Steve Boswell tormented Carly Beth last year, but after her scary experience she's no longer scared of anything. Steve was so scared by her mask that he has to know where she got it from. She eventually confesses and he and his friend Chuck visit the party store. Steve finds a creepy mask of an old man and steals it. But sure enough, when he puts it on he has a hard time getting it off. And he starts feeling a lot older...
It was loosely adapted into the 11th and 12th episodes of Season 2 of the TV series.
It was reissued in the Classic Goosebumps line in 2018 as a tie-in to the movie Goosebumps 2: Haunted Halloween.
The book provides examples of:
- Agony of the Feet: As part of their pranks against Steve, the first graders make a ball of concrete look like a soccer ball, and dare Steve to kick it. When he does, he screams in agony, and the next chapter shows him limping.
- Asshole Victim: Steve Boswell, a bully who ends up wearing the mask.
- Big "NO!": Steve lets out two in a row as he falls into a mud puddle, ruining the new sweater his mother made him wear for Picture Day.
- Blinding Camera Flash: Before going outside on Halloween, Steve's parents want to take his picture in his "costume". They do so, and because he was wearing a mask that made him feeble and weak, the camera flash gives him spots in his eyes momentarily.
- Change the Uncomfortable Subject: When Carly Beth scares Steve and Chuck and laughs about it with Sabrina, Steve does this trope by asking her about the scary mask she wore last Halloween.
- Contrasting Sequel Main Character: While the first book was about a bullied girl, this one is all about that bully.
- Covered in Mud: After a heavy rain and the sky clearing up, Steve is forced to act as the captain to the first-grade Hogs soccer team. They all end up this way, even Steve himself. He had to explain and apologize to their parents and babysitters about it.
- Creepy Basement: The party store that Steve and Chuck go to in order to get a mask has this. There is a mysterious dripping noise of water, the wind makes echoes down there, and it's dark.
- Dramatically Missing the Point: When Carly Beth tells Steve that the mask can be removed with a symbol of love, providing the sculpted head her mother made her to get hers off as an example, Steve quickly asks her to get the head. But she points out to him that he needs his own symbol of love.
- Everyone Has Standards: Chuck may be a bully who tends to break the rules, but when his best friend Steve wants to break into the party store to steal a mask, Chuck is hesitant to do so. He points out that breaking into someplace and stealing something are illegal.
- Exact Words: When his parents finally see Steve's mask on him, they ask him where he got it. He replies that he got it at a party store. He notes to himself that it was almost the truth, leaving out the fact that it was closed down and he stole it instead of buying it.
- Growing Up Sucks: Steve finds this out the hard way when wearing his mask. He feels weak just by simply walking, he can't eat his favorite cereal with his weakened teeth, and he constantly gets out of breath.
- Gum In Hair: One of the players in the first-grade soccer team, Marnie Rosen, jumped on Steve's back and spit her bubble gum in his hair near his ear. It took him a while to scrape it out.
- Here We Go Again!: Steve gets the mask off, but it ends with Chuck popping up with one he got, and he can't get it off.
- Immediate Self-Contradiction: When discussing with Chuck about pranking the first grade soccer team, Steve tells him that he doesn't want to do anything mean to them. But then he opens his notebook to find it covered with glued-on feathers, to which he replies that maybe he should do something mean to them.
- Innocently Insensitive: When Steve goes outside on Halloween night, he stumbles and limps out the door. His parents are watching this and think it's all part of an act to stay in character as part of his "costume", and laugh. Steve notes that he himself feels like crying.
- Insistent Terminology: When Steve goes down the store basement, he goads Chuck into following him. When Chuck points out that it isn't right to break into basements, Steve replies that they're not "breaking in", as the basement doors were already open. But when the store owner comes downstairs and catches Steve in the act, he tries to use the same excuse about the open door, but isn't believed.
- I Warned You: Carly Beth gives Steve a big one when finding out that he ignored her warnings to not buy a cursed mask and got one anyway.
