I began reading R.L Stine’s Goosebumps books around the time they were first published. Back in those halcyon days of the early ’90s, in the middle of my fourth-grade class, we had “free reading time.” School was really the only place I could read the books, because they were outlawed in my house. Horror films, books, games, etc., were forbidden by my folks, up until I was quite a bit older.
Despite this, I blazed through Stay Out of the Basement, Monster Blood, Night of the Living Dummy, Welcome to Horrorland, Deep Trouble and The Scarecrow Walks at Midnight, among others. I skimmed most of the remaining titles and lost interest entirely by the time Calling all Creeps arrived in 1996. After that, I sporadically read the Give Yourself Goosebumps series, but nothing from the main series.
While I would occasionally watch the FOX Kids television adaptation of the show, I lost interest as science fiction and fantasy took up my reading time. Once I discovered Heinlein, Asimov, Spider Robinson and Harry Harrison, Goosebumps became a distant memory.
But the time I spent reading those books was fun and memorable, even providing an escape from the sad reality around me:
The books kept me entertained during long trips to my grandmother’s old house after she passed away. I read books 17-20 all through the course of a week’s worth of these trips. While my folks settled the final affairs of my grandmother’s worldly possessions, I read about all the reasons one should be afraid of bees, got into some deep trouble under the sea, stopped some killer scarecrows from taking over a farm and learned the consequences of giving monster blood to a hamster.
Sometimes I grow a bit nostalgic for the series. When the 2015 film starring Jack Black arrived, my family had to go see it. I am a huge fan of basically everything Jack Black is involved with, anyway, and he made the film a fun experience with his fantastic performance of an alternate reality R.L. Stine.
The movie was good for what it was — a fresh take on a series that continues to refresh itself and entertain/encourage kids to read. The sequel, appropriately titled Goosebumps 2: A Haunted Halloween is coming to theaters this week. Revolving around the dummy Slappy (from the numerous Night of the Living Dummy books), the movie looks to bring the same sense of fun and mild horror to the big screen once again. I know I’ll be seeing it opening week. Will you?
Do you have fond memories of reading the Goosebumps series as a kid you’d like to share? If so, we’d love to hear from you. Do you plan to see the movie or skip it? Let us know in the comments.