For many horror fans of a certain age, their introduction to the world of spooky media was the Goosebumps series. Based on the books by R.L. Stine, Goosebumps was an anthology series featuring spooky tales for a younger audience. Today, the series is fondly remembered and is a staple of the Halloween season for many. Even the most grizzled horror hounds find themselves returning for a nostalgic fright. We look at 6 of the best Goosebumps episodes this Halloween season. Some of which are still somewhat creepy to this day. Readers beware – you’re in for a scare!
6. Stay Out Of The Basement
Dr. Brewer is doing a little plant testing in his basement. Nothing to worry about. Harmless, really. But Margaret and Casey Brewer are worried about their father. Especially when they meet some of the plants he is growing down there. Then they notice that their father is developing plantlike tendencies. In fact, he is becoming distinctly weedy—and seedy. Is it just part of their father’s “harmless” experiment? Or has the basement turned into another little shop of horrors?
A common theme throughout the best Goosebumps episodes is taking childhood fears and making them real. When most people are young, it can be difficult not to be curious when told by an authority figure not to do something. With a story reminiscent of Invasion of the Body Snatchers with a little bit of M. Night Shyamalan’s The Happening thrown in, “Stay Out of the Basement” caused me discomfort that made me look at plants very differently.
5. The Girl Who Cried Monster
Lucy likes to tell monster stories. She’s told so many that her friends and family are sick of it. Then one day, Lucy discovers a real, live monster: the librarian in charge of the summer reading program. Too bad Lucy’s told so many monster tall tales. Too bad no one believes a word she says. Too bad the monster knows who she is and is coming after her next.
Who hasn’t believed their librarian was a monster? I know I sure did. “The Girl Who Cried Monster” gives you a reason never to visit the library, which is kinda a bad lesson. It’s a very spooky and grotesque episode, as grotesque as a kid’s show could get. The monster was scary, the story was a genuine fear of every kid, and the twist was unique.
4. The Scarecrow Walks At Midnight
Jodie loves visiting her grandparents’ farm, listening to Grandpa Kurt’s spooky stories and devouring Grandma Miriam’s chocolate chip pancakes. But she and her brother Mark haven’t been to the farm in a year, and it appears to have changed. The cornfields are sparse, their grandparents look terrible, and the single scarecrow has been replaced by 12 towering, dark, evil-looking ones that seem to have a life of their own.
The Scarecrow Walks at Midnight shows just how creepy scarecrows can be, and fans of the show will never forget it. I’ve only experienced one scarecrow as a child, and it was enough to keep me away from them still. I imagine this one truly scared kids. I choose this episode simply for the freakout factor of imagining scarecrows outside my window in the dead of night.
3. Be Careful What You Wish For
Samantha Byrd is a klutz. An accident waiting to happen. She’s the laughingstock of the girls’ basketball team. And that mean and rotten Judith Bellwood is making her life miserable on and off the court. But everything’s about to change. Sam’s met someone who can grant her three wishes. For real. Too bad Sam wasn’t careful what she wished for. Because her wishes are coming true. And they’re turning her life into a living nightmare!
Who hasn’t wanted wishes? For sure, we all have something we want so badly that we’d take the chance at the wish backfiring, no matter how well-intentioned they might be. It’s a story plucked straight from ancient fables: A protagonist meets a supernatural being who gives them a chance to make three wishes. That sounds like a dream. I find this episode one of the really good ones compared to the many bad ones of the season.
2. Night Of The Living Dummy III
Trina O’Dell’s dad used to have a ventriloquist act. That’s why he has all those dummies in the attic. He calls it his Dummy Museum. There’s a dummy with freckles. And one with a sneer, just like Rocky. Trina and her brother, Dan, think the dummies are pretty cool. But now there are voices in the attic. And dummies keep showing up in the strangest places. No way those dummies could be alive! Right?
Ohhh, Slappy. Any fan of the ‘Goosebumps’ series is undoubtedly familiar with the titular ventriloquist’s doll, known only as Slappy. Slappy’s domineering re-vengeance is a catapult for his fright, and he makes a great center of this solid episode. Full of scares and other thrills, this was a cool episode. I had to choose this one out of all three simply cause more puppets equals more scares.
1. Haunted Mask
Shy, quiet Carly Beth is an easy target for everyone’s teasing and practical jokes. But this Halloween she’s found a wonderfully spooky mask that has her tormentors scared and running. Carly Beth refuses to take her new mask off, even though it seems to cause strange things to happen to her and other people. One day the magic of the mask turns on Carly Beth. She’s horrified to discover that she and the mask have become one.
In my opinion, the scariest of all episodes, and from what I have seen online, almost everyone’s favorite. Who didn’t feel like a Carly Beth at least once in their life? Awkward and scared of everything? I like the story’s moral, which I think is just to be yourself. I didn’t much like the follow-up episode, felt like they only made it because of the popularity of this one.
Although Goosebumps episodes are more likely to make you laugh than jump out of your seat, it’s still fun to reminisce. Just remember that at one time, these episodes actually managed to frighten you.
What’s your favorite episode?