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"Reader beware — you're in for a scare..."

In The '90s, 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 (which was also the first episode of the TV adaptation, shown as an hour-long special episode), Welcome to Camp Nightmare, the Night of the Living Dummy series (there were three in the original series, but the other spin offs and successor series have had at least one story with Slappy as the antagonist), and the Monster Blood series (the fourth and last of which being the final book in the original series).

It was The Twilight Zone for pre-adolescents, with a twist at the end of every book (sometimes cruel, sometimes not, sometimes non-existent, which is a twist in and of itself given the series). Stine cites Tales from the Crypt published by EC Comics as a source of inspiration though the series isn't nearly as gory and violent as the comics.


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, which is only a minor point — the story was really 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 Series 2000 (a Darker and Edgier Goosebumps series that ran for 25 books), and Gamebook series Give Yourself Goosebumps. Both ended in early 2000, but the series was eventually revived in 2006 with the Goosebumps Graphix series (adapting classic books into comics), and further spinoffs were released in 2008-2012 (the twelve-book Goosebumps HorrorLand series, a crossover between new and existing characters — it also got a video game adaptation, and was continued with a second, seven-book story arc and then the six-book Hall of Horrors mini-series), 2012-2016 (Goosebumps Most Wanted, featuring a mix of classic and new villains in standalone stories) and 2017-ongoing (Goosebumps SlappyWorld, with each book introduced by Slappy the Dummy). There were also spinoff titles compiling various short stories, such as Tales to Give You Goosebumps and Goosebumps Triple Header.


There were also a pair of PC games in the 1990s: Escape from Horrorland, a follow-up to the original One Day at Horrorland, and Attack of the Mutant, which had a different plot than the television episode or book with the same name. A phone game called Goosebumps: HorrorTown premiered in 2017. IDW started publishing a comic series based on the franchise in 2017.

For tropes relating to the Goosebumps television series, look here.

Columbia Pictures released a film based on the series on October 16, 2015, starring Jack Black as R.L. Stine. View the trailer here.

If you're interested in a full review of the series, check out Blogger Beware.

Books in the series:

    open/close all folders 
    Original series 

    Tales to Give You Goosebumps 

    Give Yourself Goosebumps 

    Goosebumps Triple Header 

    Goosebumps Series 2000 

    Goosebumps HorrorLand 

    Goosebumps Most Wanted 

    Goosebumps SlappyWorld 

    Other books 

This series provides (usually multiple) examples of:

    open/close all folders 

  • Abusive Parents:
    • Emory Banyon from Scream School qualifies as one of the worst parents in the series. He insists that he's pals with his son Jake and is constantly needling him to admit that his movies have scared him, saying "it's healthy to admit you're scared" in a patronizing way. It's blatantly clear Emory is an egotistical ass who just wants the satisfaction of his own son flat out admitting he is scared by the movies Emory makes, cementing him as "the King of Horror." He gets his comeuppance in the end when Jake successfully scares him twice in a row.
    • Richard Dreezer's parents from Dr. Maniac Will See You Now not only constantly argue, but are always belittling him right in front of him and are only nice to his annoying little brother.
    • Kate Lipton's dad from Lizard of Oz likes to play cruel pranks on her sometimes, on top of blowing money on things like miniature horses. The twist that he and his family are half lizard people can only excuse so much.
    • Downplayed, but Ian Barker's father in Slappy Birthday To You drives him out to an abandoned museum in the middle of nowhere as a birthday "surprise" and hires actors to scare him — then laughs at Ian's resulting distress — though it was not out of pure malice. His parents also tell him and his sister to be nice to their cousins, because his cousins are going through tough times, even when they know that their cousins are being downright to mean to them. It is worse for Ian though, because no one believes him when Slappy comes alive and starts doing all the mean things in front of everyone, his father, sister, and cousins eventually believe him though.
    • Tommy's parents in Creature Teacher: The Final Exam are not physically abusive, but they do mock their son for not being as competitive as them, and send him to Winner Island to toughen him up. They actually straight out just mock each other out of competition, but since he is not as competitive as his sister and parents, he is picked on the most.
  • Adults Are Useless: Either that (with the grandparents in How To Kill A Monster being arguably the best example of this), or in on the conspiracy (as seen in such stories as My Hairiest Adventure, Welcome to Camp Nightmare, and The Horror at Camp Jellyjam).
  • Affectionate Parody: The Gooflumps books by R.U. Slime, two unauthorized and unofficial parody books that lampoon the vastness of the series (the covers read "Buy two, that's it!"), the cover art by Tim Jacobus, and the story structure of the Goosebumps books.
    • Stay Out Of The Bathroom, which is labeled as Book 2 1/2, is a parody of Stay Out Of The Basement concerning aliens switching people through highly advanced toilet bowls.
    • Eat Cheese And Barf!, which is labeled as Book 4 1/2, is a parody of both Say Cheese And Die! and Monster Blood, concerning a cottage cheese monster and vast amounts of Toilet Humour.
  • A.I. Is a Crapshoot: The premise of Frankenstein's Dog.
  • Alien Invasion: Invasion of the Body Squeezers from Series 2000.
  • All Just a Dream:
    • Slappy's Nightmare reveals that it was all Slappy's dream but then the Jimmy comes in and a scene from earlier repeats, with him saying "Sometimes dreams come true".
    • Early on in Monster Blood is Back, the protagonist narrowly avoids being hit by a car. But the twist reveals that [[spooiler: that she did get hit and the entire rest of the plot was just a dream she had while knocked out]].
  • All There in the Manual: Some of the HorrorLand books, the Classic Goosebumps reprints, and Horror Land Survival Guide have information about certain monsters that isn't mentioned in the actual books.
  • Alpha Bitch: Courtney in You Can't Scare Me!, Tasha in Calling All Creeps!, Judith in Be Careful What You Wish For, Adele in The Lizard of Oz, and Rosa in It's Alive! It's Alive!
  • Always Chaotic Evil: The HorrorLand monsters, who run a deadly amusement park to kill families for fun. They may act welcoming and friendly at times, but don't let this fool you — it's an act. They'd serve you up for lunch as soon as amuse you. And their idea of "amusing people" is to scare them to death or put them in lethal traps.
  • Always Someone Better: A lot of the Goosebumps stories usually have the antagonist as someone who is better than the protagonist at almost everything. (ex: Judith in Be Careful What You Wish For, Sari in The Curse of the Mummy's Tomb/Return of the Mummy, Courtney in You Can't Scare Me!, Wilson in How I Learned To Fly)
  • Ambiguous Disorder: While not stated outright, some of the characters show signs of having some sort of disorder. Examples include Dana from Egg Monsters From Mars, Mindy from Revenge Of The Lawn Gnomes and Nicole from The Abominable Snowman Of Pasedena. A notable one is Peter in The Five Masks of Doctor Screem, as Monica states that "some kids take pills to slow down to normal speed" but their parents simply,think he has "energy".

  • 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). Inverted with My Hairiest Adventure, in which three characters started as dogs but were turned into humans, and are now reverting because the effects of the serum used on them are wearing off.
  • Annoying Younger Sibling: It would be easier to list the siblings who don't fall under the this trope but notable examples include Letty in Let's Get Invisible Luke in One Day at HorrorLand, Ginny in Bad Hare Day, Ernie in Dr. Maniac Will See You Now, with the most infamous example being Tara in The Cuckoo Clock of Doom.
  • Anti-Villain: Quite a few of the villains, such as the Dark Falls Residents, Dr. Brewer, Spidey, and Della have relatively sympathetic motivations.
  • Artifact of Doom: The black ring from Horrors Of The Black Ring, which houses an evil spirit that acts as The Corruptor and eventually full-on Demonic Possession of its host.
  • 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, Brandon in Headless Halloween, and the Beymer twins in Monster Blood.
    • The Tales series did this fairly often, such as Seth Gold in Click and Tara Bennett in Shell Shocker.
  • Attack of the Killer Whatever: Some of the monsters include Lawn Gnomes, a giant worm, and a sponge.

