My favorite Goosebumps books and how they relate to my life

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Photo used courtesy of Gersberms.
Did you guys ever read Goosebumps? The series of sixty-two books was published in 1992 to 1997 to give younger readers a chance to get creeped out by R.L. Stine before their time, and I was TOTALLY ON BOARD. While I eventually graduated to the Fear Street series (and was subsequently so terrorized I was told to stop reading the books), my heart has always had a special place for Goosebumps and the bizarre-ness it holds.

Before we move forward, let me be clear: while the books seem campy now (and quite a few of them are — they’re usually more mysterious than scary), I remember being positively freaked out by some of the things that happened. I made it out of my Goosebumps stint mostly unscathed, but I wouldn’t suggest these books to your seven-to-twelve-year-old if he or she is a delicate flower. Another post could perhaps be devoted to asking ourselves why someone would create a series of books like this for kids… but for now, let’s just all talk about the ones that freaked us out the most and the way their impact on our adult lives, ‘k?

Say Cheese and Die

R.L. Stine's Say Cheese and Die.

While Welcome to Dead House is the first Goosebumps book that came out, Say Cheese and Die! is the first one I remember reading. The premise is this: this kid Greg finds a camera and proceeds to take photos with it. That’s a totally natural thing to do (apart from trying to find out who the camera belongs to, I suppose), but whatever he takes a photo of changes — he takes one of his dad’s car, but in the photo the car is wrecked… and then his dad actually crashes the car. We wonder: is the camera predicting the future or creating it?

Relevance to my life: considering I spend a considerable amount of my time working as a professional photographer this kind of creeps me out — I mean, seriously?! But so far, all of my clients are happy both in front of and inside the camera. So.. maybe I have a good one.

My Hairiest Adventure

My Hairiest Adventure.

Oh god. I loved My Hairiest Adventure so much that I bought it twice, as my first copy ended up destroyed because I read it all the time. In this one, this kid Larry finds a bottle of “Insta-Tan” in the trash. He and his friends think it would be so cool to have fake tans, and the bottle promises to produce results in a minute. Of course, nothing happens and they end up tossing it.

BUT THEN. I believe Larry is in school when all of the sudden thick, painful hair starts growing all over his body. On his hands, feet, fact, etc. He learn it’s happening to his friends as well — and there’s nothing they can do to get rid of it. I don’t want to get all spoiler-ish on you guys, so I’ll stop there.

Relevance to my life: I am totally obsessed with hair (I wash mine every day, it’s A Thing) and I’ve also almost exclusively (with the exception of one very lovely fellow) been involved with guys who don’t have a lot of chest hair. Could this be because of this freaky book? Maybe.

My Best Friend is Invisible

My Best Friend is Invisible.

Ooh, My Best Friend is Invisible, you’re so freaky. In this one, Sammy is the child of two researchers who only believe in “real” science. Trouble is, Sammy is ALL ABOUT the “unreal” — ghosts and sci-fi. His brother Simon is the opposite, and of course Sammy thinks his parents love Simon more.

Naturally Sammy discovers he has an invisible person named Brent living in his room with him, eating food next to him, and basically just following him around — but no one believes him. It starts to become problematic when Brent starts fucking with Sammy and messing up his life.

Relevance to my life: while this person was good-natured, I totally had an imaginary friend or two. And I mean full-on friend: I talked to them, fed them, etc. I also have always kind of believed in ghosts, so the fact that this book existed at a time during which I was really exploring that idea… oooh man.

TELL ME, TELL ME: what are your faves from the Goosebumps series? I can’t wait to chat it out!

Comments on My favorite Goosebumps books and how they relate to my life

  1. My kids are now 16, 18 and 20. I bought all the Goosebumps books for them and read every one myself as well. Bonding over horror, ya can’t beat it 🙂

  2. zOMG, Say Cheese and Die was super creepy! I also vividly remember The Haunted School. I read a ton of those books.

  3. Oh man, I loved Goosebumps! My elementary school library had the whole collection. I would check out two of them every library day, which was twice a week. But then some parent complained that they were too scary, and suddenly my favorite books were gone. Grr.

