Pop Culture | Books | 90s

15 Goosebumps Books That Failed To Give Us Goosebumps


We have to give R.L. Stine credit for making kids across America actually pick up a book, but looking back at our childhood reading habits we have to question some of his choices.

There were 62 books in the original Goosebumps series, and at the height of their popularity Stine was pumping out a new novel every month, so it's no surprise they weren't all winners.

Here are 15 entries that were more silly than scary:

1. I Live in Your Basement


Marco's basement is home to a gloopy Jell-O monster named Keith (Keith?! Really?!) who wants the boy to look after him. It turns out the whole story was just Keith's bad dream. No, we don't really get it either.

Scariest part: Multiple scenes of Keith literally puking his guts out.

2. Calling All Creeps


The school bullies who pick on the dweeby Ricky reveal themselves to be reptilian Creeps, who want Ricky to be their leader. Sounds like a bad after-school special if you ask me.

Scariest part: Ricky lets his whole school get turned into Creeps to spite them. Harsh.

3. Why I'm Afraid of Bees


Our protagonist answers a shady internet ad, hoping to swap his body for a bigger and stronger one. Instead, he gets turned into a bee.

The book should be called "Why I'm no longer afraid of bees," because that's what we really learn.

Scariest part: Visiting a stranger you met over AOL.

4. The Barking Ghost


Two kids swap bodies with a pair of ghost dogs. That's about it, really. Amazing he could stretch it for 117 pages.

Scariest part: The kids swap bodies with a pair of chipmunks at the end, and the impostor kids go home with their parents.

5. Be Careful What You Wish For


Samantha gets on a witch's good side and earns herself three wishes. As you can guess, the wishes bring her complete happiness and everything goes well. Not! She gets turned into a crow.

Scariest part: Depressingly accurate descriptions of middle school bullying.

6. Let's Get Invisible


It's a bad sign when your horror novel sounds like a radical '80s sci-fi comedy. Kids use a magic mirror to turn invisible and prank grown-ups in this story about peer pressure.

Scariest part: If all your friends turned invisible and jumped off a bridge, would anyone notice?!

7. Chicken Chicken


A pair of kids upset the local witch (funny, my town never had one of those) when they make her drop some grocery bags. She curses them to slowly transform into chickens. They can only change back after pecking out an apology on their typewriter. Oh, and their last name is Sanders. Of course.

Scariest part: Nasty body horror descriptions of the kids transforming.

8. You Can't Scare Me


Scaredy-cat Eddie tries to get back at his fearless friend Courtney for pranking him. Too bad all of his hijinks just backfire on him instead. His final attempt involves those local legends about mud monsters...

Scariest part: The last two paragraphs, when the monsters finally appear.

9. Beast from the East


A group of kids wander into a spooky forest, where they bet their lives on a game with no rules against a group of monsters. The only problem is the fuzzy blue Muppets chasing them aren't scary at all.

Scariest part: Honestly, your average game of Monopoly is scarier than this.

10. My Best Friend is Invisible


An invisible boy named Brent moves into Sammy's room and declares they're best friends. Then, Brent spends the rest of the book getting Sammy into trouble. Oh, by the way, it turns out Sammy and his family are aliens.

Scariest part: An unexpected houseguest. How rude!

11. The Blob That Are Everyone


It's a perfect storm of cliches, as a kid's magic typewriter that brings ideas to life creates a blob monster that eats everything. The twist is that it was written by an actual blob monster.

Scariest part: Some poor kid had to explain all this in a book report in the '90s.

12. The Abominable Snowman of Pasadena


A monster hunter and his kids search for the yeti. After about 100 pages, they drag him back to California in a locked trunk, before he escapes.

Scariest part: Being kidnapped by some weirdo from Pasadena and dragged halfway around the world.

13. The Cuckoo Clock of Doom


Michael tries to get revenge on his annoying sister Tara, but winds up traveling back in time using his dad's evil magic clock. When he finally arrives back in the present, Tara has been erased from existence entirely, but Michael doesn't care.

Scariest part: The time travel makes Michel relive all his embarrassing memories of being a 12-year-old, which is honestly horrifying.

14. Revenge of the Lawn Gnomes


A competition between two dads obsessed with their lawns takes a dark turn when one brings home a pair of cursed lawn gnomes. Really.

Scariest part: The whole book, if you're scared of lawn gnomes. Otherwise, nothing.

15. Piano Lessons Can Be Murder


An inexplicable mishmash of horror plots play out, involving evil piano lessons, disembodied hands, robots, and a menacing scientist named Dr. Shreek.

Scariest part: Whatever R.L. Stine was taking when he came up with this one.

Do you have a favorite Goosebumps book?