by Judy Newman with Alexie Basil
This I know from being a mom of two kids—and from working at Scholastic Book Clubs for 25 years—fads come and fads fade away.…Well, at least most of them do.
Once in a while, something starts out as a craze but then it does NOT fizzle out. It stays and stays and stays around, and then it is no longer a craze but rather an enduring part of popular culture. One such craze that has never gone away is Goosebumps, R. L. Stine’s beloved chapter-book series that has introduced generations of kids to the sheer fun and thrilling excitement of reading.
There was no shortage of hot trends when my children, Rebecca and John, were growing up. I spent many hours (and dollars!) trying to help them hunt down the coolest must-haves, while balancing my working-mother guilt against not wanting to spoil them or have things come to them too easily.
Here are some of the mega-trends I remember well.…
When my children were young, it wasn’t that I felt they absolutely had to have everything just because it was popular. But these mega-trends and fads were so infectious and exciting that it was kind of fun to go on the hunt to try to connect with (and acquire) whatever mania was hurtling through the lives of my kids, their friends and neighbors, and many of America’s children.
Today, my children are older, and the fads they follow are usually out of my interest and awareness zone. But I am happy that my work at Scholastic Book Clubs takes me into classrooms all around the country so that I can stay on top of the latest crazes.
Recently we’ve experienced the “floss” dance craze, which was created around the same time as the first Goosebumps movie was released.
Some of the other huge trends today include Roblox, squishies, Flow Ring toys…and guess what: a new Goosebumps movie is coming out!
The theme of all this is that the kids are usually right. I don’t know how they do it, but it’s like there is some massive underground telepathic communication system (unbeknownst to most adults) that electrifies kids’ enthusiasm for a game or a doll or an event...or a book series. I am sure you all have memories of that hunt you went on: for a Cabbage Patch Kids doll or a Tamagotchi or Fingerlings.…I’d love to hear about your memories too! And year after year, decade after decade, kids continue to love Goosebumps!
But throughout it all, year after year, Goosebumps has come and come and come and shows no signs of fading.
I joined Scholastic in 1993 when Goosebumps was just beginning to catch fire. Scholastic Book Clubs offered Welcome to Dead House on the cover of Arrow for 95 cents. And the rest is history.
Under the inspired direction of Scholastic's then Senior Vice President and Publisher, Jean Feiwel, Scholastic printed millions of copies of Goosebumps every month—the original series, followed by all kinds of special editions and new formats.
We created a Goosebumps Fan Club. Membership came with a special “Scarezine” plus all kinds of cool and creepy prizes, like a Goosebumps watch, wallet, and pencil.
We even changed Halloween to Goosebumps Day!
It didn’t take long until R. L. Stine (or Bob, as we know him) became a superstar. The brilliant, hardworking, and truly jovial creator of what would become the bestselling chapter-book series of all time is one of the most dedicated, hardworking, accessible, and beloved authors on the planet.
For a while, the kids got exhausted, and the craze seemed to cool for a very short time. This gave us a chance to catch our collective breath and reposition the series with new books for a new generation of readers.
When the first full-length Goosebumps feature movie (starring Jack Black) hit theaters in 2015—featuring a more-than-a-cameo appearance by Bob Stine himself!—it, along with the new books, helped the Goosebumps trend to crest yet again in 2017.
Last week, I snuck out of my Scholastic office on a Tuesday afternoon to go to the Sony Pictures screening room for an early showing of the second Goosebumps movie, Goosebumps 2: Haunted Halloween. At the screening, I was excited to see Bob Stine, along with his creative and business partners Jane Stine (also his wife) and Joan Waricha. I loved the movie and—spoiler alert!—you’ll see Bob in another cameo.
What Goosebumps does across the generations is mix fear with humor—and what is so brilliant about the series is that it is truly timeless. Kids across more than three decades love these books. And that’s why we’re so excited to bring back the first-ever installment in the original series as our Dollar Deal this week: Goosebumps: Welcome to Dead House.
If readers in your life haven’t gotten into the series yet (or if they’re just looking for their next read), Welcome to Dead House is a wonderful place to start.
The original Goosebumps series has an impressive 62 books! More than 400 million Goosebumps books have been sold, making it the second bestselling book series ever (right behind Harry Potter).
David Vozar and I have been working—and reading—together since the beginning of the Goosebumps craze, so I asked him to reflect on what Goosebumps: Welcome to Dead House means to him:
The team of adults who work at Scholastic Book Clubs on this blog had so much fun going back into their own childhoods to dive into Goosebumps. In the Book Boys, Elliott is convinced to read Goosebumps: Welcome to Dead House after some encouragement from the book itself! We show you how to make Goosebumps-inspired Paper-Bag Creepy Houses in your classroom in Cooked Up from a Book. The blog team and Book Club staff shared our Goosebumps memories in Book Talks. And mega-superstar Goosebumps author R. L. Stine himself shares four tips for writing a good scary story in Behind the Scenes.
Fads come and go. Trends get hot and then cool down. The must-have item of this year will be on the discount shelf next year…that’s just the way it typically goes. But every once in a while, something really special bursts on the scene and thankfully never, ever leaves, bringing the joy of reading to all. And that gives me and everyone at Scholastic Book Clubs…Goosebumps.
This Book Is Available from Scholastic Book Clubs