Goosebumps #36 – “The Haunted Mask II”


Halloween only comes once a year, but when you recap Goosebumps books, you can celebrate just as often as you’ve got the Halloween-themed books to supply it.

In true Halloween spirit, I made sure to gobble down as much leftover candy as possible. By the time I was finished with this book, there were Twizzler and Kit-Kat wrappers everywhere–it was like a bunch of twelve-year-olds had thrown a party or something.

Unfortch, I don’t have a copy of “The Haunted Mask,” but you can find a nifty recap of the TV episodes here.

Back-Cover Blurb:
Just call him Prune Face!

Steve Boswell will never forget Carly Beth’s Halloween mask. It was so gross. So terrifying.

But this year Steve wants to have the scariest costume on the block. So he gets a mask from the same store where Carly Beth got hers. It looks like a creepy old man. With stringy hair. A wrinkled face. And spiders crawling out of the ears!

Steve’s definetely got the scariest mask around. Too bad he’s starting to feel so old. And so tired. And so evil…

Ok, so Stine does something kind of clever here by making the antagonist of the original “Haunted Mask” into the protag of the sequel. I suppose there are a lot of lit fic readers out there who would say, “My, that’s shallow and pedantic,” but this blogger thinks Stine made a good decision.

I got your back, Bob.

So Steve (along with his BFF, Chuck) used to scare the crap out of Carly Beth. That was why she went out to that scary party shop and bought that haunted mask last year–she wanted to get back at Steve and Chuck for frightening her so often. I guess it’s not that weird for pre-pubescent boys to like playing pranks on pre-pubescent girls–actually, aren’t there whole videos on YouTube with adult men laughing their asses off when they prak their girlfriends?

Yeah, I find that a little weird. But if you’re 12-years-old, I guess it’s cool.

So our man, Steve, is gearing up for Halloween. And he certainly needs a bit of a break. As punishment from the school, he’s being forced to coach a soccer team full of elementary school kids, which is about as fun for a pre-teen boy as it sounds. The kids like playing mean pranks on Steve, like tricking him into kicking a concrete ball painted to look like a soccer ball.

Hee hee.

They seem to delight in causing Steve misery. Reminds me a little of last year’s fiasco with Carly Beth, though I suppose I would chap MY ass a little if I was getting bullied by a bunch of seven-year-olds. As a result of all this, Steve wants to use this Halloween as an occasion to scare the crap out of the kiddies.

Yes, that’s our protag’s main goal… to scare kids.


He asks Carly Beth where she got her scary mask last year, and she’s reluctant to tell him at first. It’s only when the boys steal the plaster sculpture that Carly Beth’s mother made (you’ll probably remember it from the first book) that she relents and tells them the name of the shop, while urging them not to go.

Being sensible fellows, Steve and Chuck head straight over. But oh noes! The store is closed! What solution do Steve and Chuck have but to break in? I mean, their hands a really tied here. What are they supposed to do, wait until morning?

Well, Ms. Goody Two Shoes, for your information, the store is permanently closed, so going back tomorrow morning wouldn’t make a difference. Not that the guys KNOW that when they bust into the basement and start rifling through stuff…

So yeah. Steve and Chuck dig through some of the boxes, weighing out the scary possibilities. Steve finds the perfect mask: a decrepit old man with peeling skin and spiders hanging in his limp hair. There’s nothing scarier than the aging process!

Unfortunately, it is at this moment that the store’s former owner (who lives upstairs) comes down to investigate the disturbance downstairs. Ruh-roh! The guy is a typical non-Twilight vamp–kind of pale and ominous with slicked-back black hair.


Vell, after they replaced me with that sparkly British kid, I had to make a living somehow!

Chuck takes the opportunity to GTFO, but Steve isn’t fast enough to slip away and so is left alone with the scary vampire dude. Not cool, Chuck. Not cool. Haven’t you ever seen “Band of Brothers”?

Well, luckily, Steve manages to get past vamp dude and run out into the alley, but not before grabbing the scary old man mask. He doesn’t tell Chuck about this because he wants to give him a real scare on Halloween for being such a disloyal d-bag.

That evening, Steve tries on his new mask and it’s hella scary. The problem is, it won’t come off! AaaaAaaAaaahhhh! Yeah, whatever. Most of us are probably familiar with the situation here: boy meets mask, boy loses sanity, boy gets sanity back.

