Growing up, reading R.L. Stine was a reading staple. From Goosebumps to Fear Street, his books managed to terrify children across the nation for weeks on end. Despite the screams, we always went back for more (Goosebumps were a must-buy at the Scholastic Book Fair!) It was the series we hated to love and loved to hate, and the series we always returned to, even when we were scared out of our minds. Dummies coming alive and walking among us? Terrifying. But we read it, and we read the sequel, too. A girl with a mask she couldn't take off? We read it, and we watched the television adaptation.
We were gluttons for punishment when it came to Goosebumps growing up. But really, we should have taken a hint from the covers. I mean, one look at the Night of the Living Dummy cover was all it should have taken to warn us away from the story within — and I'm not usually one to judge a book by its cover! Don't even get me started on The Horror at Camp Jellyjam. The covers alone could be nightmare-inducing, and some of these illustrations will be burned into our brains forever. Here are 15 of the most terrifying Goosebumps covers of all time:
1. Night of the Living Dummy
This one really scarred me as a child. I mean... look at that thing! Sadly, this book was the first in a trilogy, and things actually got worse as the series progressed.
2. Night of the Living Dummy II
Still walking. Still stalking. This time, from your bed! Don't read this one before you go to sleep — even as an adult!
3. Night of the Living Dummy III
Good news, we got the three scariest Goosebumps covers out of the way early on. The bad news? There is now a family of dummies staring back at you.
4. The Horror at Camp Jellyjam
The horror at Camp Jellyjam cannot possibly be more terrifying than looking at this guy, right? Right???
5. Egg Monsters From Mars
A giant egg with veins that.... hatches? We all remember this one being egg-stremely scary, and the cover was equally creepy.
6. Say Cheese and Die!
You know, just a casual barbecue... with your skeleton parents. A typical summer activity. Totally.
7. The Curse of Camp Cold Lake
There's a lot happening here: the white hair, the missing nose. But I just have two words for this one: THOSE. EYES.
8. The Haunted Mask
You put a mask on and it never comes off. That's not terrifying at all. The TV show version of The Haunted Mask is still burned into my brain, too.
9. One Day at Horrorland
Going to a place named Horrorland can only possibly end one way. Nightmare fuel for years.
10. Welcome to Camp Nightmare
I just have one question: what kind of terrifying experience did R.L. Stine have at summer camp as a kid that he was able to come up with so many different horror-camps?
11. The Scarecrow Walks at Midnight
Ah yes, things coming alive at night, another Stine specialty. That thing is scaring a lot more than crows, for sure.
12. I Live In Your Basement!
If this cover didn't make you want to stay far, far away from your basement, you're way braver than I was as a kid!
13. Don't Go To Sleep!
Well, I'm never sleeping with the lights off again.
14. Vampire Breath
The undead has never been more terrifying.
15. The Girl Who Cried Monster
I would cry if I saw him, too.