If you were unfortunate enough to be a child of the '90s, then you grew up with a number of unspeakable horrors:
The Blair Witch Project, those illustrations from Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark, and Furbies. Most importantly, there were the Goosebumps books. Professional child frightener R.L. Stine gave us kid friendly horror for every conceivable situation. Kids had haunted houses, haunted carnivals, haunted sinks, and a heaping pile of haunted summer camps. Kids grew up petrified of green slime, ventriloquist dummies, and the possibility of spontaneously becoming invisible. But let's say that you've already read and re-read your Goosebumps favorites. Let's say that you're in the market for a slightly more... grown up scare-fest this Halloween season. Here's the one adult horror novel to read, based on your favorite Goosebumps book.
Of course, this is but a small sampling of the many, many Goosebumps books that terrorized us so thoroughly back in the day. And I'm not suggesting that the Goosebumps series is no longer scary to adults — I had that "Choose Your Own Adventure" one set at the amusement park and just thinking about it still gives me the willies. But if you want to venture into horror novels that trade some of the goofs for some more grotesque, raunchy, and all around adult situations, then here's the place to start:
If you loved 'Welcome to Dead House'... Try 'The Haunting of Hill House' by Shirley Jackson
The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson. Welcome to Dead House was the very first book of the original Goosebumps series, and it features the most horrifying face-melting scene ever to be set on paper. So if you like Stine's classic haunted house, you're going to love Jackson's eerie, supremely scary tale of four individuals who arrive to "research" "paranormal phenomena" at the notorious Hill House. Little do they know that the house is studying them, too, and it plans to claim one of them for its very own... Click here to buy.
If you loved 'Monster Blood'...
Bødy by Asa Nonami. Several of Stine's books edged into straight up body horror (don't even get me stared on that chicken one), including Monster Blood. This book features a gross, green slime that consumes everything in its path — and if you consume it, you'll grow several times bigger. Yikes. Bødy contains its own section on blood, but really it's an entire collection of gross, psychologically terrorizing body horror for the body horror connoisseur. Click here to buy.
If you loved 'Night of the Living Dummy'...
The Doll Collection, edited by Ellen Datlow. Because what's better than a haunted ventriloquist dummy? A whole mess of short stories about creepy, creepy dolls. And by "better" I mean "even more disturbing." If you loved Slappy and his upsetting antics, you're going to have all sorts of nightmares about these haunted puppets, mannequins, baby dolls, and more. Click here to buy.
If you loved 'One Day At Horrorland'...
Joyland by Stephen King. Because if you can stomach Horrorland, R.L. Stine's deeply distressing haunted amusement park, then you can stomach anything. Joyland is the story of Devin, a down-on-his-luck college student. He's just been dumped and he's landed a summer job at a totally normal run-down amusement park... where some people claim to see a very real ghost in the haunted house.... Click here to buy.
If you loved 'Ghost Beach'...
Ghost Summer: Stories by Tananarive Due. Ghost Beach is, as the name implies, about a haunted beach (or, more specifically, a haunted cave by a haunted beach). But it's also about being trapped in a small town, because all small towns are uniformly terrifying, and about families (of ghosts). If creepy small towns, inter-generational drama, and Otherworldly vibes are what you're after, then Ghost Summer is the perfect collection of fearful tales for you. Click here to buy.
If you loved 'The Horror at Camp Jellyjam'...
The Summer is Ended and We Are Not Yet Saved by Joey Comeau. There are numerous Goosebumps summer camps to choose from, but the overly chipper, overly competitive Camp Jellyjam just might be at the top of the list (I mean, look at that smile). If you're looking for a more adult summer camp thriller, then you're going to want to check out the stomach-churning bible-camp-turned-slasher-nightmare from The Summer is Ended and We Are Not Yet Saved Click here to buy.
If you loved 'The Haunted Mask'...
Come Closer by Sara Gran. It may not involve a scary mask per say, but the real horror of The Haunted Mask wasn't just that the mask was creepy... it's that the mask was haunted. The mask possessed whoever put it on, which was a lot for a kid to handle. So if you're interested in tales of demonic possession, then you simply must read Come Closer (and then subsequently shove this book way at the back of your closet, where it can't hurt you anymore). Click here to buy.
If you loved 'The Werewolf of Fever Swamp'...
The Wolf's Hour by Robert R. McCammon. In a world of teen wolves and paranormal shapeshifter romances by the dozen, sometimes you just want a good ol' fashioned book about a werewolf that can tear you limb from limb with its terrible, bloody maw. If you liked the furry mystery of The Werewolf of Fever Swamp, you're going to love the epic werewolf adventure, The Wolf's Hour (don't worry, there's still some sexy shapeshifter romance in there, too). Click here to buy.
If you loved 'Deep Trouble'...
Into the Drowning Deep by Mira Grant. Look, we honestly didn't even need R.L. Stine to teach us to fear the sea and her impossible depths. But Deep Trouble was an excellent reminder that there is nothing good to be gained by exploring the ocean. Into the Drowning Deep continues this invaluable lesson for adults. Because there is something lurking in these waters, something not quite fish and not quite human.. Click here to buy.
If you loved 'Curse of the Mummy’s Tomb'...
The Mummy by Anne Rice. Of course, The Curse of the Mummy's Tomb is about a kid wandering around pyramids and running from mummies and The Mummy is about a mummy wandering around London and running from his past. But if you're creeped out by undead Egyptian royalty, then you'll get a thrill out of hanging with Ramses the Damned in Anne Rice's horror fantasy. Click here to buy.
If you loved 'Say Cheese and Die'...
Ghost Camera by Darcy Coates. Shockingly, Say Cheese and Die is not the only horror novel to revolve around a creepy, no good camera. In Say Cheese and Die it's more of a future-calamity-causing camera, while in Ghost Camera it's more of a... camera full of ghosts. But if you're into freaky photos, the paranormal snapshots of Ghost Camera are sure to keep you up at night. Click here to buy.