  • Badass Adorable: Any protagonist who learns to fight back will be this to some degree. Special mention goes to the two Billies from Welcome To Camp Nightmare and Deep Trouble, Margaret from Stay Out Of The Basement, Hannah from Ghost Next Door, Mark from How I Got My Shrunken Head and Wendy from The Horror At Camp Jellyjam.
  • The Bad Guy Wins: Being a horror series, this happens every so often but the most notable example is Calling All Creeps! which ends with the protagonist performing a Face–Heel Turn to become the villains' overlord and leading the lizard monsters to victory. Considering the nature of their human victims, though, this might not be a bad thing.
  • Be Careful What You Wish For:
    • The actual, verbatim title of the 12th book of the series, which dealt with wishes gone bad.
    • In a similar manner to that one is Brain Juice, where two kids want to be smart but find that it makes them cocky and everyone is either afraid of them or wants to take advantage of them.
  • Big Brother Bully: Repeatedly. Kevin to Eddie in You Can't Scare Me, Mickey to Cooper in The Barking Ghost, Greg and Pam to Matt in Don't Go To Sleep, Eugene to Max in The Wish, Claudia to Jason in Ghost in the Mirror, though none of them holds a candle to Wade's brother Micah in Revenge R Us.
  • Bittersweet Ending:
    • Discussed in Dr. Maniac Vs Robby Schwartz. Robby is forced to delete his brother, who had turned out to be Dr. Maniac, in order to save the town. After it is revealed that the whole book was a comic strip he wrote, Robby comments on how the ending was "triumphant, but sad".
  • Blessed with Suck: A lot of the books start off with the protagonist finding some kind of supremely powerful magical object that is awesome for about five minutes before terrible things start to happen.
  • Blob Monster: The eponymous villains of the Monster Blood series, Egg Monsters from Mars, The Blob that Ate Everyone and The Horror of Camp Jellyjam (King Jellyjam).
  • Bloodier and Gorier: The 2000 series were a bit more brutal in terms of violence and horror.
  • Blue-and-Orange Morality: Most of the monsters and creatures legitimately don't see anything wrong with their bizarre, horrifying antics. This makes the protagonists' situation even worse, since it's nigh impossible to reason with them.
  • 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, with Chicken Chicken as probably the most graphic and My Hairiest Adventure and Why I'm Afraid of Bees tied for the least.
    • Taken to EXTREME in I Live in Your Basement, in which one of the characters actually turn inside out! Needless to say, it's rather disturbing even for a Goosebumps book, and it's taken this trope to a whole new level.
  • Bowdlerise: Some of the reprints of the original series have removed elements that have not aged well,:
    • The 2018 reprint of Bride of the Living Dummy removes a part where Slappy hits Jillian and claims it is only a "love tap".
    • The reprint of Attack of the Jack O'Lanterns tones down the original book's description of a black character who "acts real cool and sort of struts when he walks like the rappers on MTV videos." It also alters a plot point involving four missing people, describing them as being merely "big" rather than fat.
  • Breather Episode:
    • Good Friends. It's a simple slice of life tale that doesn't involve any creepy or weird stuff. Aside from the twist that Jordan and his sister are all in Dylan's head.
    • "A Holly Jolly Holiday". The only horror in it is that a VCR recording of a Christmas special brainwashes a family into becoming cheery Christmas cheesiness. The main character finds it horrifying because of the pervasive positivity and that she can't curse. Fortunately the tape is burned and everyone goes back to normal.
  • The Bully: There's quite a few of them, with the most notable examples including Conan in the Monster Blood series, Judith in 'Be Careful What You Wish For...', and Corey Calder in The Revenge
  • 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!, Matt from Don't Go to Sleep!, Samantha from Be Careful What You Wish For, Sarah from The Curse of Camp Cold Lake, Crystal and Cole from Chicken Chicken, Richard from Dr. Maniac Will See you Now and Evan from the Monster Blood series.

  • Canon Discontinuity: Several in the HorrorLand spinoff.
    • 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 Ross.
  • Captain Obvious: A lot of chapters tend to end with a dramatic statement that is obvious to the reader. The Tag Line for Attack of the Mutant is "He's not a superhero, He's a supervillain!" Well duh! A horror story about a superhero wouldn't be very scary.
  • Cat Scare: A rat scare in the adaptation of The Phantom of the Auditorium.
    • This happens at least once per book, though it's sometimes subverted. One of the most frequent examples has a character (usually the parents) claiming to believe the protagonist about what's happening, or even to be in on it themselves, only for the next chapter to immediately reveal that they were just joking, much to the protagonist's chagrin.
  • Cats Are Mean: Many books and stories, like The Cat's Tale, Cry of the Cat, Claws and Night of a Thousand Claws have supernatural, evil cats as the villains. Normal cats are usually depicted as lazy and mean towards the protagonists (Bonkers from Piano Lessons Can Be Murder being especially nasty). Stine himself said in an interview: "I've always been a dog person. You can tell I don't like cats—because I've written so many books with evil cats. It's much harder to imagine an evil dog."
  • Chekhov's Gun:
    • This is oddly subverted in some books, with some seemingly important thing being given a lot of detail, such as Lucy's friend in The Girl Who Cried Monster having some fictional frisbee like toy which is given several pages of description, leading the reader to believe it will be somehow important to fighting the monster, only for it to never be brought up again. Whether this is deliberate or just bad writing is anyone's guess.
  • Chekhov's Gunman: Chirpy in Horrors of the Black Ring at first seems to exist to be an example of how nice the protagonist Beth is, as she saves the bird from being run over and starts taking care of it. But after Chirpy dies of natural causes, Beth puts the ring on the bird's body as the ring's evil needs a body to be a vessel, so this defeats it.
  • Chekhov's Hobby: A common thing in some of the books is that a character will have some sort of quirk that becomes important later, such as Luke's pinching in One Day at Horrorland or Eddie's pickpocketing in A Night in Terror Tower.
    • An interesting example comes with Mitchell's dad in The Haunted Car, who is a wannabe handyman, whose attempts to fix things often go wrong. Later, he accidentally sets the house on fire while Mitchell is being taken for a joy ride by the ghost car. Because he wasn't at home, he lived and Becka the ghost actually saved him. This is what causes her to vanish, as her whole mission is evil.
  • Clothes Make the Superman: The costume the protagonist of They Call Me the Night Howler gets works this way. An interesting spin is that the powers go away if he reveals his secret identity to anyone else.
  • The Chew Toy: Fairly common in the series, which had several protagonists that get beaten up by bullies a lot and whose misery is at least partly treated as a source of amusement for the reader — such as Gary in Why I'm Afraid of Bees and Michael in The Cuckoo Clock of Doom. A later example is Ian in Slappy Birthday to You, who's regularly subject to violence from his cousins and younger sister.
  • Child Eater: King Jellyjam, the monster in How To Kill A Monster, Mr. Mortman, Cuddles the hamster, and the beasts in The Beast From The East.
  • Child Hater: Several books have these, including The Ghost Next Door (a postman who threatens kids with a shotgun), The Abominable Snowman of Pasadena (Arthur), and The Blob That Ate Everyone. Also, Otto in the TV episode of The Headless Ghost.
  • Chuck Cunningham Syndrome: Thanks to Goosebumps Horrorland, many of the human characters from the original series don't reappear alongside the enemies they fought.
    • The cast of the first four Monster Blood books are completely replaced with brand new characters in Monster Blood for Breakfast. Considering how widely disliked the majority of the old cast was (except for Andy), the use of this trope isn't too surprising.
  • Circus Episode: A Nightmare on Clown Street
  • Circus of Fear: Koko's Klown Acadaemy in A Nightmare on Clown Street is an interesting example, as it's actually more dangerous for the clowns as those who act out of line are taken to the eponymous clown street to fight dangerous monsters.
  • Cloud Cuckoolander: Doctor Maniac in all of his books.
  • Competition Freak: Zack in Let's Get Invisible! Wilson Schlame in How I Learned To Fly, Sari Hassad in The Curse of the Mummy's Tomb, and Elliot in The Horror at Camp Jellyjam.
  • Contrasting Sequel Antagonist: Return of the Mummy and Creep from the Deep both have supernatural antagonists, while their previous books had just immoral humans.
  • Contrasting Sequel Main Character:
    • While the first 4 Monster Blood books had Straw Loser Evan Ross, Monster Blood for Breakfast had Matt Daniels, who is athletic and popular.
    • The protagonist of Creature Teacher is a prankster who is sent to a school because he's such a goof off while the lead of The Final Exam is a wimpy loser who is sent there for not being enough of a "winner".
  • Cool Teacher: One of the first times that trope is 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.
    • Also, Miss Gold in Horrors of the Black Ring who is beloved by pretty much everyone, which is why it's so horrifying when it turns out she was the one trying to wreck the carnival due to the influence of the Black Ring.
    • There's a handful in the later series, such as as in Son of Slappy and How I Met My Monster.
    • Samantha in Be Careful What You Wish For attends a very laid-back school where teachers dress casually and are addressed by their given names.
  • Cool Uncle: Uncle Billy in ''Attack of the Christmas Present" who travels around the world and always gets Jack and his brother cool presents for Christmas.
  • Covers Always Lie:
    • As mentioned above, this could be a big problem, particularly for the revived HorrorLand series.
    • How I Learned to Fly 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, with the shark only appearing in a small portion of the book.
    • The UK cover of ''Be Careful What You Wish For'' shows a shattered crystal ball with Samantha's face reflected in it. There is a crystal ball in the story, but it never breaks. The picture could also be interpreted as Samantha being trapped in the crystal ball, which doesn't happen either. The other notable thing about the cover is a major spoiler.
    • Sometimes, people anticipating that the cover is fake works in the book's 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.
    • The famous cover of The Curse of Camp Cold Lake features a red-eyed skull with no nose rising out of the water. This creature never shows up in the book, and instead the antagonist is a ghost girl who, despite being partly transparent, is normal enough that Sarah doesn't immediately realize she's even a ghost.
    • The Horrorland books do this fairly consistently. The cover to Monster Blood for Breakfast for example features (presumably) the protagonist engulfed in the eponymous Blob Monster, while the main section of the book actually deals with Body Horror. Who's Your Mummy features a mummy ringing a doorbell; the only stereotypical mummies in the book are immobile.
    • The ghost on the cover of The Haunter is nowhere to be seen in the story, as the ghost is just a kid.
    • The Most Wanted series falls victim to this a lot. It's hard to believe their claim of the series containing the "most wanted" monsters when they are often not the ones depicted on the cover. The worst offender is Frankenstein's Dog which is actually about evil robots, and the dog never becomes a monster.
    • The cover for Son of Slappy makes it seem like the title will be literal, with Slappy somehow having an offspring. Instead, the '"son" is the protagonist, who is being controlled by Slappy.
    • The cover of Don't go to Sleep! shows the hand of a monster emerging from under the bed about to reach a sleeping boy, implying that the story is about a monster that lurks under the main character's bed and will attack/kill him if he falls asleep. Again, no such monster appears, and the story is about the main character waking up in different versions of reality whenever he goes to sleep.
    • Not even the back cover blurb's are exempt. The blurb for Go Eat Wormns mentions Todd finding worms in his spahgehtti. This never actually happens. Someone asked Stine about this and he simply said it was an error.
  • Crapsack World: The series as a whole qualifies if you believe it's set in one universe. Apathetic adults, over the top bullies, murderous madmen, dangerous monsters... one wonders how these kids are going to grow up, if they survive their childhood.
  • Crazy-Prepared: In The Haunter, Sammy and his classmates are assigned a project about haunted houses. Shanequa says she has everything they need, they'll just borrow her dad's ghost-hunting equipment.
  • Creepy Basement: Stay Out Of The Basement, Vampire Breath and I Live In Your Basement.
  • Crisis Crossover: The 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).
  • Cruel Twist Ending: Used every so often:
    • 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.
    • The Haunted School: The kids escape Greyworld, only to find out that their class photo will be taken by Mr. Chameleon, whom they realize too late was the photographer who sent the Class of '47 to Greyworld in the first place.
    • Werewolf Skin: The hero's (platonic) girlfriend is also a werewolf.
    • Ghost Beach: The kids' uncle and aunt are ghosts too.
    • Legend of the Lost Legend: Everyone's lost in a mystical forest until the end of time.
    • Nutcracker Nightmare: The ballet goes on for a long time, so long that Samantha grows out of her dress and her mother has grey hair. But then it ends! Not so fast, however; Ms. Boren, who cast the spell to slow down time, cheerfully reminds her it's a two-act ballet.
    • Double Dip Horror: The protagonist has just left her identical twin sister alone on a ski slope with a ghost that murders identical twins. All she can do is hope that Rachel isn't baited into racing with Bobby Judd.
    • 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-guided Karmic Twist Ending instead, as the new master asks to be admired by everyone and becomes a statue.
    • In The Barking Ghost the two human protagonists return the two former-dogs that stole their bodies into the log that swapped their minds, only to get their bodies swapped with squirrels instead. The TV version has a happier ending where they do get their bodies back, and it's the Big Brother Bully character who becomes a squirrel instead.
    • This tradition continues in the Horrorland books. For example, My Friends Call Me Monster ends with Michael and his family eating a cake baked with eggs made to turn them into monsters... but since the story has to continue into Horrorland, it is later, almost casually explained how they undid it. Given the two-story format of the series, this happens a lot.
    • Dr. Maniac Will See You Now ends with Richard deciding to stay in the comic book world to escape his horrible life, only for it to turn out his annoying younger brother stayed behind. And neither of them will grow older in this world.
    • The Wish: Max wishes he was an only child, due to his abusive older brother. He becomes the only child on Earth.
  • Cryptid Episode: The Abominable Snowman of Pasadena, which is about a yeti, and Deep Trouble, which is about mermaids.

