Literature: Graveyard School

Graveyard School is a 28 book series of children's horror novels written by Tom B. Stone.

Published in the 1990s in order to capitalize on 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 sweet Vice Principal Mr. Hannibal Lucre, the perpetual 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 and some normal.

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 books do.

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:

  • 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.
  • Amusement Park of Doom: Vampire Park.
  • And I Must Scream: Boys of Stone.
  • 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.
  • Body Swap: April Ghoul's Day.
  • 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: The new lunch lady in the first book, whose dishes are made from stolen pets.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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'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.
  • Kid Hero: The kids in these books are more action-oriented and usually end up having to save others from getting hurt.
  • 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.
  • Mind Screw: Boo Year's Eve.
  • Mummy: Morton turns out to be a good version of this.
  • 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.
  • 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 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.
  • 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 and averted with Mr. Melon, Ms. Camp, Ms. Beamer, and Ms. King.
  • 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 and destroyed the environment.
  • Shout-Out:
  • 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 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, but it's noted she has no interest in learning, just sucking up.
  • Undead Child
  • 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.
  • Yet Another Christmas Carol: The Fright Before Christmas.