Carly Beth is a scaredy cat and is tormented by the bullies Steve and Chuck as a result. One day she gets sick of it and decides to visit a creepy mask shop to find a scary Halloween mask. In a the back room, she finds the perfect fit,but the Shopkeeper refuses to sell it to her. However, she eventually convinces him and brings it home. After she puts on, she starts acting a lot more monstrous. Is the mask doing this to her, and will she be able to put it off?
It recieved two direct sequels. The Haunted Mask II is part of the original series, and follows Steve when he finds a different haunted mask. The Scream of the Haunted Mask, part of the Goosebumps HorrorLand spinoff, continues Carly Beth's story, ignoring the events of The Haunted Mask II.
It was adapted into the very first episode of the TV series.
It was later reissued in the Classic Goosebumps line in 2008 as a companion to The Scream of the Haunted Mask.
The book provides examples of:
- Actually Pretty Funny: At the Science Fair, Steve pretended that a spider from his project escaped, and put a pinching hand on Carly Beth's back. This caused her to scream and knock over her model solar system that she and Sabrina had made. When talking to Carly Beth on Halloween morning, Sabrina admits that it was a dirty trick, but also that it was kind of funny. This prompts an outraged response from Carly Beth.
- All There in the Manual: One of the Collector's Caps books reveals the backstory of the Shopkeeper, although a different one was used for the TV episode.
- Annoying Younger Sibling: Carly Beth's younger brother Noah, who likes to play pranks on her.
- Becoming the Costume: The basis for the story, as the mask basically becomes Carly Beth's skin and makes her act like a monster.
- Belligerent Sexual Tension: Definitely shades of this in Carly-Beth and Steve's relationship in The Haunted Mask, made more explicit in the TV adaptation.
- Blunt "Yes": In the lunchroom, Carly Beth tells Sabrina that she might go as a witch for Halloween, but Sabrina replies that she thought she was afraid of witches. When Carly Beth accused her of thinking that she's a scaredy-cat, Sabrina replies with this trope.
- Chekhov's Gun: Carly Beth's mom makes a plaster of Paris head of Carly Beth, and says she made it because she loves her. Carly Beth later uses it as her symbol of love to defeat the mask.
- Clingy MacGuffin: The eponymous mask from The Haunted Mask. It won't come off without external help.
- Cruel Twist Ending: Carly Beth finally gets the eponymous mask off... only for her brother to try it on for himself.
- Deus ex 'Scuse Me: It happens twice, once with Carly Beth's mom when she is trying to sneak on, and again earlier on with the shopkeeper so she can find the back room.
- Evil Feels Good: The mask makes Carly-Beth feel good about hurting people.
- Foreshadowing: Early on, Carly Beth tells Sabrina maybe she'll scare her someday, to which Sabrina says "No way!". Later on, Carly Beth indeed gets to scare Sabrina with the mask.
- Finger Wag: A mother angrily does this to Carly Beth after she scares her son and a friend of his while wearing the mask.
- Halloween Episode: The first of naturally quite a few in the franchise.
- Here We Go Again!: Carly Beth gets the mask off... but her little brother Noah puts it on.
- I Ate WHAT?!: At the lunch room in the beginning of the book, Carly Beth eats a sandwich and is shocked to find a bitten worm. Chuck assures her that it's rubber, but she pulls it out to find out that it's real, much to her horror. She ends up running out of the lunch room in disgust and humiliation.
- I Got a Rock: At one house while trick-or-treating, Carly Beth is disappointed and outraged that she and Sabrina got green apples. Because she was under the influence of the mask, she waits until she's out on the sidewalk to throw the apples at the house. They hit the house, causing the owner who gave them out to poke his out the front door. This prompts the two girls to run away until the house is no longer in sight.
- Latex Perfection: They might not be latex, but when they're on someone's face, the wearers are mistaken for real monsters.
- The Little Shop That Wasn't There Yesterday: The party store where Carly Beth gets the mask.
- My God, You Are Serious!: When Carly Beth is at Sabrina's house and she tries to get the mask off, she tells her about this. Sabrina thinks it's another one of her pranks she's pulling tonight. But she stops joking when she hears how desperate Carly Beth sounds, and especially when she tries to take the mask off herself and sees the mask blending in with her real skin.
- Never Trust a Title: The mask isn't actually haunted, as far as the reader knows.
- Nightmare Face: The cover of The Haunted Mask depicts a horrific-looking mask looking directly at the reader.
- Our Homunculi Are Different: The Haunted Mask and its kind are disembodied homunculi. Basically, they're artificially grown living faces that desire human hosts, and are said to be created from human faults and sins, similar to the more renowned Homunculi.
- The Power of Love: The Haunted Mask can only be vanquished by a symbol of love. While it does come back time and again, a symbol of love is enough to keep it at bay for a while.
- The Prankster: Chuck and Steve from (who also take advantage of Carly Beth being easily scared despite supposedly being her friends)
- Puppy Love: Steve and Carly-Beth, 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.
- Rapid-Fire "Shut Up!": When Sabrina makes an Innocently Insensitive comment about the mask, saying that she must be sweating like a pig under there, Carly Beth gets angry while under the mask's influence. She responds with this trope, then starts to strangle Sabrina. Luckily, she realizes what she's doing, and releases Sabrina, claiming that she just did that as a joke.
- Reed Richards Is Useless: The Shopkeeper could've revolutionized surgery and ended permanent disfigurement, if he improved on his "mask making" skills.
- Rejected Apology: After the prank he pulled on her at the science fair, Steve called Carly Beth and apologized to her. But she tells Sabrina in a later phone call that she doesn't think an apology is good enough. So, she decides to scare him.
- Tempting Fate: After she gets home with her mask off, she runs into her mother, who asks her what happened. Carly Beth says she'll explain, but everything is fine now. But then Noah immediately comes into the kitchen wearing her mask.
- With Friends Like These...: Apparently Steve and Chuck are supposed to be friends to Sabrina and Carly Beth but given their cruel pranks directed at the latter, it's hard to believe that.
The episode provides examples of:
- Adaptational Heroism: The Shopkeeper. In the book, he sells Carly Beth a mask that he knows is cursed for only $30. In the TV adaptation, he flat out refuses to sell the mask, and Carly Beth winds up stealing it instead.
- Gratuitous Laboratory Flasks: When Carly Beth sneaks into the back room at the costume store, the shopkeeper has a chemistry set on a table for no readily apparent reason which passes by in the foreground. All of the vessels are filled with a bright blue liquid. We later learn he makes the haunted masks himself (and indeed his backstory in the Goosebumps Collector's Cap Book pegs him as a failed chemistry student), but the glassware in the episode doesn't seem to serve much purpose besides being set dressing because the shopkeeper never uses any of it or alludes to its role at all.
- Informed Attribute: Characters are constantly freaked out by Carly Beth's voice when she wears the mask, asking how she's even able to sound like that, when it's very clearly just the actress speaking in a creepy tone. It's possible a filter was meant to go over it and the editors forgot.
- Promoted to Love Interest: Done mildly with Steve and Carly Beth in this episode and its sequel. In the first, Chuck and Steve both claim that they only teased Carly Beth "because we liked her," something the book never mentioned or even hinted at. The sequel episode expands on this.
- Synchro-Vox: Used to depict Carly Beth's head speaking in this episode.