lake monster.
- Nothing Is Scarier: No definitive origin is ever given towards the source of the horrors in the series.
- Off with His Head!: The ending of Twins.
- Older Than They Look: Kyle's Aunt Mab looks nothing like someone who is supposed to his grandfather's cousin's aunt, which is the first blatant hint she's not entirely human.
- Our Dragons Are Different: Ginger, who can shift from human to dragon form.
- Our Vampires Are Different: The nameless vampire in Escape from Vampire Park mentions the differences among vampire clans. Some can ingest garlic, some can withstand sunlight to certain degrees, and some hold no fear of mirrors. This is backed up by Camp Dracula, where the campers can survive in sunlight with heavy duty sunscreen (but still get sunburned), and have no problem eating garlic (except Martin, who just doesn't like the taste and is teased for it.
- Our Werewolves Are Different: Little Pet Werewolf and Little School of Horrors have two different examples of werewolves.
- Parental Obliviousness:
- The parents of Grove Hill send their children to a school run by a woman so intimidating that she can make first graders cry simply by looking at them.
- Averted, in at least one sense, with Mr. and Mrs. Hampton, who are indeed concerned about their son's unhappiness and want to help him but aren't sure how.
- Pet the Dog: In The Fright Before Christmas, Stacey Carter is given shoelaces with little bull dog designs on them as apparently someone remembered how deeply she loves her dog Morris. It turns out her Secret Santa was none other than Polly Hannah. Stacey is left almost speechless.
- Remember the New Guy: Justified. There are three new students who join the sixth grade, and when a character is mentioned for the first time it's still justified since the books wouldn't focus on every single student in Grove Hill.
- Sadist Teacher: Played straight by many of Grove Hill's teachers, such as Mrs. Beak, and averted with Mr. Melon, Ms. Camp, Ms. Beamer, and Ms. King.
- Satellite Character: Some characters tend to only be really prominent in one book depending on the main character. Maria Medina's this to Stacey Carter, and Vickie Wheilson's this to her cousin Skate.
- Savvy Guy, Energetic Girl: Skate McGraw is the savvy to his cousin Vickie's energetic.
- Scheherezade Gambit: Tales Too Scary To Tell At Camp.
- The Scrooge: Christopher Hampton, but he's mostly scared straight when he's shown a Bad Future where he becomes a politician who dies alone after being responsible for massive environmental damage across America.
- Seductive Mummy: Morton may be a subtle variant of this trope. She's not outright seductive, but her relationship with Park may have a shade of this.
- Something Completely Different:
- Oddly enough, the first book in the series doesn't have any supernatural elements. Same said for the eighth book.
- Tales To Scary To Tell At Camp is the only anthology book in the series. Not only that, but a few of the stories are about adults.
- The Smart Guy: Jordie the "Human Computer".
- Spoiled Brat: Polly Hannah and Dolores from Boo Year's Eve.
- Strange Girl: Ari Spinner, Morton, and most of the girls in Mrs. Storch's class.
- Straw Character: Usually if an opinion is meant to be presented as wrong, Polly Hannah's the one used to express it. In The Fright Before Christmas, Polly parrots her mother's complaints about A Christmas Carol such as how Charles Dickens' isn't even an American writer, to which Mr. Melon retorts by saying Dickens' abilities as an author transcend nationalities. Which basically translates to him telling her to shut her mouth.
- Straw Loser: Averted.
- Taken for Granite: Boys Of Stone.
- Tastes Like Diabetes: In-universe, this is the reaction to Dr. Lucre and Polly Hannah's wardrobe choices.
- Teacher's Pet: Polly Hannah, who has no interest in learning, just sucking up. Although for as much as Polly wants the approval of the school's authority figure, some, like Mr. Melon and Ms. Cheevy, don't like her as well.
- Too Dumb to Live: Jaws in Don't Eat The Mystery Meat. He doesn't find anything suspicious about Ms. Stoker wanting to "Play a trick" on Jaws' parents by making it look like he's missing and keeping him in her basement. A basement which is filled with cages containing dozens of missing animals.
- Undead Child: Dolores.
- Villain Team-Up: The vampire and the monster in Escape from Vampire Park team up and take over the carnival from Fang.
- Weight Woe: In the first book, the kids are all shocked at how skinny Jaws became over the summer, due to his parents becoming vegetarians and forcing him to eat tofu.
- Wholesome Crossdresser: Let's Scare The Teacher To Death.
- Who Names Their Kid "Dude"?: New student Blue, who was apparently named because he was born on a blue moon. Because of it, he can move at super speed at night.
- With Friends Like These...: Averted. The kids in these books are often quite reliable despite any frustrations going on with their classmates.
- Yet Another Christmas Carol: The Fright Before Christmas.
- Your Approval Fills Me with Shame: When Christopher agrees with Stacey Carter that the idea of a Secret Santa gift exchange is a waste of money, Stacey suddenly feels uncomfortable and assumes that she's starting to hate Christmas just like him. Stacey then reassures herself that she does like Christmas and participates in the gift exchange.