The mask is having a really uncool effect on Steve. He’s an old dude now so he can’t move around as quickly, nor does he have the same amount of energy that he’s used to. I don’t think the mask necessarily turns him evil, but I guess I would go crazy if I were suddenly 150 years old.

He tries to call Carly Beth for some advice, but her parents assume it’s just a prank call. They’re not as concerned as they should be–if my kid was getting prank calls from an old man, I’d have a big problem with it. And maybe I might reconsider letting her run around unattended on Halloween night. Just saying.

Whatever. Just because his life is in a k-hole doesn’t mean old Steve has lost his sense of humor! He’s got a scary face, a raspy voice, and a bad attitude–time to go scare those pesky elementary school kids! Because, you know, society takes kindly to old men harrassing young children.

Yeah, well, turns out old people aren’t THAT frightening, at least not to children. All the kids want to do is help Steve across the street and/or make sure he gets home safe. Not exactly the scare he was planning. Oh well. Now Steve has no recourse but to try to catch up with Carly Beth for advice on getting the mask off.

At first, Carly Beth is a little creeped out by the old man following her around, demanding her help, but soon she figures out that it’s Steve. She’s happy to spend her Halloween trying to help him out, candy be damned. First they try Carly Beth’s original approach: to use a symbol of love to get the mask off Steve’s face. Carly Beth used her mother’s sculpture to do it, so what might Steve be able to use?

It just so happens that Steve’s mom drove TWO MILES OUT OF HER WAY (!!!!) to get Steve some delicious black and white cookies. While two miles doesn’t sound like much, it is practically a hike across the tundra if you don’t really like your kid all that much. It’s the only conclusion I can draw from what a big damn deal Steve’s mother makes about the cookies.

Yeah, well, here’s your symbol of love, kid. Enjoy them.


Psych! You can’t have any cookies, Steve-o, your dog accidentally ate them all. Too bad for you, old buddy.

Carly Beth suggests that Steve hold his dog, Sparky, because even though Sparky at the cookies, he still really loves Steve. It’s a lame solution which, unsurprisingly, doesn’t work. So now what’s a little girl and an old man to do? If you said, “Talk about WWII for a school report,” you’d be wrong.

They decide to go down to the old party shop because… um… well, I guess there’s nothing else to do. Carly Beth is hoping to find something that might help to get the mask off, and I suppose it’s as good a suggestion as anything else. They break into the store again, checking out the supplies and stuff, but nothing much happens until Carly Beth finds a suit that seems to match the mask–it’s got scary spiders, cobwebs, the whole nine yards.

Carly Beth holds it out to Steve, who is understandably repulsed. However, the mask is so attracted to its complementary suit that it’s instantly sucked away from Steve’s face to join the suit. Good stuff! Of course, the kids do need to get the hell out of Dodge, because now there’s this scary old man monster running around. They escape back into the alley and run all the way back to their neighborhood.

Just as they start rejoicing, a scary monster pops out of the bushes! AaaaAAahhahaa!

Not. It’s just Chuck playing a joke. He managed to grab a mask from the party store yesterday, but he wanted to surprise everyone. Ha ha. The book ends with Chuck telling Carly Beth and Steve that he’s going to need some help getting this mask off, ‘cause it seems to be stuck.

Oooh. Sequel, anybody?

Quotable Quotes:

For many years, making Carly Beth scream had been our hobby. That’s because she was a really good screamer, and she would scream at just about anything.

Umm… Yeah. Does that sound pervy to anybody else?

I had a mask!
It hadn’t been easy. In fact, being trapped in that eerie basement with that strange man had been the scariest time in my life.

No effin’ comment.

The Moral of the Story:
If you’re going to dress up for Halloween, you should always try to make it a sexy costume, rather than a gross one. That way, if you’re stuck with some kind of cursed object, then you’ll just keep looking hawt!

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Posted in Danger, Goosebumps
11 comments on “Goosebumps #36 – “The Haunted Mask II”
  1. Sadako says:

    Hah. I just watched the TV version last week. It was also quite lame and so gross, too. At least the TV version did a sacrifice yourself for your friend thing. Pulling out a suit and having the mask leap off just seems…like, R.L, are you even trying anymore?!

  2. R. G. Quimby says:

    Yeah, I don’t get that, either. It’s probably pointless to wonder why Carly Beth couldn’t do that in the first book. The whole suit-matching thing was a little sudden.

  3. The first Quotable Quote doesn’t sound as pervy as the second one (not saying it is, but the whole “being trapped in a strange man’s basement” thing is more disturbing than the whole “She’s a screamer” thing).