  • Dad's Off Fighting in the War: The father of the protagonist's grandfather in Zombie Halloween left to fight during World War II. He eventually died in the war.f
  • Daddy Had a Good Reason for Abandoning You: I Am Your Evil Twin has the protagonist finding out his cousin is actually his sister and the reason she was separated from Monty was because Mom had no way to support two kids.
  • Darker and Edgier: The Goosebumps 2000 series. Also, Welcome to Dead House, Stay Out of the Basement, A Night in Terror Tower, The Headless Ghost, and I Live in Your Basement are exceptionally scarier and gorier than the rest of the original series.
  • Dark Is Not Evil: Often, the supposed "monster" of the story turns out to be rather benevolent, while the true villains are just sick, amoral people.
  • Dead All Along: The Ghost Next Door, Ghost Beach, the short story The Haunted House Game and Bad Dog.
  • Defanged Horrors: The series can be scary, but is overall fine for children.
  • Deliberately Monochrome: The grayworld in The Haunted School.
  • Denser and Wackier: The later entries in the original series tended to take this tone more and more, with a few exceptions.
  • Depraved Dentist: One of the "rides" in HorrorLand is called "The Happy Tooth Game" where kids are basically mutilated by robot dentists.
  • Disproportionate Retribution:
    • 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 before 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.
    • In The Curse of Camp Cold Lake, Sarah's bunkmates Briana, Meg and Jan all indulge in this. First, Sarah nearly has a panic attack at the thought of sleeping next to a screen-less window and bugs getting in, so she convinces a counselor to switch Briana to the empty bed so Sarah can have the bed Briana was occupying, infuriating Briana and Meg because they wanted to share bunk beds. Annoying? Yes, but the girls still share the same cabin and Briana and Meg are still sleeping within mere feet of each other. Then Sarah accidentally offends Meg about her height but doesn’t really insult her, as Meg was the one who complained about her shortness in the first place and rudely snapped at Sarah when she tried to insert herself into the conversation, and then got mad when Sarah tried to agree with her. Sarah then reveals to everyone that Jan has asthma, and it was an honest accident as well, plus even if accidental, it was the right thing to do anyway, as Jan hiding her condition could've very easily put her health at risk. The three girls react to these rather annoying yet minor offenses that Sarah apologized for by shunning and bullying her, including pretending to be friendly so they can slip a snake down her back, and Jan even tips the canoe as revenge, knowing that Sarah's a bad swimmer, and then tells the counselor that Sarah did it. Fortunately, they realize they went too far after Sarah nearly drowns.
    • In Night of the Giant Everything, Stephen accidentally breaks an egg in Ava's kitchen. Her and Courtney respond by mixing up chemicals in the lab and putting it in his water to ruin his magic trick. However, downplayed as it turned out they lied and just put vinegar in.
    • In Nutcracker Nightmare, Mrs. Boren magically ages everyone in the audience at a performance of The Nutcracker (with the implication that at least some of them will die of old age) all because Sam complained of being bored.
  • Distant Prologue: The Horror at Chiller House, Wanted: The Haunted Mask, Zombie Halloween, The 12 Screams of Christmas and I Am Slappy's Evil Twin all begin with prologues set some decades prior to set up the backstory.
  • Downer Ending:
    • Werewolf Skin: The hero's friend turns out to be a werewolf and bites him, either cursing or outright killing him.
    • How to Kill a Monster: The protagonists somewhat unintentionally kill a monster and end up trapped in the swamps surrounded by the monster's relatives.
    • The Curse of Camp Cold Lake: The story ends with Sarah's imminent death by snakebite at Briana's hands, so they can be ghost buddies forever. Considering how miserable her life was, she might not mind...
    • The Haunted School: The protagonists escape Grayworld with help from Thalia, but can't save her and the other trapped students. They return to the school dance in time for a class picture, where they discover way too late that the photographer is the same one who sent the class of 1947 to Grayworld. He snaps the picture, presumably trapping them for good and stealing Bellwood's children all over again.
    • Son of Slappy: Jackson is unable to defeat Slappy and he gets banned from the Youth Center he works for. And then he finds out his sister was working for Slappy the whole time and the book ends with Slappy taking control over him again.

  • Early Installment Weirdness: The first 20 or so novels feel very subdued compared with later entries. There are scares and supernatural elements, but Stine typically spends a good amount of time establishing character and atmosphere before moving on to the horror. Because of this, some of the early books (notably The Curse of the Mummy's Tomb and Welcome to Camp Nightmare) are uncharacteristically long (130+ pages, as opposed to the average of 110-120).
    • Several of the early books were written in limited third-person narration, including books 2, 3, 4, 7, 10 and 11. Most (though not all) books after this point were written in first-person narration, similar to the first book in the series.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: Some of the books do end with legitimate happy endings:
    • In Why I'm Afraid of Bees, perennial loser Gary Lutz goes through quite an ordeal in the body of a bee, but manages to go back into his original body, and after all he went through, things change for him, becoming much more well liked and making friends for the first time ever. He still kept some traits from the bee he was stuck in, but it's shown to be pretty harmless.
    • Beware the Snowman ends with local hermit Conrad using his magical powers to direct an army of snowmen to attack and seal the evil monster that was about to kill the protagonist, Jaclyn, after it tricked her into releasing him, then Jaclyn's aunt Greta reveals that Konrad and Jaclyn are father and daughter, and they're thrilled to finally meet each other.
    • In How I Learned to Fly, during a huge televised flying race, Jack pretends to lose his ability to fly so he can finally retreat from the spotlight and spend time with the girl he secretly loves while Wilson is forced to spend the rest of his life with the heavy burden of fame.
  • Easily Thwarted Alien Invasion: It's somewhat hard to take the antagonists from My Friends Call Me Monster seriously when they are defeated by being dropped into a giant egg. Which one of them was hatching.
  • Everything's Better with Penguins: The random ice hockey penguins in the Attack of the Mutant PC game
  • Evil-Detecting Dog:
    • Subverted in the short story Bad Dog. The dog in question is bothering two ghost children who go to school in order to act like they're still alive and are afraid of being exposed by the dog's antics.
    • Played straight in It Came from Beneath the Sink.
    • In Ghost Beach, dogs are killed by ghosts because they reveal their nature, and in the ending the protagonists' dog gives it away that their aunt and uncle are ghosts too.
    • In Phantom of the Auditorium a dog barks at Brian, who is later revealed to be a ghost, though not evil.
    • In Welcome To The Dead House the protagonists dog Petey barks at everyone in the town because they are zombies. He gets killed by them eventually.
  • Evil Twin: I Am Your Evil Twin, enough said.
  • Evil Is Hammy: The Masked Mutant and Slappy come to mind, especially in the TV show. Also, Dr. Maniac and Purple Rage.
  • Exactly What It Says on the Tin: The Halloween Game is literally a Halloween game. It's a pitch for a Halloween-themed video game.
  • Exact Words:
    • The Curse of Camp Cold Lake has the counselors telling Sarah that no camper has ever drowned while mentioning that Sarah was the exception, but is looking shifty. She's convinced they're lying. Della admits that the counselors were right; she didn't drown, a snake bit her when she tried to run away through the woods.
    • 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.
    • Bad Hare Day has Tim being promised by Amaz-O that he can be a part of the legendary magician's act... by being his rabbit.
  • Extruded Book Product: After a while, the series turned into this; it is possible that, 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.
    • However, in a Reddit Q&A, R.L. Stine asserts that he wrote every single Goosebumps book. Although some of the spinoffs such as a couple of the Tales to give you Goosebumps stories have been confirmed to be ghost-written.

