Series: Goosebumps

"Viewer beware — you're in for a scare...huhuhu!"

Running from 1995 to 1998, Goosebumps was a television adaptation of R.L. Stine's book series of the same name, originally airing on both Fox Kids and YTV. Like the books the show was an anthology series and focused on a different group of characters each episode, though there were a few recurring elements, such Slappy from the numerous Night of the Living Dummy stories. Goosebumps was a joint Canadian/American production and was shot in both Ontario and Washington.

The show reran for two years on Cartoon Network (usually around Halloween timenote , 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), then aired on The Hub Network in the early 2010s alongside R.L. Stine's then-new anthology series, The Haunting Hour.


This show contains examples of:

  • Adam Westing: The Trope Namer himself as the Galloping Gazelle in the TV episode and video game of Attack of the Mutant.
  • Adaptational Heroism:
    • The stage magician Amaz-O in the TV version of "Bad Hare Day", while he was a jerkass in the book.
    • Greg Banks and Shari Walker in the TV version of "Say Cheese and Die!" come off a bit more likeable and heroic than their book counterparts, Greg particularly. For example, in the book he takes the camera back to the abandoned house he found it, all but dragging his friend Shari with him, whereas in the television version he initially goes by himself, believing wrongly that Spidey is holding Shari prisoner there in exchange for the camera, and gets joined by Shari who voluntarily accompanies him. Also, Greg gets to fight back more enthusiastically in the tv version than his counterpart, while Shari snaps Spidey's picture on purpose instead of by accident.
    • The Shopkeeper from The Haunted Mask is another example. In the book, he sells Carly Beth a mask that he knows is cursed for only $30. In the TV adaptation, he straight up refuses to sell the mask, and Carly Beth winds up stealing it instead. In the TV adaptation of The Haunted Mask II, he is seen burning all the masks, and he actively attempts to stop Carly Beth's old mask from coming back from the dead to get revenge on her (although he ultimately fails and ends up possessed). None of this happened in the book.
  • Adaptation Distillation: The plot of The Haunted House Game retains the "haunted board game" plot, but the TV episode turns the story into a Jumanji-esque adventure as the two kids are sucked into the board game and forced to play for their lives against ghosts planning to add them to their collection.
  • 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.
    • The Haunted Mask II. 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 (pretty much the first Haunted Mask book, only with a supporting character, also from the first book). 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.
    • Welcome to Dead House features the earlier reveal about the gas leak in Dark Falls via an old newspaper, but Amanda's family don't learn what it really did to the town until later. Also, we learn that the reason Amanda heard voices in her room and the source of the draft she felt came from a hole in her closet. There's also an added subplot about a tacky dried flower wreath Mrs. Benson thinks is a good luck charm but might actually be the cause of the strange occurrences in the house. It's not, but it actually was protecting Amanda's family until they were tricked into destroying it.
    • The House of No Return gives a tragic backstory to the ghosts haunting the titular house. They were a married couple whose infant child died when it fell through a weak spot in the floor. They were so stricken with grief they turned into hermits, spending the rest of their days constantly arguing with each other inside the house before they die. They collect children because they're trying to replace the family they had when they were still alive.
  • Adapted Out:
    • Michael in Say Cheese and Die! doesn't appear in the TV adaptation.
    • Ditto Edna from The Headless Ghost, April from Let's Get Invisible, and Clay from One Day at Horrorland, and the author blob from the ending of The Blob That Ate Everyone.
  • All Just a Dream: Zigzagged in 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.
  • Arbitrary Skepticism: Jillian gets hit with this hard during the climax of "Bride of the Living Dummy," wherein she doesn't believe Mary Ellen is alive while her and Katie are running from Slappy.
  • Ascended Extra: The evil magician mentioned in the book version of "Bad Hare Day" appears in the TV episode named El Sydney.
  • Asshole Victim: Mr. McCall 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.
  • California Doubling: Toronto, Canada was one of the series' primary filming locations.
  • Cat Scare: "The Girl Who Cried Monster.
  • 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."
  • Death by Adaptation:
    • The Swamp Hermit in The Werewolf of Fever Swamp lives in the book, but in the episode he makes a Heroic Sacrifice to save Grady.
    • In the TV version of One Day at Horrorland, the Morris family wins a car after surviving Horrorland - and then are shown to drive over a cliff and probably die. We then see the Horrors watching the end of the show. The ending of the book had a slightly less cruel twist where after escaping from Horrorland in a stolen bus, they discover one of the Horrors has followed them and offers them tickets back to the park. There's also a sequel.
