- Goosebumps episodes were created to introduce kids to the horror genre, and some of the scariest episodes push the limits of a scary story before moving on to more mature horror TV.
- The scariest episodes feature jump scares, freaky atmospheres, and memorable characters, making them truly unnerving and memorable for an entire generation of fans.
- The episodes often have twists and unexpected endings, creating eerie and terrifying moments that stick with viewers, making everyday things like scarecrows, masks, and even trick-or-treating much scarier than before.
The scariest Goosebumps episodes are a strong mix of legitimately terrifying television and some lighter fare meant to help introduce kids to the horror genre. R.L. Stine started writing his Goosebumps novels in 1992 and published 62 books in the series in the next five years. The books were made for young teenagers as a gateway to horror and this eventually turned into a TV series, video games, comic books, and even movies released years later. With 240 total Goosebumps books in circulation, Stine is one of the bestselling children’s book authors in the horror sphere. It also helps that the TV show made them even more popular.
Released in 1995 and lasting for four seasons, Goosebumps had a total of 74 episodes, although several were two-parters. The series, which originally aired on Fox Kids, adapted some of Stine’s best books and introduced a world of non-readers to characters like Slappy the Dummy and scary locations like Camp Nightmare. It was also a show that had early appearances by some actors who hit it big, including Ryan Gosling, Scott Speedman, and Hayden Christensen. The scariest Goosebumps episodes remain memorable to an entire generation of fans, over three decades later.
17 A Night In Terror Tower
Season 1, Episodes 16-17
“A Night In Terror Tower” is a two-part season one episode that is one of the scariest Goosebumps episodes in the series. In this story, Sue and Eddie are Americans who are on vacation in London. While there, they accidentally get locked in the Terror Tower and then have to face off with historical figures who are out for blood. This is scary thanks to the format of the episode, which throws in a lot of jump scares and a freaky atmosphere. Goosebumps was created to give kids a gateway into horror, and this is a perfect episode to test out the limits of a scary story before moving on to more mature horror TV.
16 The Ghost Next Door
Season 7, Episodes 3-4
The scariest Goosebumps episode in the fourth and final season was the two-part episode The Ghost Next Door. In this installment, Hannah is a young girl who meets a new neighbor named Danny. However, he is the only person who can seem to hear and talk to her, so Hannah quickly surmises that he must be a ghost. The twist comes a little early when it gets revealed that Hannah is the ghost. This is a scary episode because there is a dark shadow following Hannah, and she realizes she has to protect Danny before something bad happens to him. While a more sentimental Goosebumps episode, the scenes with the shadow are truly scary.
15 Don’t Wake Mummy
Season 2, Episode 22
In “Don’t Wake Mummy,” a father sends a sarcophagus home to his family which seems like a strange thing. When his son Jeff watches it rise from the dead, and no one believes him, he realizes he has to do something or this mummy could kill him and his entire family. A.J. Cook (Criminal Minds) plays his sister Kim, and she decides she will dress up like a mummy to scare him since she doesn’t believe the mummy has come to life. This leads to some very scary moments with the real mummy coming up on both kids and them having to stop it without any help.
14 One Day At Horrorland
Season 3, Episodes 8-9
Of the two-part episode “One Day at Horrorland,” the first remains one of the scariest episodes of Goosebumps while the second is mostly a fun action-packed monster movie. There’s something purely unsettling about seeing random amusement park rides in the middle of a forest, the show’s budget aside. Not to mention there’s a decapitated talking head and a scene where the parents literally drink monster blood. The first episode is a masterclass of terror before the second turns into a freaky game show where the family has to survive – and the entire monster world can watch on their own TV network.
13 Scarecrow Walks At Midnight
Season 2, Episode 14
“A Scarecrow Walks at Midnight” made some pretty big changes from the Goosebumps book, and that helped it remain one of the scariest Goosebumps episodes in the series. The story follows Jodie and Mack as they visit their grandparents. This is on a farm, and as with most farms, there is a scarecrow in the field, which always offers a scary experience in horror tales. However, this isn’t just one scarecrow that haunts these kids’ dreams, but 12 of them. With Jodie and Mack believing something is wrong with their grandparents, they set out to see if the scarecrows are responsible.
12 Attack Of The Jack O Lanterns
Season 2, Episode 10
The part of the story concerning the jack-o-lantern monsters is scary in itself, but what makes this Goosebumps episode worthy of the list is its ending. When a town is struck with a series of disappearances, trick-or-treating isn’t exactly the safest activity for kids. Through some rather creative writing, it seems like the pumpkin-headed fiends are behind it all, but not all the trick-or-treaters are as innocent as they appear. Suddenly, things go from silly to sinister in a matter of seconds. The twist at the end created a scary and memorable moment, making trick-or-treating a little more scary than it used to be.
11 Bride Of The Living Dummy
Season 3, Episode 16
Slappy the Dummy is quite possibly R.L. Stine’s most insidious creation, and the wicked wooden weirdo makes more than a few appearances in the series. This episode of the spooky series asks, what happens when the demented dummy finds love in the form of a girl’s wide-eyed doll? Things can only go downhill from there as Slappy is aided in his soul-collecting quest by a toy that is surprisingly more terrifying than he is. The title alone is going to be hard to beat, and bringing in a second Slappy provided a fun and scary Goosebumps episode.