  • Fate Worse than Death: Often the implication (overt or covert) of the Twist Ending. Examples include Let's Get Invisible (phased into a mirror dimension forever), The Barking Ghost (trapped in the body of a squirrel), Bad Hare Day (transformed into a magician's rabbit), Ghost Camp(possessed by one of the ghostly campers), The Haunted School (trapped in an alternate dimension with no color, where you never age).
  • Faux Horrific: Technically, nothing horrifying happens in "A Holly Jolly Holiday". Regardless, the narrator gets concerned how a cursed videotape is turning her family's hair red and making them so cheesily pleasant to each other. She gets horrified when learning that she can't swear.
  • 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, Ricky decides in the end to become a Creep himself, because he would be their leader.
    • At the end of They Call Me the Night Howler, Mason accepts the role of Dr. Maniac after faling to be a good hero.
  • Fluffy the Terrible: One book revolves around aliens that hug people, literally called Body Squeezers. Harmless, right? Except that this is how they reproduce... oh, and they grow sharp claws to stab into the backs of their victims, it's really more like an angry bearhug tackle if they can't trick you into a hug, and they're hell-bent on murder and world domination.
  • Foolish Sibling, Responsible Sibling: Sarah and Aaron in The Curse of Camp Cold Lake, Billy and Sheena in Deep Trouble, Josh and Amanda in Welcome to Dead House, Luke and Lizzy in One Day at Horrorland, Joe and Mindy in Revenge of the Lawn Gnomes and Freddy and Kate in The Lizard of Oz, with the foolish and responsible respectively.
  • Foregone Conclusion: Subverted. It seems clear that if the book is told in first-person, then the protagonist must make it out okay, but that's not always the case. Among others, you have to wonder how Samantha Byrd of Be Careful What You Wish For... or Sarah Maas of The Curse of Camp Cold Lake are telling their stories, or to who, given the situations they end their books in (The former's ends with her turning into a bird and the latter's ends with her about to be bitten by a venemous snake with no hope of rescue or help).
  • Foreshadowing:
    • In Be Careful What You Wish For, Judith's taunt, "Why don't you fly away, Byrd?" ends up being this. Samantha does just that at the end, after she turns into an actual bird.
    • Early on in Calling All Creeps, Wart pins Ricky to the ground, and Iris shouts at him to let him up. Wart seems confused for a moment, like he's unsure what to do, and oddly enough, he obeys. Also, some of the dialogue from him, Jared, David and Brenda in the early chapters is a little "off" considering they're human teenagers. It turns out that they aren't human, but aliens who are posing as human bullies.
    • Early in ''The Curse of Camp Cold Lake, Sarah keeps emphasizing that she is a terrible swimmer. When she gets the idea to pretend to drown and scare her cabin mates, she ends up nearly drowning for real and attracts the attention of a ghost named Della. It's only because a counselor gives her CPR that she lives.
    • A Shocker on Shock Street has a few bits of it, such as Mr. Wright telling Mary not to blow a fuse. Because he's a robot.
  • "Freaky Friday" Flip: Why I'm Afraid of Bees deals with the aftermath of a faulty one, and The Barking Ghost has one with some evil ghost dogs.
  • For Science!: In Deep Trouble, this is Dr. Deep's only justification for kidnapping a mermaid and he needs the money. In I Am Your Evil Twin, the villain actually begins his Motive Rant with the proclamation "I am a scientist!"
  • The Fourth Wall Will Not Protect You: Attack of the Mutant and The Blob that Ate Everyone. The Horrorland book Doctor Maniac vs Robby Schwartz can be called a mashup of these two.
  • The Friend Nobody Likes: Ari Goodwyn in Revenge of the Invisible Boy.

  • The Game Come to Life: Escape From Shudder Mansion is an interesting example as the titular game is inspired by an actual in-universe haunted house, so it's more like life comes to the game.
  • The Game Plays You: In the story "The Haunted House Game", a group of children play a board game of the same name where each command they land on becomes true. It turns out that they're all ghosts who died playing the original game and are reliving the same events over and over again.. This is also the premise of Be Afraid-Be Very Afraid!.
  • Gang of Bullies: Wart, Jared, David, and Brenda in Calling All Creeps, who not only like to make fun of Ricky (as does everyone else), they even try to injure him For the Evulz and humiliate him in front of his only friend, Barry, Marv and Karl in Why I'm Afraid of Bees, who beat up Gary together, and to a lesser extent, Sarah's bunkmates Jan, Meg and Briana, who at least had an excuse, if a flimsy one, for disliking Sarah, but still bully, shun and play cruel pranks on her for very little reason, though they apologize and become friends with her later in the book.
  • George Lucas Altered Version: The Classic Goosebumps reprints and later the ebooks made changes to update/remove some of the technology and pop culture references.
  • Gender-Blender Name: Far too many to count, perhaps to assist with the Purely Aesthetic Gender. Notable examples are:
    • The female Drew from Attack of the Jack-O-Lanterns
    • Revenge R Us's female protagonist, Wade.
    • 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 gross no matter how you slice it).
    • Wanted: The Haunted Mask has a little sister named Dale.
  • Genre Anthology: The Tales to Give You Goosebumps short-story books, the "Triple Header" novellas, and the Goosebumps TV show.
Every ghost in the series has their own mission, be it to find someone who can be their friend in death, or to carry out some unfinished business.
  • Gratuitous Laboratory Flasks: Not in the books themselves, really, but depictions of twisty turny flasks and beakers and tubing were used on the covers for Jekyll and Heidi and the first reissue of Stay Out of the Basement.
  • "Groundhog Day" Loop: Escape From Shudder Mansion ends with Riley pushing the reset button in the eponymous house, which brings him back to the start of the night to go through all the horrors again. Since he lost his memory, it's likely he will push the reset button again.
  • Greater-Scope Villain:
    • In The Werewolf of Fever Swamp the eponymous werewolf is the main villain. The swamp itself however, comes off as this.
    • The Haunted School has Mr. Chameleon, the sinister photographer who sent the children to Grayworld in the first place. Even worse, he's still alive in the present day.
    • Jimmy Steranko, The Masked Mutant's comic creator... possibly.
    • Alexander's unseen criminal employer from Deep Trouble.
    • The Headless Ghost has the ghostly sea captain who decapitated Andrew, although he's slightly more sympathetic than other examples.
  • Grey-and-Gray Morality: Surprisingly. Quite a few of the protagonists (Evan, Sarah, Greg, Todd, etc.) can be insufferably selfish assholes, while some of the monsters and antagonists have sympathetic motivations for their evil.

  • 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.
  • Hate Sink: More often than not, the human side-characters prove to be far more despicable than any of the monsters or supernatural entities. You can't exactly hate lonely ghosts and inhuman creatures. Greedy and stupid adults or sadistic children, on the other hand...
  • Here We Go Again!: A great many of the twist endings, notably Say Cheese and Die, The Haunted Mask, and Revenge of the Lawn Gnomes. Invasion of the Body Squeezers sees the invasion averted... only for the protagonist to see red aliens arrive on meteorites similar to the Body Squeezers.
    • This is actually defied for once at the end of Broken Dolls. Someone sends Tamara a doll that resembles the creepy doll maker, but instead of ending the story there, Tamara decides to goad her brother into breaking the doll before anything can happen.
  • Horrible Judge of Character: Uncle Ben in the Mummy books, and Dr. Deep in Deep Trouble.
  • Horror Comedy: The books are often a combination of a scary and goofy at the same time. Although in some cases this is more due to Narm than a deliberate stylistic choice. However, R.L. Stine has said that he often includes comedy so that things never get too real.
  • Horror Doesn't Settle for Simple Tuesday: There have been several stories set around various holidays
    • Christmas Episode: The Curse of the Mummy's Tomb, More & More & More Tales to Give You Goosebumps, and The 12 Screams of Christmas.
    • Halloween Episode:
      • General: All of The Haunted Mask stories, as well as Still More Tales to Give You Goosebumps.
      • Goosebumps: Attack of the Jack-O'-Lanterns and Werewolf Skin
      • Give Yourself Goosebumps: One Night in Payne House and Trick or... Trapped!
      • Haunted Library: "The Halloween Game"
      • Goosebumps Series 2000: Headless Halloween and Full Moon Fever
      • HorrorLand: Weirdo Halloween
      • Hall of Horrors: The Five Masks of Dr. Screem
      • Most Wanted: Zombie Halloween, Trick or Trap, and The Haunter
    • New Year Has Come: Slappy New Year!
    • Easter: Egg Monsters From Mars
  • Horror Hunger: Full Moon Fever. The protagonists turn into wolf-like monsters who are constantly hungry, eating anything they come across.
  • Human Aliens: Used as Twist Ending in Attack of the Jack-O'-Lanterns, My Best Friend is Invisible, and Welcome to Camp Nightmare. Also, the Tales story Aliens in the Garden.
  • Humans Are Cthulhu: Utilized as part of the twist ending of My Best Friend Is Invisible. Brent is revealed to be a human, much to the disgust of Sammy and his family, who find what we consider to be normal features absolutely abhorrent.
  • Humans Are the Real Monsters: A surprisingly recurring theme. Examples include Deep Trouble, Egg Monsters From Mars, How I Got My Shrunken Head, and How I Learned To Fly.
  • Humanity Ensues: Why I'm Afraid of Bees, Stay Out of the Basement, and My Hairiest Adventure.
  • Hunting the Most Dangerous Game: The Horror at Chiller House has Jonathan Chiller and his hunters hunting for kids under the guise of a scavenger hunt.



  • Jerkass: A good number of these types of characters can be found in pretty much all these books. Special mention goes to Mr. Saur from Say Cheese and Die — Again, Larry from Welcome To Camp Nightmare, Judith from Be Careful What You Wish For..., Conan and Kermit from the Monster Blood series, Todd from Go Eat Worms, Mickey from The Barking Ghost, Chuck and Steve from The Haunted Mask series, and practically everyone who isn't Ricky or Iris in Calling All Creeps, most notoriously Wart, Jared, David, and Brenda.
  • Jerkass Has a Point: Oftentimes, when the protagonist first discovers whatever paranormal thing is going on in the book, he tells someone, (usually a teacher) who just blows him off, and we are meant to see them as a jerk for doing this, even though in the vast majority of cases their only evidence is their unverifiable say so, meaning most people who aren't Super Gullible would be skeptical.


