Book Reviews

Halloween Night (1993) by R.L. Stine Book Review

Brought to you by the Goosebumps maestro, Halloween Night is a kooky teen who-done-it story complete with double Frankensteins, totaled Geos, and plastic blood.

Here’s the skinny- Brenda is having issues with her cousin Halley, who is currently living with her since her parents are calling it quits. Halley is too good for her own good and has a bad habit of stealing boyfriends, so Brenda and her two besties decide to put a rest to her and her little pranks at the impeding Halloween party. Right after homecoming though. Duh.

Scareometer: Hearing a kernel pop seconds after the microwave timer goes off

Halloweenie Rating: Tame (love that tagline)

Halloween Night is essentially a soap opera for preteens and teenagers. There’s boy drama, slut shaming, and parents who just totally don’t get it. However, there is some creepy imagery in here, besides Stine’s insistent descriptions of short skirts. Blood on the walls, faces in the window, and maggoty meat on the bed sheets incite the funner aspects of this quick read. Oh and attempted murder, too. It’s a little silly to criticize a kid’s book on murder depiction but honestly, it was a little unrealistic. Somebody (a child) got STABBED and nobody bats an eye. Seriously. It was all hot chocolate and well wishes afterwards. I wanted to see some court room drama or at least another cat fight. The cliffhangers were delectable though. Ol’ Stine does know how to get kids to read.

I happened to listen to a dramatization of the novel and it was pretty fun hearing the scenes of violence and girl squeaks acted out, especially since the actors were Canadian. The eerie transition music wasn’t quite enough to amp up the holiday feelings.

Again, it’s a murder mystery for kids but there wasn’t a strong red herring. Even if you’re remotely paying attention, it spells out the killer for you. It’s difficult to judge because the content (making out, senior homecoming, STABBINGS) placed beside the reading level and thoughtfulness of the twist just doesn’t match up. Or maybe it’s real easy to judge. Who knows.

Let’s skip Halloween Night and maybe give Halloween Party a go, or even the classic The Haunted Mask. You can’t go wrong with a Goosebumps banger.



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