    I can’t remember any of them really scaring me, but I DO remember being pretty traumatized by an episode of “Are You Afraid of the Dark?” For a couple years, I had to have music playing while I was falling asleep, ‘cuz if it was quiet, I’d replay the scary old lady screaming about the day she died!

  4. I remember reading one that had clowns in it who were really exconvicts, and it totally instilled a significant fear of clowns in me as a kid (along with that dream sequence from Brave Little Toaster and the movies It and Poltergeist).
    I remember reading the Fear Street Super Chiller series in junior high and I really liked them. The one I remember the most vividly is Silent Night 3, where a spoiled rich girl is trapped in the mall with a serial killer.

    • IT ruined my childhood. I couldnt enjoy baths, walk near gutters and a few other ridiculous things. It screwed me up for YEARS.

  5. I cannot remember the name of the book, it might have been the one where this girl finds out her teacher is an alien/monster? and her parents too. But I believe at the beginning of the story she tells her little brother that there is a monster that eats your toes if you dont cover them or something. I don’t even think it had anything to do with the main story other than she liked to scare her brother. But to this day I cannot sleep without keeping my toes covered. I’m 25. Goosebumps messed me up for life! hahahaha. In general I loved the choose your own adventure ones. Always would go back and try to make sure I didn’t die along the way.

  6. I was more of a ‘Scary Stories to tell in the Dark’ reader and ‘Are you Afraid of the Dark?’ watcher, but those goosebumps books were good too! My favorite was ‘The Scarecrow Stalks at Midnight’ and another one about summer camp. I went to summer camp every year, so I was definitely more careful after reading that! I’ve known school librarians that try to discourage kids from checking out these kind of ‘series’ books and get ‘real’ books (aka Newberry award type books) instead, but hey anything that gets kids reading I’m all for!

  7. Goosebumps was so amazing <3
    There's this one writer for Cracked who does spoofs of Goosebump books that make me cry, I laugh so hard. They're called Tales to Tell Round Midnight. My favorite is Now You Invisible, Now You Don't Invisible.

  8. As an elementary school teacher, I am happy to report that Goosebumps continue to enrapture and frighten young readers. This is easily the most popular series at our school. My personal favorite – “Night of the Living Dummy”. So freaky!!

  9. IT CAME FROM BENEATH THE SINK!
    These should be labeled with a warning: do not watch the television show. Did you SEE that sponge? Ridiculous.

    My 9 year old wanted to read these, but gets really scared. I started reading “The Haunted Mask” to him and he sits there horrified while I am thinking “this is so stupid and not scary at all.” Oh to be a kid again! I read very few as a kid because they were so scary. I always borrowed them from the library and used the due date as an excuse to turn it in without reading. “Oh…I forgot!” Wuss.

  10. It Came From Beneath the Sink!!! I was trying to remember the name of that one because to this day I remember the story about the creepy sponge every time I open the cabinet under my sink (where we store the sponges). So glad someone else mentioned it because I couldn’t remember the title for the life of me. I’m 27 and was prone to be terrified of things (mum never let me watch horror movies) but LOVED Goosebumps and totally read them all… thanks for reminding me of these books!

  11. I was thinking of this one too! i still can’t remember the name but do you remember the one where a girl got 3 wishes,and it messed up her life…That was my favorite!

  12. ZOMG! I LOVED Goosebumps! Especially the one where the kids turned into the dogs- the Barking Ghost I think? (Had the glow in the dark creepy ass dog t-shirt, too… and wore it ’til it fell apart) They always scared the crap out of me (my mother had to point out each time I bought a new one that they were FICTION… not real… I wasn’t going to go back in time, or get horrible disfigured by my hamster or turn in to a dog (although the last one would have been cool). Sigh… I miss those days…

  13. OMG I used to love Goosebumps and Fear Street! But my big favourite was Christopher Pike. I used to love his books, and i think I still have Remember Me on my book shelf!
    I’ve been trying to figure out the title to a Christopher Pike book I read forever ago. All I remember is that one girl dies in the showers in the locker room, because the door locks, and all the showers are stuck on boiling hot. Anyone know the book I’m talking about?

  14. My favourite Goosebumps books were Welcome to Dead House and The Cuckoo Clock of Doom. I got Welcome to Dead House out of my primary school library every other week! Watched a lot of the tv show and Are You Afraid of the Dark?

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