  • Kid Hero: Unfortunately, the protagonists don't always aspire to this. The closest examples are probably Hannah from The Ghost Next Door, Skipper from Attack of the Mutant, and both Billies from Welcome To Camp Nightmare and Deep Trouble.
  • Kids Are Cruel: Oh, so many. Several books contain bullies the same age as the main character (most of whom are 12 years of age) who display absolutely no redeeming qualities and are defined solely for their nasty, bullying ways. Examples include Conan Barber from the Monster Blood books, Judith from Be Careful What You Wish For, and Brandon (a unique instance of a bully being the main character) and his best friend Cal from Headless Halloween.


  • Lack of Empathy: Many of the parents and adults, but special nods go towards Tara Webster, Brandon Plush, Mr. Saur, Conan, Micah, Judith, the counselors at Camp Nightmoon, and the Horrorland Horrors.


  • Mad Scientist: Almost too many to count; Margaret and Casey's dad (and the clones he made) in Stay Out of the Basement, Evan's cousin Kermit in Monster Blood III, Larry's "doctor"note  in My Hairiest Adventure, Sam's parents in My Best Friend is Invisible, and Erin's father in A Shocker on Shock Street. Often the mad scientist (or some sort of researcher who, if not specifically "Mad", is at least a jerk who does his job due to promises of money and prestige) 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 (parts one and two and the TV version that had part two's plot and part one's title), and Egg Monsters from Mars.
  • Magic A Is Magic A: Apparently, the magical raven from Revenge 'R' Us has an arbitrary rule attached: if you use it to cast three curses in one day, the 4th one affects you as well as your target.
  • Magic Hair: In Who's Your Mummy?, Abby and Peter's hair contains a rare protein that keeps mummies alive.
  • Magical Camera:
    • The Haunted School has a camera that acts as a portal to another dimension.
  • Magic Mirror: Let's Get Invisible, 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.
  • Malevolent Masked Men: Kind of inverted in with The Lord High Executioner and The Masked Mutant. When the former shows up in Terror Tower, he instead appears as a quiet man in a black cape and hat — though the TV version has him as a more sinister man who doesn't wear a mask. The latter spends most of his book in the form of a twelve year old girl. Neither show their masks until their true nature is revealed.
  • 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 to eat him alive. They also did this because too many monsters at one place endangers The Masquerade to humans.
    • The giant worm in Go Eat Worms that attacks Todd for his experiments with her babies.
  • Mandatory Twist Ending: The series does 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 a doctor who wanted couples to have children, but the serum he injected them with wasn't stable enough to keep the dogs as kids forever.
    • Welcome To Camp Nightmare, which takes place on an alien planet, mentioned in the final sentences.
    • 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 who have taken over the Earth and have found the last human, who was seen as invisible so the aliens wouldn't spot him.
  • Mental Time Travel: Stuck in 1957 is about a girl who finds a pair of glasses that send her to the eponymous year. Only for some reason the girl appears to have a completely separate life in this year, including another family, so it's more like she's been sent into another universe.
  • Medium Awareness: The Masked Mutant. He also uses this to lure Skipper into a trap, since the boy reads all his stories.
  • Middle Child Syndrome: Robby's brother Sam in Dr. Maniac Vs Robby Shwartz. This becomes his motivation for becoming Dr. Maniac.
  • Mind Screw: I Live in Your Basement is this... and then some.
  • Mirror Monster:
    • Lets Get Invisible features a mirror that turns you invisible, but if you stay invisible too long, your reflection forces you to switch places with it.
    • The final Series 2000 book, Ghost in the Mirror, which has a mirror doubling as a portal to a dimension of bodysnatching crab people.
  • Most Writers Are Adults
  • Mundanger: It's very rare to encounter a Goosebumps book that doesn't feature fantasy or supernatural elements. The Series 2000 books Are You Terrified Yet? and Scream School are among the few that qualify.
  • Mutagenic Food: Guess what eating the carrot in Amaz-O's magic hat in Bad Hare Day turns you into.
  • My Beloved Smother: Marco's mother in I Live In Your Basement is incredibly overprotective of him, even going as far to prevent Marco from sharpening his pencils because she believes he'll poke his eye, much to Marco's annoyance.
  • My Master, Right or Wrong: The Lord High Executioner may or may not have been loyal to the former king and queen. But when the siblings' usurper uncle ordered their death, the executioner intends to do so without question.


  • Nails on a Blackboard: This is what anyone banished to the The Chalk Closet is forced to listen to for all eternity.
  • Names to Run Away from Really Fast: Tara the Terrible. She really lives up to it.
    • In Earth Geeks Must Go, the protagonist is offered the opportunity to return to earth in a spaceship invented by someone known as "Crazy Ol' Phil." This ends about as well as you would expect.
  • Negative Continuity: Most of the sequels ignore the twist endings of the previous books, and sometimes other plot elements.
    • In the ending of Deep Trouble, Billy is attacked by a sea monster. In Deep Trouble II he's alive and well with no mention of what happened in the previous book.
  • Nephewism: It's very common for the books to feature a visit to aunts / uncles with little or no mention of parents; or an orphaned protagonist that lives with an aunt / uncle. Special mention goes to Alex in Werewolf Skin, whose parents leave him with his aunt and uncle apparently indefinitely and he starts going to school there.
  • Nervous Wreck: Shep Mooney in The Ghost of Slappy is pretty much constantly in a state of panic even before Slappy comes along. This is largely because he's frightened of the ghost in his basement, but he's nervous and twitchy even when he is nowhere near her.
  • Nested Story Reveal:
    • Done in Be Afraid—Be Very Afraid!. Twice. Both times, the chapter cuts off with "You Finish The Story", and the next chapter starts with a person reacting with disgust to this reveal.
    • The majority of Dr. Maniac Vs. Robby Schwartz is revealed to be a comic strip Robbie was doing, which his mother is reading over his shoulder after he finishes it.
  • Never Trust a Title: Often, the eponymous ghost/monster/whatever isn't the real enemy. Examples include Curse of the Mummy's Tomb, The Abominable Snowman of Pasadena and Frankenstein's Dog.
    • The Haunter does not feature any ghost that goes under that name, and he is no more of a haunter than any other ghost in the series.
    • The Birthday Party of No Return has only one scene taking place at a birthday party, which is just used for a dramatic setting for the climax of the story and doesn't intrinsically have anything to do with the problem at hand (the protagonist being affected by a cursed artefact.)
    • The Haunted Mask and The Haunted School don't involve ghosts of any kind.
  • New House, New Problems: A common setup for the books is the protagnist moving to a new house, only for it to contain some sort of evil. Notable examples includeWelcome to Dead House, in which the house is in a town full of living dead, and It Came From Beneath the Sink, where the house is home to a monster that causes bad luck.

  • Nightmare Face:
    • The covers of The Haunted Mask and its sequel, which both depict horrific-looking masks looking directly at you.
    • The evil, snarling, red-eyed dog on the cover of The Barking Ghost.
    • The skeletal girl on the cover of Curse of Camp Cold Lake. The all-the-way-open and unblinking eyes don't help.
    • The Creature Teacher: bug-eyed, baring several rows of sharp teeth, and practically screaming at you.
    • Return to Ghost Camp. Is that skeleton ghost even human, or is it far too twisted and gnarled to even be human?
  • No Antagonist: One instance is The Headless Ghost, where the bulk of the story is just Duane and Stephanie looking for said ghost's head. The ghost himself,Andrew, doesn't appear until the end and wants nothing more than to be complete so he can leave for the afterlife. The other spirits are fairly harmless, two of them acting as tour guides of Hill House, while another just plays pranks on guests. The closest thing to a villainous ghost is the Sea Captain, and he's gone long before the events of the book.
  • No Longer with Us: This happens in Be Careful What You Wish For. When Samantha asks why Judith and her friend aren't at school, the nurse tells her, "They're gone." Samantha panics for a moment, but the nurse clarifies that they weren't well enough to come to class and had to see the doctor.
  • Nonindicative Name:
    • In The Girl Who Cried Monster, Lucy's family lives in the town of Timberland Falls. But its name is this trope — as Lucy herself puts it, "There are a few forests outside of town, but nobody cuts the trees down for timber. And there aren't any falls. So, why Timberland Falls?"
    • You'd expect Series 2000 to start at the turn of the millennium, right? Well, it actually debuted at the start of 1998 and ironically ended at the start of 2000.
    • The book Revenge Of The Lawn Gnomes never explains exactly what the gnomes are getting revenge for. Same goes for Slappy in Revenge of the Living Dummy
  • Non-Malicious Monster: Most of the various ghosts in the stories turn out to be this, but friendly. There's also the eponymous Egg Monsters From Mars.
  • Nothing Is Scarier:
    • Ghost Camp. We're told the entirety of Camp Spirit Moon except for the Altmans are ghosts, killed untold years ago by a black fog. But it's never explained how the fog actually killed them nor why it happened in the first place. At least with Welcome To Dead House we know where the gas leak came from, but with Ghost Camp there were so many unanswered questions about what really happened to Camp Spirit Moon. Even worse, it's implied the fog contains trapped spirits that tried to leave the camp on their own, and we're never told how the other campers discovered this.
    • Mr. Chameleon from The Haunted School is, judging by the impact of his actions, one of the most horrific characters in the series. We never actually meet him, or learn who or what he is or why he's sending children to the Grayworld.
  • Not Using the "Z" Word: Jekyll and Heidi, features a monster that most likely is a werewolf or at least something very similar to one, although this in not immediately obvious because the protagonist incorrectly thinks it is a different kind of monster for most of the book, but even after The Reveal of the monster's true nature makes it obvious that the monster is a werewolf, the word "werewolf" is never used in the book.
    • Full Moon Fever also pulls this, despite a full moon seemingly being the cause of the fever. Grandpa John even calls this out but the book still insists they aren't werewolves.
  • Not-So-Imaginary Friend:
    • My Best Friend is Invisible. The invisible friend is the last survivor of an alien invasion of the Earth. The main character and his parents are actually alien abominations.
    • Subverted with Good Friends. It turns out that the main character's best friend and bratty sister, who has an imaginary friend herself, are in fact imaginary themselves.
    • In The Ghost of Slappy, others assume Annalee is Shep's "imaginary friend", not believing him when he says she is a ghost and really exists.