    Speaking of pervy lines in “Goosebumps” books (something I’m going to blog about in a few days. Stay tuned), I found some pervy lines from other Goosebumps books that you could use should ever the day come that you read and snark about them.

    Here are some choice ones from the first three books:

    From “Welcome to Dead House” (book #1):

    “Look how big it is,” Mom added (ch. 1)
    I don’t think Josh could hear him over Petey’s wails. (ch. 1)
    “He’s never done this,” Dad said apologetically. “Really. He’s usually very friendly.” (ch. 1)
    He was licking me frantically […] “Oh, Petey! Petey!” I cried […] “Stop! You’re getting me all sticky!” But he wouldn’t stop. He kept on licking fiercely. (ch. 5)
    I knew when he saw me sprawled on the floor like this, he’d totally freak out! (ch. 5)
    They looked so uncomfortable […] Dad’s face was bright red. Mom’s hair was all messed up, hanging wildly down over her forehead…(ch. 17)
    Josh poked me hard…(ch. 17)
    “Push!” I cried. “Push it again!”
    Josh let out an exasperated, defeated sigh. “I can’t, Amanda. I can’t move it.”
    “Josh — ” I glared at him.
    He backed up to try again.

    “Push! Keep pushing!”
    The veins at my temples felt about to pop.

    It gave a little, but bounced right back. (ch.18)

    From “Stay Out of the Basement” (book #2)

    She stuck her tongue out and moaned, demonstrating her dire need… (ch. 1)
    “Why do you want to do this?” Margaret asked her friend. “Why are you so eager to go down there?”
    Diane shrugged. “It beats doing our math,” she replied, grinning. (ch. 2)
    “It’s so moist,” Diane said. “Good for your hair and skin.” (ch. 3)
    Why did she feel so strange? […] Doing something he had told them not to do? (ch. 3)
    “You were faking it?! I don’t believe it!” Diane cried, her face as pale as the white lights above them, her lower lip trembling. (ch. 4)
    He was standing at the sink, leaning over it, his chest bare, his shirt tossed behind him on the floor. (ch. 9)
    “No problem,” Casey said, a mischievous grin spreading across his face. “Go get a paper clip. I’ll show you what my friend Kevin taught me last week.” (ch. 13)
    “Sorry,” she said, squeezing his shoulder affectionately. “It’s just…well, you remember last time.”
    “I’ll be careful,” he said.
    Margaret shuddered. (ch. 13)
    Margaret’s mouth dropped open into a wide O of surprise. (ch. 14)
    “Martinez got hot, okay? […] Martinez became uncomfortable. He removed his jacket and tie and put them down on the worktable. Then he forgot them when he left.” Dr. Brewer chuckled. “I think he was in a state of shock from everything I showed him down there. It’s no wonder he forgot his things. But I called Martinez this morning. I’m going to drive over and return his stuff when I finish at Mr. Henry’s.” (ch. 16)
    “It — it moved a little,” Margaret said, breathing hard. They kept at it. The wet wood began to crack. (ch. 17)
    Under the dim ceiling bulb, they bent and writhed, groaning, breathing, sighing. (ch. 18)
    Dr. Brewer made his way out of the closet. (ch. 18)
    He groaned from the effort of raising the heavy tool, his face reddening, his eyes wide, excited. (ch. 19)
    Does this mean that the Dad in the closet is my real dad? (ch. 20)
    “One more thing we have to do,” their father said, his arms around the two kids. “Let’s get Mr. Martinez out of the closet.” (ch. 21)

    From “Monster Blood” (book #3):

    “Touch it,” Andy said.
    But before Evan had a chance, she reached a finger in and poked it. “It’s cold,” she said. “Touch it. It’s really cold.” (ch. 8)
    When he pulled his finger out, it made a loud sucking noise.
    “Gross,” Andy said.
    Evan shrugged. “I’ve seen worse.” (ch. 8)
    “It stays cold, even after it’s been in your hand,” Andy said. (ch. 8)
    “I’d like to pound them […] Just once.” (ch. 10)
    Come loose, come loose, come loose, he begged.
    Yes! (ch. 11)
    “Let’s go upstairs,” Andy urged, pushing him toward the stairs. (ch. 11)
    “It’s getting sticky,” she reported.
    “Of course,” Evan replied.
    “But it wasn’t sticky before, remember?” she said. (ch. 12)
    “Weird,” he exclaimed. “It’s expanding,” he said, squeezing it in his hand. “It’s definitely growing.”
    “I guess so!” Andy exclaimed. (ch. 12)
    His big head bobbed up and down, but he didn’t look back. (ch. 13)
    It felt so uncomfortable. So cramped. Evan sat up, alert, wide awake now.
    And stared down at his giant feet. His giant hands. (ch. 13)