- Keep Away: Steve asks Carly Beth where she got the scary mask from, but she refuses to tell. So, he and Chuck maek her by taking her plaster of Paris head sculpture of her that her mother made her and tossing it away from her. Steve even calls this by the trope name.
- Kids Are Cruel: Weirdly played with. Jerkass Steve is punished by being made manager of a first grade soccer team. All the kids on the team treat Steve like crap, so much so that, even after the old man mask bonds to his face, he still plans on scaring them as badly as he can. But the kids think Steve actually is an old man and instead of being grossed out or acting mean, they try to be as legitimately helpful and kind as they can be.
- Mythology Gag: At one point Chuck tells Steve he looks like a "Mud Monster or something."
- Nightmare Face: The cover depicts a horrific-looking mask looking directly at the reader.
- Nobody Calls Me "Chicken"!: When Steve tells the first-graders that they should meet him at a supposedly haunted house on Halloween night, they are hesitant to do so. But when he adds that they shouldn't come if they're too wimpy, they all angrily deny this and want to go.
- The Not-So-Harmless Punishment: When Steve is caught trying to sneak a squirrel in the girls' locker room at school, he is given a choice as a punishment. He can either stay after school every day in the gym and inflate basketballs by mouth, or he could coach the first-grade soccer team. He chose the latter because he thought that would be easier. But then he added that it was the wrong choice, as the first graders acted like animals.
- Rapid Aging: The Old Man mask does this to Steve, as he has a hard time getting around and has cravings for oatmeal.
- Stupidest Thing I've Ever Heard: When Steve is dismayed to see the party store closed, meaning he can't buy a scary mask to terrify the first-graders, Chuck tries to cheer him up by saying that they could make a scary mask out of papier-mache. Steve thinks to himself that this was the dumbest idea ever thought up by a human, and believes the kids would just mock him if he tried to scare them with a mask like that.
- Took a Level in Badass: After the events of the first book, Carly Beth is no longer scared of anything and even gets to prank Steve at one point.
- Worth It: On the way to the party store to get a mask, Chuck grumbles to Steve that he'll be in major trouble for missing dinner for this. Steve replies with this trope by name, as he thinks that a new mask would terrify the young soccer team. But when he actually puts the mask on and feels what it does to him, he soon changes his mind.
- Wrong Genre Savvy: When Steve goes to Carly Beth for help, she immediately tells him to find a symbol of love. Too bad this mask is haunted differently, so that doesn't work.
The episode provides examples of:
- Adaptational Alternate Ending: The ending is changed to Steve's dog burying the mask, thwarting its attempts at coming back again.
- Adaptation Expansion: A lot is added to the plot, most notably having the Haunted Mask return and attach itself to the Shopkeeper, becoming the main antagonist.
- Adaptational Heroism: Holding true to his portrayal from the first book's episode, this episode has the Shopkeeper be seen burning all the masks, and he actively attempts to stop Carly Beth's old mask from coming back from the dead to get revenge on her (although he ultimately fails and ends up possessed). None of this happened in the book.
- Adapted Out:
- All of the first-grader soccer members are absent.
- Likewise, neither Carly Beth's father and Steve's father aren't seen nor are they mentioned in the episode.
- Police Are Useless: Discussed. When Chuck suggests that they go to the police for help, Carly Beth responds that the police can't help them with the supernatural.
- Promoted to Love Interest: Steve gets his mask off through The Power of Love when he makes a Heroic Sacrifice to save Carly Beth from the first mask, as saving her is his symbol of love. His attraction to her was stated in the first episode and it is expanded upon here. This wasn't even implied in the book.
- Ship Tease: Steve saves Carly Beth from being taken over by the mask. The shop owner later explains that this was a "symbol of love", implying that Steve may have feelings for Carly Beth.
- Shout-Out: Chuck goes out as a gangster from The Godfather.