  • Oddly Named Sequel: Some of the HorrorLand books serve as sequels to the classic books — but with extremely strange names. Monster Blood for Breakfast! is perhaps a notable example.
  • Our Gnomes Are Weirder: Revenge Of The Lawn Gnomes tells us that lawn gnomes (and presumably other ornaments) are actually living creatures taken from a mystical forest and forced to pose as garden decorations.
    • The gnomes in Planet of the Lawn Gnomes populate the entire planet and the protagonist is one of the robots they created to take care of it during the day
  • Our Monsters Are Weird: Mr. Mortman, King Jellyjam, the Grool, the Beasts and many others.
  • Our Zombies Are Different: The zombies in Why I Quit Zombie School are indeed undead but they are capable of dying for good, and they need a place called "The Reviver Room" to renew their energy or fix any major problems.


  • Paranormal Mundane Item: The books contain lots of those:
    • Full Moon Fever has chocolate bars called "Best" (actually "Beast"; turns people into werewolves) and "Cure" (actually "Curse"; makes people shrink in size) that look like your everyday shop merchandise.
  • Parental Bonus: In Bad Hare Day, Tim complains that his mom takes his sister's karate lessons more seriously than his magic hobby because "girls need to know how to defend themselves". He may feel like The Unfavorite in the family, but his mom does have a point.
  • Parental Favoritism: Seen to sickening effect in Bad Hare Day, Egg Monsters from Mars, Don't Go to Sleep, Dr. Maniac Will See You Now and especially The Cuckoo Clock of Doom.
    • Son of Slappy is notable for having the protagonist be the favorite while his sister is generally dumped on by the parents.
  • Parental Neglect
    • Jack's parents in How I learned To Fly, they do love him but they refuse to take notice of how miserable they're making their son's life after they find out he can fly and start using up all his time to film tv commercials and won't even let him leave the house unless he's wearing the cheesy superhero costume that he wears when filming commercials.
    • Crystal and Cole's parents in Chicken Chicken are this to the point that they don't even notice their children mutating into humanoid chickens.
    • In the short story The Werewolf's First Night, Brian's parents take him to a "summer camp" without counselors (all the campers' parents are staying at a nearby resort) — basically leaving him at the mercy of the other kids. When Brian tries to tell them about what is going on, Dad thinks it might be just a prank but still does nothing, saying Brian should toughen up.
    • The parents in An Old Story are so busy that they often leave their kids at home alone, which gives Dahlia the chance to come in pretending to be their aunt and enact her plan. Unlike some of the other examples, they do at least show regret once they figure out what happend.
  • 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 his kid every day, including ruining his birthday (although he does feel a little bad with how that one prank turned out).
    • In "Santa's Helpers," the kids' mom repeatedly tells them off for bullying Diana and does what she can to protect her youngest daughter. Even so, it's not enough to dissuade Beth and Spenser from mocking their little sister.
  • Platonic Boy/Girl Heroes: Even when the boy and girl heroes aren't best friends, a boy and girl are often grouped together to enforce this trope. Sometimes the boy and girl don't get along that well.
  • Platonic Life-Partners: The series features many story lines 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. Completely averted in How I Learned To Fly.
  • Police Are Useless: In Dr. Maniac Vs Robby Shwartz, some officers are searching for Robby's little brother Sam, and take a random kid assuming it's him, even while he insists he's not Sam.
  • The Prankster: Many characters often venture towards this, more likely the Annoying Younger Siblings, the older siblings, and even some of the protagonists' friends. Special mention goes to Jed from Night of the Living Dummy II (who often shares his pranks for Family Sharing Night and never seems to take it seriously), Mickey from The Barking Ghost (who takes advantage of Cooper being easily scared), Chuck and Steve from The Haunted Mask (who also take advantage of Carly Beth being easily scared despite supposedly being her friends), and even Gary's adult neighbor, Mr. Andretti from Why I'm Afraid of Bees (who loves to scare him with bees, knowing he's afraid of them).
  • Present Tense Narrative: Earth Geeks Must Go! is written this way.
  • Product Placement: American Girl dolls are mentioned by name in Egg Monsters from Mars. Pepsi/Frito Lay did a merchandising tie-in with Goosebumps in the late '90s, leading to Pepsi products turning up in several books like Calling All Creeps. How I Got My Shrunken Head and the short story Don't Sit on the Gronk both feature characters that collect Kooshballs.
  • Pseudo Crisis: At the end of nearly every chapter.
  • Puppet Permutation: This happens to the protagonist of Night of the Puppet People
  • Puppy Love: As noted above, the books almost always featured a strictly platonic Boy-Girl hero setup without any consideration of potential romance between the two, which makes sense given their age or that they were sometimes siblings. There are a few exceptions, though...
    • Steve and Carly-Beth in The Haunted Mask, though any romantic tension between the two is at best distantly implied in the book but made into a major plot point in the TV series.
    • How I Learned to Fly, the rare instance a love triangle (between Jack, his rival Wilson and their crush Mia) features prominently into a Goosebumps book.
    • Gary in Why I'm Afraid of Bees has a big crush on Kaitlin and agrees to go through with the body-switch in order to impress her.
    • Audra is a love interest for Spencer in Attack of the Graveyard Ghouls.
    • Larry in My Hairiest Adventure often comments on how attractive he finds Lily, especially her eyes. This becomes a plot point when he meets a dog with her distinctive heterochromia and realizes it's her.
    • Harry and Lucy in Ghost Camp, particularly with the revelation that she intends to possess his body in order to be able to leave the camp.
    • Sammy Baker from The Haunter has a crush on a girl named Summer and wants to impress her.
    • Ricky in Calling All Creeps has a thing for Iris and gets really excited when she asks him to help her get things ready for a bake sale.



  • Reality Ensues: "The Curse of Camp Cold Lake" has Sarah admitting she can't swim but she can hold her breath, and due to a few days of bullying she convinces her counselor to let her swim alone. No one is wearing lifejackets, and the water isn't buoyant. Cue Sarah diving to the bottom of the lake, holding her breath...and she drowns for real because remember, she can't swim. The counselor was fortunately on the ball and pulled her out while administering CPR. This, plus Sarah forcibly running from an afterlife version of camp, saved her, for the time being at least.
  • 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.
  • Reed Richards Is Useless: This comes up quite a lot, given a lot of the stories about science gone wrong.
    • In Deep Trouble, Dr. Deep tries to sell the captive mermaid to a zoo for 1 million dollars. His assistant betrays him and tries to sell the creature to an underground organization for 3 million. When confronted with this, he points out that a discovery as great as this would be worth far more than what the Zoo had to offer.
    • Mr. Toogle in Piano Lessons Can Be Murder has created a robot that easily fooled a family into thinking it's human, and can program severed hands to move on their own. And he uses all this to play "perfect music".
    • Mr. Wright in A Shocker on Shock Street, much like Mr. Toggle, has created robots that not only easily fool people, but have the capacity to feel emotion. And he uses them to test theme park rides.
  • Revenge of the Sequel: Revenge of the Living Dummy, as well as Bride of the Living Dummy and Son of Slappy