    [It’s only innuendo if you remember that old saying about guys who have big feet and hands. I won’t go into further detail because this is a family website]
    “Oh, wow,” Andy exclaimed, raising her hands to her face as she stared into it wide-eyed.
    “Yeah. Wow,” he repeated sarcastically. (ch. 16)
    “You didn’t want to share it,” she insisted.
    “I’ll share it now,” he said eagerly. “In fact, do you want it?” (ch. 16)
    “Huh-uh.” Andy shook her head, crossing her arms in front of her chest. “Put it down, will you?” She pointed to the corner behind the red leather couch. “It’s giving me the creeps.”
    “Giving you the creeps!?” Evan cried. “What am I going to do? Every time I turn around, it grows some more…” (ch. 16)
    “What if it just keeps growing?” (ch. 16)

    [I know, I know, too easy, but it had to be said]
    “It’s like taffy,” Andy said.

    “This isn’t taffy,” Evan muttered. “It’s disgusting.”

    “It’s so sticky,” Andy said, making a disgusted face.
    “And warm,” Evan added. (ch. 17)
    It’s growing much faster than before, he thought.
    I’ve got to find something bigger to hide it in just for tonight. (ch. 18)
    “Try again. Up.
    Try again.
    Up. Up.
    Gripping the sides of the tub, he was pulling himself, straining with all of his strength.
    Yes! Yes! He was beating it.
    He was stronger than it was.
    With a relieved sigh, he lay there, waiting to catch his breath.” (ch. 20)
    Andy: “…I can meet you on the corner in twenty minutes.”
    “Good deal.” Evan hung up the phone. (ch. 20)
    His plastic bag was bulging, and so heavy he had to drag it over the sidewalk. He couldn’t lift it.
    (ch. 20) [i][If you want to know why it’s out of context, where I’m from, “bag” is also a vulgar slang term for a scrotum or scrotal sac and “plastic” implies that someone has gotten plastic surgery][/i]
    “It hit the bottom with a sick, squishy sound.” (ch. 21)
    “…it bounced and quivered, oozing over the carpet…” (ch. 24)
    Andy and Evan dropped down wearily onto the couch.
    “I guess you’re going forever,” Andy said. “I mean, to Atlanta and everything.”
    “I’d like to… uh… write to you,” Evan said, suddenly feeling awkward. (ch. 29)

    …and I’ve noticed a pattern in all of these Out of Context lines for this book: most of them center around Andy and Evan. Does this book have a sexual subtext outlining how frustrated Evan is over not being able to express his attraction to Andy? Come on–most of the Out of Context lines are either masturbation references or references to “growing” (below the waist).

  4. R. G. Quimby says:

    OMG, awesome!

    How the hell did I not notice this stuff before? As a kid, of course I wouldn’t see that, but I’m an adult now, dammit. Why aren’t I reading Goosebumps and constantly saying, “That’s what she said!”

    Great compilation of creepy quotes!

  5. R. G. Quimby says:

    And I can’t stop laughing about…

    “Yes! Yes! He was beating it.”

    I just can’t.

  6. [QUOTE]How the hell did I not notice this stuff before? As a kid, of course I wouldn’t see that, but I’m an adult now, dammit. Why aren’t I reading Goosebumps and constantly saying, “That’s what she said!”

    Great compilation of creepy quotes![/QUOTE]

    Thank you. As I said before, I’m going to create a Low-Rent Library post about this. Pass it on to your snarky blogger sisterhood.

  7. R. G. Quimby says:

    Awesome! Another fun post at the Low-Rent Library.

  8. As a kid, I always thought this was the scariest Goosebumps book, but looking back it’s just completely ridiculous. That sentence about wanting to make her scream sounds totally pervy to me, too.

  9. i read the comment page on monster blood on bloggerbeware too lauriedoublevie24

  10. Gabriella says:

    Hello everybody, Happy Fool’s Day!!!

    A policeman spots a woman driving and knitting at the same time. Driving up beside her, he shouts out the window… “Pull over!”
    “No,” she shouts back, “a pair of socks!”

    Happy April Fool’s Day!

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