    • The TV adaptation of Revenge of the Lawn Gnomes ends with Major McCall, who is just Mr. McCall in the books, being turned into a lawn ornament by the gnomes.
  • Drill Sergeant Nasty: In the TV adaptation of Revenge of the Lawn Gnomes, Mr. McCall is renamed to Major McCall and is a mean ex-army officer.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: In the episode Don't Go to Sleep, the main character is taken to court by the Reality Police and put on trial simply because he said his reality sucked. It doesn't help that that he's ''once again'' forced to endure it simply because he said his reality was boring.
  • The End... Or Is It?: "A Night In Terror Tower": The two protagonists and the sorcerer escape execution by traveling to the future, but at the last moment it's revealed that the Lord High Executioner had obtained one of the magic stones. (Though this is only in the TV episode, the book has a happy ending.)
  • Egopolis: Karl Knave, the villain of the "Chillogy" episodes, makes his residence in a miniature town he rules called Karlsville.
  • Episode on a Plane: There's an episode called "More Monster Blood", in which the ravenous green Blob Monster is released onboard a passenger plane and proceeds to devour everyone. This plot was exclusive to the series.
  • Exorcist Head: Night of the Living Dummy III ends with Zane doing this, saying "I'll be seeing you real soon", and turning his head back around to face forward.
  • For the Evulz: Karl from the TV-only story Chillogy, the ruler of a miniature toy town aptly called Karlsville. He's never given a back story but when asked why he's bothering to turn one of the main characters into a plastic slave, Karl simply states "Everyone needs a hobby." His hobby is to turn kids into his slaves.
  • Greater Scope Villain: 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) 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.
  • Here We Go Again: Several of the endings, in correlation with the books. In fact, My Hairiest Adventure ends with this trope being quoted word-for-word.
  • Karma Houdini: Karl, the villain of the three-part episode "Chillogy". At the end the heroes believe that one of the miniature figures they're burning in the fireplace must be Karl, but he escapes the destruction of his private domain Karlsville unharmed and sets out to continue his rampage. The episode ends with him letting out an evil laugh at this fortune.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: Some of the Karma Houdini characters from the book series get punished for their actions in the TV episodes. This includes Judith from Be Careful What You Wish For, who is Taken for Granite, Mr. Saur from Say Cheese And Die Again! who loses all his hair thanks to the camera while everyone laughs at him, the older brother from The Barking Ghost who is the only one who gets turned into a chipmunk.
  • Mouth Cam: Used in The Blob That Ate Everyone before the blob eats Adam.
  • Mythology Gag: The TV episode of "Be Careful What You Wish For" ends with a crow perching on top of the statue of Judith, Samantha's bully. The book ends with Sam being turned into a bird after Clarissa becomes Judith's wishmaster. In both versions, the Alpha Bitch smiles.
  • Our Zombies Are Different: "How I Got My Shrunken Head" has the villain experimenting on his henchmen to activate the powers of Jungle Magic. Instead, they're possessed by an unknown energy that reduces them to mindless slaves.
  • Something Only They Would Say: In Stay Out of the Basement, Margaret knows which Mr. Brewer is her real father when the real one calls her by her nickname, "Princess".
  • Spared by the Adaptation:
    • Spidey gets killed by the camera in the book of Say Cheese And Die!. While in the TV episode, he becomes trapped in the camera and eventually released by the two bullies who picked on Craig, but strangely doesn't appear in the TV episode of "Say Cheese and Die - Again!" (except in flashback).
    • In the book version of Be Careful What You Wish For, when Samantha wishes that Clarissa would grant wishes to someone else, Clarissa becomes Judith's wishmaster and Judith wishes that Samantha would "fly away." Samantha is then turned into a bird and is happy that she no longer has to deal with being bullied and mocked by her peers. In the TV version, Judith, after Samantha wishes that Clarissa would grant wishes to someone else, wishes that wherever she was in the world, people would stop and admire her. Clarissa then turns Judith into a park statue where, true to her word, people stopped and admired her.
  • Taken for Granite:
    • In Be Careful What You Wish For, Judith, after Samantha wishes that Clarissa would grant wishes to someone else, wishes that wherever she was in the world, people would stop and admire her. Clarissa then turns Judith into a park statue where, true to her word, people stopped and admired her.
    • In "Revenge of the Lawn Gnomes," Major McCall (Mr McCall in the book) is turned into a lawn ornament at the end.
  • Un Installment: While both Night of the Living Dummy II and III made their way into the TV series the original Night of the Living Dummy was never adapted from the novel.