R.L. Stine’s Goosebumps books have long been a staple for horror-loving children. Like Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark, the series introduced a lot of us to the macabre with (mostly) age appropriate tales of terror. As many as 46 books from the franchise have been ranked among the best selling children’s books of all time, and the stories have been adapted for television, with a Goosebumps feature film in the works.
For some fans, the covers of these beloved books are the best part: Tim Jacobus, illustrator of the original series, is a talented artist who brought Stine’s stories to life with menacing zeal. So in celebration of one of the most enjoyable children’s series of all time, we've collected ten of the most ridiculously awesome book covers from the original Goosebumps book series.
Attack of the Jack-O'-Lanterns
This tale of a child who seeks out revenge on Halloween night has a perfectly ridiculous title and equally over-the-top cover art. The menacing-looking Jack-O'-Lantern people that dominate the cover are fantastic! As usual, Jacobus did a great job bringing this story to life in pictures.
The Barking Ghost
I think at this point in the series (this is the 32nd book in the original line), Stine's ideas were starting to get a little crazy. In this installment, a scary ghost dog torments a notorious scaredy-cat. Despite the slightly preposterous premise, the vicious-looking dog on the cover and the blood-red surroundings make for a pretty cool piece of artwork.
Beware, the Snowman
This farcical tale of maniacal snowmen is more than a little odd, but the concept and cover art are classic nonetheless. The creepy snowman who somehow sports a scar on his face is the perfect image to grace the cover of this tale of terror.
The Blob that Ate Everyone
This is an example of Stine being heavily influenced by classic horror. The story centers on a boy who wants to write horror stories, but soon discovers that everything he writes comes true. The giant pink and gooey blob on the cover is totally reminiscent of the 1958 horror film by which this book was undoubtedly inspired.
This Goosebumps book finds a brother and sister discovering that a nasty girl has cursed them: the siblings begin to turn into chickens! The whole package is fantastic here, the cover art depicting a human/chicken hybrid included.
The Cuckoo Clock of Doom
Okay, this is just ridiculous... ridiculously awesome! This Goosebumps classic tells the story of a child who discovers that the cuckoo clock his father brought home is able to perform age regression when the hands are set backwards. The tale has been widely praised by readers for having an exceptional ending, and the menacing cuckoo clock on the cover is fantastic.
Egg Monsters from Mars
This is clearly one of the most bizarre entries in the series; it’s also one of the most awesome. Egg Monsters is reminiscent of Roger Corman-esque science fiction, and finds a young child realizing that one of the eggs from an Easter egg hunt is actually that of a Martian life form.
Revenge of the Lawn Gnomes
I have to think that R.L. Stine was going for a tongue-in-cheek vibe when he named and authored this book. A story about garden gnomes that come to life seems a bit more "out there" now than it did when I was ten, but regardless of how bizarre the story is, the artwork is great. The pink flamingos behind the gnomes on the book’s cover are a perfect touch to give the cover art a cheeky feel.
Say Cheese and Die!
I love the art for this book. The barbequing skeleton family is a clever idea and made me want to dig in to the story as a kid. Say Cheese is one of the better books in the series, with a plot right out of a Twilight Zone episode: a boy finds a camera that offers premonitions of strange accidents... events which begin to occur after the pictures are taken.
Released as the 49th installment in the series, Vampire Breath is further evidence that Stine was screwing with us as the series advanced. In this scary story, two youngsters bring an ancient vampire to life by (as the title implies) unleashing a bottle of his breath. The cover, which features a vampire with dragon breath crawling out of his coffin, is terrific and perfectly inventive!