  • Sadist Teacher: A few examples, including Mr. Murphy from Monster Blood II (whose hamster devours the eponymous blood and grows to massive proportions) and Mr. Saur from Say Cheese and Die-Again!. To take it to the extreme, Mrs. Maaargh from Creature Teacher.
  • Saving the Orphanage: In Son of Slappy, the protagnist works for a Youth Center which is on the verge of shutting down and he has to help raise money for it. The show he was going to put on for it goes wrong and we never find out if they managed to raise the money.
  • Shout-Out:
  • 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 protagonist for a Halloween-themed video game.
    • In One Day at Horrorland Lizzy and her family end up being captured by the Horrors and put on a TV game show for monsters, intended to end with them being killed for the audience's amusement.
  • Shrunken Head: In How I Got My Shrunken Head, the protagonist receives a shrunken head from his aunt, who's a scientist researching the island of Baladora. He later finds out that it glows because he possesses "Jungle Magic".
  • Significant Anagram: The name of Mr. Zarwid in Be Afraid-Be Very Afraid! is one for Wizard, which he turns out to be..
  • Sinister Car: In The Haunted Car, the titular car is haunted by the ghost of a girl who took it on a joyride and died. The said ghost attempts to kill the main character several times.
  • Slave Race: The eponymous characters of Revenge of the Lawn Gnomes. Or at least, that's what they claim to be.
  • Sliding Scale of Comedy and Horror: Varies a lot between books. Some are pretty far toward the comedy end (Attack Of The Mutant being a good example) while others are rather dark and have few funny moments (Curse Of The Mummy's Tomb probably being the darkest.)
  • Smug Snake: Wilson in How I Learned To Fly, Courtney in You Can't Scare Me! and the beasts in The Beast From The East.
  • Snake People: Mr. Blankenship in Teacher's Pet and Dr. Crawler in Welcome to Camp Slither.
  • Snowlems: Beware, The Snowman.
  • The Sociopath:
    • Tara Webster, who never shows any signs of compassion or kindness. Considering her age and how long she's been vindictively tormenting her older brother, it's likely she's never going to develop a conscience. Then again, she is erased from existence at the end of the book.
    • Brandon from Headless Halloween is a very rare case in that he's the main character of the book and is without a doubt rotten to the core. He basically lives his life tormenting kids just for kicks, especially younger kids, and he gets off on seeing them be frightened and suffer. It gets to a point that when his mother (who clearly dislikes her son's behavior) forces him to accompany his little sister, cousin and two of his sister's friends to go trick-or-treating on Halloween, he ditches the three girls by leaving them all alone on a dark street and then locks his scared cousin in an abandoned house, all so he can then go scare other kids and steal their candy, then sneaks into his teacher's house to vandalize it and downright abandons his best friend (a bully himself) when they find that there are guard dogs who have caught on to them.
    • Judith from Be Careful What You Wish For, who comes across as downright sadistic in her hatred of Samantha, using basically every waking moment to torment her, never once showing any redeeming characteristics or even the slightest sign that she's not just downright nasty.
    • Micah, Wade's teenage brother in Revenge R Us is basically a teenage male version of the above mentioned Tara Webster, existing solely to make his little sister's life a living hell just because he feels like it.
  • Something Completely Different:
    • You Can't Scare Me: Even though this story does have and mention monsters (the mud monsters said to be the corpses of the town's original settlers who died in a mudslide), most of the focus of the story is on four friends playing scary pranks on a girl named Courtney, who claims that she's not scared of anything, to prove her wrong — with comic results.
    • 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 (Jack's father is an agent who puts his son in cheesy car commercials when he learns that his son can fly while Jack's rival, Wilson, has his own tv show), how celebrities can be "trapped" because of constant media attention and obsessed fans, and the government wanting to know the secrets of Applied Phlebotinum for the good of the country (allegedly). It plays out more like a supernatural satire on the burden of being a celebrity and American's society obsession with success and being famous.
    • 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. And the shark on the cover barely appears at all, ruining any expectations of this book being like a kids' version of Jaws. There is a genuine monster, but its role is relatively small.
    • 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.
    • Fright Camp is also another example of this, as it turns out all the supernatural elements are staged since it's set at a fantasy summer camp run by a famous horror movie director. The short story Thumbprint of Doom also ends up lacking supernatural elements, as well as The Mummy With My Face.
    • The Mummy Walks from the Goosebumps 2000 series is nothing like The Curse of the Mummy's Tomb or The Return of the Mummy from the original Goosebumps series. Instead, it has more adventure and international intrigue (in the book, the main character, who thinks he's going to Florida on vacation, is actually the orphaned prince of a Middle Eastern country who needs to be sent back so he can retrieve a mummy and stop the country's current civil war).
    • Slappy's Nightmare is focused on Slappy rather than the kid who gets him, and serves as a subversion of the typical Slappy book formula.
  • 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, except for the fact that the campers and counselors are ghosts and forever trapped in the summer camp), and Who's Your Mummy?
  • Spoiled Brat: Tara in The Cuckoo Clock of Doom, Brandy in Egg Monsters From Mars and Kermit in the Monster Blood series.
  • Spoiler Cover: The UK cover of Be Careful What You Wish For prominently depicts a bird taking flight. Samantha's bullies repeatedly taunting her to "fly away" makes it pretty easy to work out what this means.
    • I Am Slappy's Evil Twin plays with this, as the eponymous twin is nice for most of the book but the twist reveals he actually was evil the whole time.
  • Stern Teacher: Ms. Vanderhoff in It Came From Beneath The Sink!
  • Stingy Jack: In Attack of the Jack O'Lanterns, the main characters are forced to trick or treat all night by a group of entities that can breath fire with jack o'lanterns for head. The are revealed to be aliens by the end.
  • The Stool Pigeon: Skipper Matthews' sister Mitzi in Attack of the Mutant, who likes to let his dad know when he's reading comics instead of doing his homework. According to Skipper, "Mitzi's hobby is being a snitch."
  • Stopped Reading Too Soon: How to Kill a Monster, the two main characters are trapped inside their grandparent's house with a monster inside. They find a letter from their grandparents telling them they left and warns them about the monster inside. After killing the monster and escaping from the house and into the swamp at night, they continue reading the letter explaining their grandparents lock them inside for their protection and to prevent them from leaving the house because there are more monsters in the swamp and they come out at night. After they finish reading, the kids have no idea what they are going to do next.
  • The Story That Never Was: In Be Careful What You Wish For Samatha Byrd gets a gift of three wishes from the witch Clarissa. But, as expected, all these wishes come with terrible side effects. At the end, Samatha's uses her final request to wish that she had never met Clarissa.
  • Stranger in a Strange School: Earth Geeks Must Go! A boy's first day of school becomes increasingly disturbing as his teachers write their lessons in a language he doesn't recognize, he has no idea how to use the school's computers, and during lunch he finds out his classmates are eating their food through holes in their armpits. The boy learns he's really on another planet, and so are his sister and their dad.
    • Also used as the premise for the Triple Header story Ghoul School, and Why I Quit Zombie School.
  • Stripping the Scarecrow: The Scarecrow, a short story about three kids who discover a mysterious scarecrow set up in front of an abandoned house has got articles of clothing they all want. Two of the kids take things off the scarecrow, but strange things start happening to them, leaving the third kid scared something will happen to her while trying to fight back the temptation of taking the scarecrow's gloves for herself. It turns out it was all a prank set up by the other two kids, but that doesn't explain why the scarecrow is suddenly smiling at the end.
  • Summer Campy:
    • Welcome to Camp Nightmare.
    • Ghost Camp.
    • The Curse of Camp Cold Lake.
    • Fright Camp.
    • Return to Ghost Camp.
    • Escape from Camp Run-For-Your-Life from the Give Yourself Goosebumps series.
    • Welcome to Camp Slither from the Horrorland series.
    • The short stories P.S. Don't Write Back, The Werewolf's First Night and Poison Ivy.
    • Most Wanted gives us Creature Teacher: The Final Exam.
  • Super OCD: Joe's sister Mindy in Revenge of the Lawn Gnomes has this.
  • Surprisingly Happy Ending: This occasionally happens, with some twists actually rendering the entire story happier (or, in the case of The Ghost Next Door, bittersweet) in hindsight. The best example is in A Night in Terror Tower, in which the protagonists escape the executioner and travel to the future with Morgred, apparently with no strings attached.
    • A fairly common ending is the result of a Tomato Surprise, resulting in an Esoteric Happy Ending with intentional Protagonist-Centered Morality in play (for example, The Girl Who Cried Monster ends with the protagonist's parents revealing that their entire family consists of monsters, morbidly eating the librarian she thought was the monster, and telling her that they can't have too many monsters around, or else the humans will get suspicious.)
  • Swamps Are Evil:
    • The Werewolf of Fever Swamp. Both in the usual method, and apparently literally.
    • How to Kill a Monster, home of the eponymous reptilian swamp monster.
    • Here Comes The Shaggedy features one that has a monster that becomes your slave when summoned, and has another, more dangerous but similar looking monster .
  • Switching P.O.V.: The last couple of chapters of I Am Your Evil Twin are from the perspective of the protagonist's cousin/sister Nan, rather than the protagonist himself.