10 Werewolf Of Fever Swamp
Season 1, Episodes 18-19
“Werewolf of Fever Swamp” follows two young kids, Grady and Emily, as they are forced by their parents to move to the swamps of Florida. Soon after they arrive at their new home, the kids start to hear terrifying howls in the middle of the night and see spooky shadows and creepy characters in the area. Due to the howls, the children begin to suspect that a werewolf is stalking the swamp. The kids are convinced that Grady’s dog is the wolf-like monster, but this would be too simple for a scary Goosebumps story. This episode is truly one of the most unnerving in the series and even picked up a 12+ rating in the UK.
9 Night Of The Living Dummy III
Season 2, Episodes 24-25
“Night of the Living Dummy III” marks another appearance in the Goosebumps TV series for the terrifying Slappy the Dummy. The story follows Trina, a young girl whose father used to have his own ventriloquist act. However, after he stopped performing, he stored his old dummies in his attic. One day, when examining the dummies, Trina and her brother find that one of the dummies’ hands is unusually warm. After this bizarre discovery, the siblings start hearing creepy noises from the attic. While better than the first Slappy episode, this falls short of the brilliance of the second one, but Slappy always offers the scariest Goosebumps episodes.
8 Welcome To Dead House
Season 2, Episodes 20-21
“Welcome to Dead House” is a two-part story, which often is some of the best Goosebumps episodes. The story follows Josh and Amanda Benson who unwillingly must move away from Dark Falls with their parents. However, their new town and house are extremely strange, with the siblings finding the townsfolk particularly odd. Their parents, however, ignore the protestations of the children, leaving the kids to solve the terrifying mystery surrounding the town on their own. The kids soon realize that the townspeople have ominous plans for anyone who moves into the old house. This was a terrifying Goosebumps book, and the episode lightens things up but remains a scary Goosebumps episode.
7 Say Cheese And Die
Season 1, Episode 15
“Say Cheese and Die” follows a group of friends (one of whom is played by a young Ryan Gosling) as they discover a strange yet intriguing camera in a spooky house. The group soon discovers that after someone’s photo is taken with the device, the subject of the photo is pictured in some horrific accident that eventually comes true. Upon learning the horrific function of the camera, Greg (Gosling) must try and return the camera to its original owner, but will Greg be able to do so before more unfortunate accidents occur? The episode also features an early role for Scott Speedman (Underworld) as a police officer.
6 Haunted Mask II
Season 2, Episodes 11-12
“The Haunted Mask II” is a Goosebumps classic that terrified and disturbed countless children, almost certainly giving several viewers a phobia of Halloween masks. The episode follows a boy named Steve as he discovers a creepy mask store and, being determined to have the scariest costume on the block, must have the perfect mask. However, as seasoned viewers will know, the mask becomes very difficult to remove, leaving Steve in a horrifying situation. This is the second telling of this story, and while it didn’t match up to Carly Beth’s story, it was still a great tale of wearing a mask to cover up one’s insecurities.
5 The Girl Who Cried Monster
Season 1, Episode 4
“The Girl Who Cried Monster” follows a young girl named Lucy who has a reputation for telling fictional yet terrifying stories about monsters. However, when she learns that her teacher is a monster, her parents refuse to believe her due to her reputation for telling tall tales. Things take a turn for the worse, however, when Lucy’s parents invite the teacher to dinner and the story gets even weirder and far more terrifying. What really makes this episode so great is that Mr. Mortman isn’t the only monster here and the twist at the end creates a terrific twist that no one saw coming.
4 Welcome To Camp Nightmare
Season 1, Episodes 5-6
“Welcome to Camp Nightmare” tells the story of Billy as he ventures on what would become a terrifying and nightmare-fueled summer camp. Billy finds the food dreadful, the staff strange and disconcerting, and there is even talk of a terrifying beast named Sabre. In addition to the strange staff and terrifying atmosphere, there are mysteries that must be uncovered, particularly that of the Forbidden Bunk. This is a fun episode that feels a lot like the slasher movies from the 80s but made more for the younger audience and is a nice Goosebumps starter episode for kids wanting to test out their limits for horror.
3 Stay Out Of The Basement
Season 1, Episodes 12-13
“Stay Out Of The Basement” follows Margaret, a girl who grows increasingly worried about the length of time her father is spending in their basement. She begins to wonder just what he could be doing down there that is taking up all of his time. Whenever Margaret asks him about it, he says he is testing some plants. While this all seems fairly harmless, though a little eccentric, Margaret begins to notice that her father is acting stranger and stranger the more time he spends down there. Based on the second book in the Goosebumps series, the episode hits hard thanks to its twist ending.
2 Night Of The Living Dummy II
Season 1, Episode 10
“Night Of The Living Dummy II” is one of the most iconic episodes of Goosebumps. The story follows a young girl named Amy whose father has recently gifted her a new ventriloquist doll because her old doll was starting to fall apart. However, Amy unknowingly speaks an incantation that breathes life into Slappy the Dummy. Slappy is not a benevolent toy, and almost immediately begins to inflict trouble upon the family, framing Amy for several acts of vandalism in the house. The episode has the same basic plot as the first one, but is better made, with more danger and this elevates Slappy to iconic status for the franchise.
1 The Haunted Mask
Season 1, Episodes 1-2
While Slappy may be the scariest and most notorious villain in Goosebumps‘ history, the most terrifying story is arguably the first one in the series, “The Haunted Mask.” There was a sequel, but the original is far scarier and has an element of mystery that is not present in the follow-up. The episode follows Carly Beth, a girl who is considered to be incredibly easy to scare by her friends. However, Carly Beth does not enjoy her reputation and is hell-bent on changing it. In order to do so, she gets a scary mask from an odd little store. While the mask is indeed frightening, it may also be alive, and Carly has to face a new set of fears.