Payne House is the town's most haunted house, and also the setting of "your" favorite horror movie. And it's where you and a friend have been dared to spend the Halloween night. But there's only one way to survive it, and that's to make the right choices.
This book provides examples of:
- Anti-Frustration Features: The ending where you get tricked by a floating head into stepping into a library with no floor, has the book point out that some of the false information the head gave you was actually true and to remember it for next time - though you still have to decide what parts you choose to believe.
- Bedsheet Ladder: An option in this book and in fact it's how you'll reach the only good ending.
- Halloween Episode: The first of two in the Give Yourself Goosebumps line, set on Halloween night.
- Haunted House: The titular Payne House, which is full of ghosts and monsters.
- Here We Go Again!: This book has only one good ending, but that ending is this trope — you end up going back into the house for proof you were there.
- Inventory Management Puzzle: This book makes the reader choose three items out of a possible twelve. Grabbing even one wrong item will eventually lead you to failure, whether immediate or prolonged.
- Killed Mid-Sentence: In one ending, you reason that as the monsters of Payne House were used in the Payne House movie, they'd stop attacking if you yell "Cut!" like a director. When you try this, a skeleton cuts a chandelier directly above you and you only have enough time to say "That's not what I...!" before you are killed.
- Luck-Based Mission: You choose three of twelve items, and if you choose even one wrong item or go one incorrect route, you'll hit a bad ending. It's next to impossible to beat this one without running into nearly every bad ending in the book.
- Nintendo Hard: This book has only one (ambiguously) good ending, which is hard to get to without reaching almost every bad ending in the book. This is lampshaded with the front cover reading "THERE'S ONLY ONE WAY OUT." (Instead of READERS BEWARE: YOU CHOOSE THE SCARE) and the blurb on the back of them.
- No Ending: This book has an "ending" where you run screaming through the house after someone startles you. The book then tells you that your friend was responsible — but the story just ends there abruptly without explaining why it's the end.
- No Fair Cheating: This book, which uses an inventory puzzle, has an ending that punished you if you claim to have picked up an item that it's not possible for you to have acquired.
- Non Standard Game Over: In this book, if you don't know a certain clue from a Goosebumps book, you can't continue any further as the clue is essential to surviving the story).
- Pop-Cultural Osmosis Failure: Early in the book, the reader's character makes a reference to the Tongue Thing from the Payne House movie, but their friend Trevor doesn't understand - it is only then that the reader remembers that Trevor hasn't seen the movie.
- Rule of Three: A possible ending of this book is that you try to defend yourself with a baseball bat against a monster, but you miss three times and are then killed for this reason.
- This Loser Is You: In this book, cheating an inventory mission results in the book scolding you for it.
- Too Dumb to Live: In the one good ending of this book, you and your friend Trevor managed to escape Payne House, but both of you would've died without the help of two trick-or-treating teens helping you out of the house when you two were dangling from a white sheet. When both of you try to convince them that you survived the worst ordeal, and were bummed out that they didn't believe you, you two dare each other to go back in and get some proof so people will believe you, despite nearly dying that night in so many ways.
- The Walls Are Closing In: Happens to you in this book when you encounter the Pink Room and need to have brought the right item to free yourself.
- With Friends Like These...: In this book, you can die when your friend lures you into falling to your death. He had been killed earlier in the story and you didn't realize that he was a ghost, so now he doesn't want to haunt the house alone.