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The 8 Best Goosebumps Books

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I was sort of a death-obsessed creep as a child (not that anything has changed) and R. L. Stine knew just how to play into the things kids are already afraid of. That made Goosebumps books an important part of my childhood. And that cover art! The stuff of nine-year-old nightmares. Here are eight of the best Goosebumps books that made you sleep with the light on.

1. Monster Blood

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Monster Blood looks like the green gak that every kid is inexplicably obsessed with, but it has unexpected properties. It makes animals grow to gigantic sizes, increases in size itself, and eats anything in its path!

2. Welcome to Dead House

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“Welcome to Dead House” was the first Goosebumps book, starting the series off with a bang, a creak, and an otherworldly moan. When a family moves into a new house, they soon find out that all their new friends have actually been dead for a long time. The book made you think — what if everyone you know is actually already dead?

3. Night of the Living Dummy

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Ventriloquist dummies are terrifying! Ventriloquism is terrifying! Why do people keep doing it? In “Night of the Living Dummy”, two twin sisters get ventriloquist dummies named Slappy and Mr. Wood (excellent names) that come to life and fight each other, barf all over children, and try to strangle the pet dog.

4. Say Cheese and Die!

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In “Say Cheese and Die!”, a group of friends find a magic camera that shows bad events that are about to happen. A photo of a car shows the car wrecked — and the next day, it gets wrecked. A photo of a kid shows the kid hurt — then the kid gets hurt in his baseball game. This one was so good because it was about telling the future, a topic everyone is interested in. And that cover art! It’s so memorable. PLUS, fun fact, Ryan Gosling starred in the TV adaptation of this story.

5. One Day at Horrorland

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Amusement parks are a favorite theme for R.L. Stine, because he wanted to ruin everything good about childhood, I guess. In “One Day at Horrorland”, the Morris family accidentally goes to Horrorland, where they hop on ominous rides like a casket cruise and almost get killed by monsters.

6. The Haunted Mask

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“The Haunted Mask” asked the very important question every kid has considered — what if you put on a scary Halloween mask and then could never take it off? Carly Beth wanted to scare her friends, so she got a terrifying Halloween mask that took over her personality and refused to come off because it was actually a real, evil face.

7. Ghost Camp

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“Ghost Camp” was my personal favorite Goosebumps book. In it, two brothers go to a camp where they find out all the campers are dead and trying to take over the brother’s bodies so they can escape. The brothers think they get away but (spoiler alert for a 20-year-old kids’ book), on the way home, one of the brothers realizes his brother’s body has been taken over by a ghost and there’s no way to undo it. A very scary ending!

8. Shocker on Shock Street

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There was something about a giant praying mantis that really appealed to me as a kid. “A Shocker on Shock Street” starts with a fairly standard Goosebumps setup — two kids go to an amusement park in off-hours because one of their dads works there. But the rides… the rides turn out to be deadly! There are TWO twist endings to this book. First, after they manage to escape from some of the deadly monsters, the kids are told they’re actually on a movie set. But the movie set turns out to be part of the park, and the director is a robot. Then the final twist… the kids aren’t kids at all, but robots themselves, created to test out the park. The multiple twist endings made this an exciting classic, and every kid finished the book wondering if maybe they were a robot, too.

What was your favorite Goosebumps book? Tweet at me and let me know @erikaheidewald!

Contributor: 
Erika Heidewald
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Haunted Mask jpg
Day Horrorland jpg
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