  • Taken for Granite: The short story "How I Won My Bat".
  • Take Over the World: The goal of the Masked Mutant, The Creeps, and Hyborg-Xrxuz/ Mrs. Hardesty in My Friends Call Me Monster.
  • Teens Are Monsters: With a few exceptions, teenagers are usually portrayed as completely condescending or just downright nasty Kick the Dog bullies to the main characters and their friends (who are almost always 11-12 in the novels), which could make sense since their most often the older siblings of the protagonist and being portrayed through the younger kid's most likely somewhat biased point-of-view. Special mention, of course, goes to the Beymer twins in Monster Blood, Mickey in The Barking Ghost, Greg and Pam in Don't Go To Sleep, Micah in Revenge R Us, and, in both a figurative and literal sense, the Creeps in Calling All Creeps.
  • Telepathy: The power Jillian gains in Help! We Have Strange Powers!
  • That's No Moon!: Ghost Camp has "WHY ARE YOU STANDING ON MY HEART?"
  • Theatre Phantom: In The Phantom of the Auditorium, Brooke Rogers and Zeke Matthews are chosen to play Esmeralda and The Phantom in their school's version of The Phantom of the Opera, but a chain of accidents impede production and threaten to have Zeke kicked off the cast.
  • Theme Twin Naming: Kyle and Kara, the twin bullies who live next door to the protagonist in The Abominable Snowman of Pasadena, Ginger's younger twin brothers Nat and Pat in The Beast from the East, Shane and Shana in Attack of the Jack O' Lanterns, Slappy and Snappy in I Am Slappy's Evil Twin, and the protagonists of Help! We Have Strange Powers!, Jackson and Jillian.
  • This Loser Is You: Goosebumps protagonists tended to be nonathletic, dorky, social outcast bully magnets. Very rarely, if ever, was the protagonist of a book tough or popular. Steve Boswell from The Haunted Mask 2 is an exception as he was the main bully in the first book.
  • Three Wishes: Be Careful What You Wish For. First Samantha Byrd wishes that she would be the strongest member of the basketball team, but everyone else becomes weak. Then she wishes for Judith to stop bugging her, but everyone disappears. After Samantha resets the wishes, Judith accidentally wishes "Byrd, why don't you fly away?", turning her into a bird. Wade also ends up getting three wishes in Revenge R Us
  • Through the Eyes of Madness: I Live In Your Basement and, when put into proper context A Shocker on Shock Street.
  • Title Drop: Some happen in the indivual books but Slappy does for the whole franchise in the very end of The Street of Panic Park. He also drops the name of Slappyworld in the first entry.
  • Time-Travel Episode: The Cuckoo Clock of Doom, A Night in Terror Tower, Heads, You Lose! and the short story Stuck in 1957.
  • Tomato in the Mirror:
    • A Shocker On Shock Street: Erin and Marty are robots, and are deactivated by their creator.
    • Vampire Breath: Count Nightwing is Freddy's grandfather, meaning that he is a vampire himself.
    • My Hairiest Adventure: Larry is a dog who was turned into a human, and he reverts back to his real form.
    • Planet of the Lawn Gnomes: A double whammy where they are all robots on an alien planet.
    • How I Met My Monster: Noah is a monster, as is everyone in his apartment building.
    • The Lizard of Oz: Kate and her family are shape shifting lizards and her getting bitten by the lizard they bought from Australia did nothing to make her transform. She was turning already.
    • The Werewolf's First Night from More Tales to Give You Goosebumps: While the other kids were just pretending to be werewolves to prank him, Brian discovers he's a genuine werewolf, and proceeds to chase all the others in revenge for the prank.
  • Tomato Surprise:
    • The Girl Who Cried Monster: Not only is the librarian a monster, so is Lucy and her whole family
    • My Best Friend Is Invisible: Sammy and his family are actually members of a hostile species of alien who invaded the Earth years ago and replaced humanity, and his invisible friend is really a young human boy who managed to hide by remaining invisible.
    • Welcome To Camp Nightmare: Billy is a Human Alien, the camp is not on Earth, and the events are his last test before he is sent to infiltrate human society.
    • Something Strange About Marci from More & More Tales to Give You Goosebumps: The narrator spends the whole story wonder what's up with Marci, why she carries around a strange briefcase, and why she doesn't look like any of his friends. The twist is that Marci is a human scientist and the narrator and his friends are orangutans.
    • A Vampire in the Neighborhood: Helga isn't a vampire, but the main kids are.
    • Planet of the Lawn Gnomes: All the humans are actually all alien robots.
    • Spin The Wheel Of Horror: ' The family turns out to be all real monsters, and they eat the host of the game show.
    • Aliens in the Garden: The story is actually set on another planet and the titular aliens were actually humans.
    • Marshmellow Surprise: The kids are actually werewolves and eat the mean neighbor woman.
  • Too Dumb to Live:
    • Skipper in Attack of the Mutant. He sees a building vanishing and reappearing, learning it was covered by a hologram. It also ostensibly belongs to a supervillain. So what does he do? Go inside the building after verifying it was real. Unsurprisingly, the Mutant has plans where Skipper doesn't live.
    • Sarah from The Curse of Camp Cold Lake can't swim, but she can hold her breath and her bunkmates have been bullying her. So she convinces the counselor to let her swim in the lake alone during the activity and tries to pretend to drown. Only...she drowns for real. It's only her refusal to move onto the afterlife with Della and the counselor administering CPR that she lives.
    • 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.
  • 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. Cue the chills, as the book ends with the heroes alone, far away from town, and in a marsh filled with these hungry, soon to awaken creatures. Hopefully the other monsters are allergic to humans too.
  • 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.
  • Trapped with Monster Plot: How to Kill a Monster is about a a girl and her stepbrother who are sent off to stay with their backwoods relatives in the countryside for a while, their enormous house located in a swamp. Then their caretakers take an unannounced trip to town when they discover that a swamp monster was sleeping in the basement, which they accidentally woke up, leaving the kids alone and locked inside the house with it.
  • Treacherous Advisor: There's also the Duke of Earle and the court wizard Henway in Heads, You Lose!.
  • Tricking the Shapeshifter: Attack of the Mutant, where Skipper tells The Masked Mustant that his weakness is sulphric acid. The mutant can't survive mutating into liquids, so he melts.
  • Troperiffic: Inevitable, considering how long it's run.
  • Twist Ending: Usually on the last page, maybe even last paragraph, of almost every book. Many variations, including Tomato in the Mirror, Here We Go Again!, Dead All Along, The Bad Guy Wins, From Bad to Worse, and the occasional Karmic Twist Ending. Many of them were also Cruel Twist Endings.

  • Uncanny Valley Makeup: In The Haunted School, Talia wears such heavy makeup that she looks completely unnatural and even creepy (she is only twelve years old), leading to bullying from her classmates. It turns out this is because she escaped from the colorless world and her skin is completely gray.
  • Undead Child: Just about every single ghost story has these.
  • Undercover Cop Reveal: In Here Comes the Shaggedy, Saul, a supposed Swamp Hermit, turns out to be an FBI agent who has come to investigate the eponymous monster.
  • The Unfavorite: Amy in Night of the Living Dummy II, Michael in The Cuckoo Clock of Doom, Wade in Revenge R Us, Matt in Don't Go to Sleep, Dana in Egg Monsters from Mars, Tim in Bad Hare Day, and Richard Dreezer in Dr. Maniac Will See You Now
  • Universal Remote Control: The short story "Click" is about a boy who comes across an advertisement for a "Universal Remote Control" sold by The Little Shop That Wasn't There Yesterday that works on reality itself. He quickly starts to abuse it for various petty reasons, like cheating on a school exam, which eventually alienates him from his best friend. At the end, he accidentally makes the world vanish when he presses the "OFF" button in frustration, only to find that the batteries have run out.
  • Unreliable Narrator: A Shocker On Shock Street and Planet of the Lawn Gnomes
  • Untranslated Title: When four of the most books were rereleased in Sweden in 2015, the series was called Goosebumps, just like the movie released the same year.


  • Vampire Episode: "Vampire's Breath" and the Give Yourself Goosebumps book "Please Don't Feed the Vampire". Also, the short stories A Vampire in the Neighborhood and The Ice Vampire.
  • Valentine's Day Episode: A portion of How I Learned to Fly' is set on the birthday of a girl who was born on Valentine's Day. The book also happens to be one of the few that is focused on romance.
  • Vanity Is Feminine: Bonnie-Sue in the short story Mirror Mirror on the Wall. Another short story, Stuck in 1957, features a very vain girl who chooses to return to being trapped in the past, rather than face returning to school with an unflattering haircut.
  • Vomit Indiscretion Shot: The Goosebumps 2000 series loved this trope.
  • Villain-Based Franchise: With Slappy, especially with the Slappy World series.
  • Villain Protagonist:
    • Slappy's Nightmare is written in the evil dummy Slappy's POV and is Slappy having to do three good deeds in order to stay animated.
    • Brandon Plush from Headless Halloween, big time. To wit, the first five or so chapters of Headless Halloween focus on how Brandon is an incorrigible sociopath who loves tormenting others, especially little kids, for sick pleasure.


  • A Weighty Aesop: Attack of the Jack-O'Lanterns presents this in Space Whale Aesop format. Near the end, the man-eating aliens warn the kids not to eat too much candy, or they'll end up as dessert some day.
  • Wham Line: A lot of the twist endings are presented in this manner; doubly so if it's the last sentence of the book.
  • What Cliffhanger: Practically every other chapter.
  • What Could Possibly Go Wrong?: This verbatim quote, and numerous variations of it, is often uttered by characters who are about to do a task that usually will end in disastrous results later on.
  • What You Are in the Dark: Diana in "Santa's Helpers" finds out that Santa's elves are real and holding her older siblings hostage, having mistaken them for runaway workers. She comes to answer the door, and Beth and Spenser tell her that they are family. The elves ask Diana if the kids are her sisters. Diana takes a moment. Then she calmly points out that they always said she was not their sister, and they also said Santa wasn't real. Cue the elves dragging her siblings back to the North Pole, and Diana cheerfully asks them to tell Santa she was good this year. Yeah, Diana failed this, but you can see why since the twins are monsters.
  • White Hair, Black Heart: Kermit and the bully twins in the Monster Blood series and Della in The Curse of Camp Cold Lake are all described as having "white-blond hair".
  • Who Writes This Crap?!: In Be Afraid — Be Very Afraid! when the protagonists comment twice on the cop out reveal that it's a story within a story ending with the words "You finish the story." This is done twice.
  • Who's Laughing Now?: Ricky at the end of Calling All Creeps, when he decides to become the Creep Commander for real, and all of his bullies will end up being his slaves.
  • With Friends Like These...: Given that a lot of the protagonists are Straw Losers, often enough their friends turn out to be total dicks who will sell them out, turn on them, or abandon them in their time of need. Especially terrible friends include Chuck and Steve from The Haunted Mask, Roxanne from My Best Friend Is Invisible and Adam from The Blob That Ate Everyone.
  • World of Jerkass: Every book has at least one jerk. But the one that fits this trope the best out of all of them is easily Calling All Creeps, in which everyone, except Ricky and Iris, are all assholes.
  • Worthless Yellow Rocks: In one of the strangest cases of this, considering that the U.K. has a Finders Keepers law about finding ancient coins and treasures in real life, a cab driver doesn't recognize the money that Eddie and Sue pay him as gold. While it may be plausible for him to think they're playing a joke on him, the U.K. values such treasures.
  • Worthy Opponent: The Masked Mutant considers Skipper this, because he knows everything about him and no other superheroes were able to defeat him.
  • Would Hurt a Child: By virtue of the protagonists always being kids or preteens, nearly all the villains are perfectly willing to harm children — some even make them their primary targets.


  • You Are What You Hate: Larry in My Hairiest Adventure is frightened of dogs and can't understand why they always chase him. It turns out he is a dog who was temporarily transformed into a human. He changes back at the end.
  • You Have to Believe Me!: A very common staple of the series is the protagonist discovering the book's main villainous threat, telling people, and having them dismiss them. One of the short stories is even called Ya Gotta Believe Me!


Video Example(s):


Goosebumps [Gwendolyn's Reveal]

Scene from the Goosebumps tv series, thirty sixth episode - Vampire's Breath. Freddy and Cara wind up chased into an underground lair where Nightwing's vampire minion rest. They run into a girl, Gwendolyn, who claims she's a human slave of the vampires and offer help. When Nightwing capture Cara and holds her hostage for his vial of Vampire's Breath. Gwendolyn calls for Freddy to throw him the vial which he does... only for her to reveal her true nature.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (2 votes)

Example of:

Main / FaceRevealingTurn

Media sources:

Main / FaceRevealingTurn