back to top

13 Things You Never Knew About The "Goosebumps" Book Series From R.L. Stine Himself

The series almost didn't happen!

Posted on
David Bertozzi & Charlotte Gomez for Buzzfeed

It’s been 30 years since R.L. Stine wrote his first horror novel, titled Blind Date. Since then, he’s created entire horror series, including the Goosebumps books, which had a run that lasted from 1992-1997. The Goosebumps series has remained popular, even among the current generation of youngsters, as it comes in forms that include the ’90s TV series, which is available for steaming on Netflix, and the film that was released last year. You can currently get your R.L. Stine fix on Discovery Family Channel, which is airing R.L. Stine’s The Haunting Hour at 5 p.m. ET/4 CT, and R.L. Stine’s Mostly Ghostly at 9 p.m. ET/8 CT on Halloween. BuzzFeed recently spoke with Stine, who divulged some little-known facts about the Goosebumps series.

1. The Goosebumps series was inspired by R.L. Stine’s Fear Street series.

Pocket Books

Goosebumps wasn't Stine's first time doing horror, he says: “I was already writing the Fear Street books and my editor said, ‘Why don’t we try doing a scary series for 7- to 12-year-olds? Nobody has ever done it before.’”

2. Initially, Stine didn’t want to do Goosebumps.

Scholastic

The Fear Street books were geared toward teenagers, which meant it would be a fairly significant change for Stine. "I didn't want to do it," he said. "I thought it would screw up Fear Street. I thought the Fear Street audience would say, 'Oh look, he’s doing younger stuff, it’s not as cool.' I resisted doing Goosebumps. How dumb was that?”

3. He came up with the name “Goosebumps” randomly, while reading a TV Guide.

Scholastic

“At the bottom of the page there was an ad, and it said, ‘It’s goosebumps week on channel 11.’ I just stared at it. I knew it was the perfect name.”

4. Goosebumps began as a much smaller collection.

Scholastic

“We did four original books and thought that’d be it,” said Stine. The original series wound up reaching 62 books, not including the spinoffs.

5. Goosebumps books weren’t an immediate hit.

Scholastic

“We put them out, and they just sat on the shelves,” Stine said. “No one bought ’em. Then, after about three or four months, somehow, kids discovered them. We don’t know how — it’s a mystery. Totally word-of-mouth, and then it just took off after that, all over the world. Then, the next contract was for six more books, then monthly.”

6. R.L. Stine thinks of the Goosebumps titles first, then he writes the book.

Scholastic

“My process is backwards for most authors,” said Stine. “I never try to think of ideas, I only think about titles. I try to get a good title, and the title leads me to the story.”

7. Piano Lessons Can Be Murder was originally “Guitar Lessons Can Be Murder.”

Scholastic

“My son was taking guitar lessons, and I started writing this book about a haunted guitar, but everybody said, ‘Guitars aren’t scary!’” said Stine. “So we changed it to piano lessons.”

8. R.L. Stine’s favorite Goosebumps book is one that you’d never guess.

Scholastic

When people ask him which was his favorite, he usually says his favorite book was The Haunted Mask or Night of the Living Dummy. However, he said his real favorite book is “One that no one ever mentions called, Brain Juice. It’s about two kids who drink this purple liquid, and they get smarter and smarter, but it ruins their lives. No one ever talks about that one. I love that one.”

9. R.L. Stine’s favorite monster he wrote is King Jellyjam from The Horror at Camp Jellyjam.

Scholastic

Stine remembered the character, describing him as “disgusting. He smelled so horrible that he had to have campers bathe him 24 hours a day. At the end of the book, the campers revolt and stop bathing him, so he dies from his own odor — I liked that one!”

11. There was going to be a follow-up series called Goosebumps Gold, but it never panned out.

Google

Stine said, “At one point we were going to do a series called Goosebumps Gold. Somehow that made it into Wikipedia, but this was years and years ago, and we never did it. The books were never written, and it never happened, but to this day I get questions on Twitter, asking, ‘Where are the Goosebumps Gold books? Are you going to release them? How can I see them?’ And I have to say, they don’t exist, they never got written. I may’ve had titles and story outlines, but we decided not to do it.”

12. R.L. Stine thinks the first book in the series, Welcome to Dead House, is too scary for kids.

Scholastic

Stine said, “I didn’t have the formula then, to combine funny and scary. I hadn’t really figured it out yet, and if I were redoing Welcome to Dead House, I think I’d put in some funny stuff and make it a little less intense."

13. There was a movie deal for Goosebumps books in the ’90s, but it wound up not happening until 2015.

Slaven Vlasic / Getty Images

Stine says nothing ever came of it, so he’d forgotten about movies: “20 years went by and there was no talk of a Goosebumps movie, then suddenly there were scripts.” A Goosebumps film finally came to fruition and was released in October 2015.

Every. Tasty. Video. EVER. The new Tasty app is here!

Dismiss