If you woke up with goosebumps this morning, it may be more than just early Halloween anticipation. October 31 isn't the only spooky date the month has to offer, for today also has a special place in the hearts of horror fiction fans. October 8 is the birthday of R.L. Stine, author of the infamous Goosebumps series that we all grew up not falling asleep to. With migraine-inducing color schemes and typography to send shivers down the spine of graphic designers everywhere, the iconic Goosebumps covers were every bit as haunting as the stories they contained. So in celebration of Stine's birthday, here are my five most memorable, for better or for worse.
1. 'Night Of the Living Dummy'
It really doesn't take much to make a ventriloquist’s dummy look creepy, and this cover is a classic of the genre. Slappy the Evil Dummy has his own Goosebumps trilogy and has appeared on the cover of several books. But while the others follow the overcrowded Goosebumps style, this one keeps it comparatively simple, letting that manic smile and glowing green eyes do all the talking.
2. Little Shop Of Hamsters'
A rose-tinted picture of fluffy little hamsters doesn't exactly sound like a cover for a horror story. But as anyone who has owned one knows, hamsters can be vicious little critters. With their yellowed teeth and mad heterochromia, these specimens should make any eight-year-old reconsider taking little Timmy out of his cage any time soon.
3. 'The Barking Ghost'
Continuing Stine’s mission to make kids afraid of their pets, this cover does a solid job of making what starts out looking like a floppy-eared little puppy, transform into a vicious snarling hound.
4. 'Chicken Chicken'
This has to be one of the most ridiculous covers of the series, and that really is saying something. While the artwork looks like a concept for one of Lady Gaga’s more dubious fashion choices, for protagonist Crystal the chicken body isn’t just a costume. Chicken, Chicken describes how she and her brother are transformed into chickens by an etiquette-obsessed witch. So in answer to your question, yes, the story is every bit as weird as the cover.
5. 'The Haunted Mask'
The cute little kid with the dungarees and the ponytail contrasts perfectly with the open-mouthed, drooling green mask that looks like it’s about to swallow her whole. Unlike the many cheesy alternatives, this is one of those Goosebumps covers that might genuinely scare a small child.