Haunting Hour: Chills in the Dead of Night

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Ten terrifying tales that will haunt you forever...

"Some stories are too terrifying to tell," says R.L. Stine. "They are the ones that live in the darkest corners of my mind. The ones that give me chills in the dead of night. The ones that I must tell you now -- or they will haunt me forever!"

Read the spine-chilling story of a baby-sitter who loves evil tricks...the terrifying tale of a boy who dared to lie down in an ancient mummy case...the...

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Ten terrifying tales that will haunt you forever...

"Some stories are too terrifying to tell," says R.L. Stine. "They are the ones that live in the darkest corners of my mind. The ones that give me chills in the dead of night. The ones that I must tell you now -- or they will haunt me forever!"

Read the spine-chilling story of a baby-sitter who loves evil tricks...the terrifying tale of a boy who dared to lie down in an ancient mummy case...the frightful story of two boys just dying to have the scariest Halloween ever...

Are you ready for these scares and more? R.L. Stine, the #1 best-selling children′s author of all time, presents ten new stories that will give you chills in the dead of night and turn any hour into The Haunting Hour!

A collection of ten short horror stories featuring a ghoulish Halloween party, a long, mysterious car trip, and a very dangerous imaginary friend. Each story includes drawings by a different illustrator.

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Editorial Reviews

Parents magazine
“Keeps kids on the edge of their seats.”
Chicago Tribune
“He’s King of Creepy.”
Parents Magazine
"Keeps kids on the edge of their seats."
Publishers Weekly
R.L. Stine tells 10 haunting tales in The Haunting Hour: Chills in the Dead of Night, including one about a baby-sitter who practices a crafty form of suburban voodoo. As with his Nightmare Hour, a different illustrator introduces each story, among them Charles Burns, Art Spiegelman and Roz Chast. (Sept.) Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Stine's oft-criticized success at giving masses of middle schoolers the cold shivers has finally propelled him out of paperbacks and into respectable hardcover. Artists that many readers will recognize from their favorite graphic novels, including the unparalleled Art Spiegelman, illustrate this collection of often low-level horror shorts. As expected with Stine, who never dishes out more gore than his middle school audience can stand, the illustration that accompanies each story is often more scary than the story itself. There is the Bad Babysitter who bakes up mudcake voodoo cookies, a boy who accidentally switches places in time with a mummy in a museum, and a trunk-haunting ghost who just wants to be taken along on travels with the still-breathing. As with most of the collection, these stories are mild and even a little funny. The scariest story is probably The Halloween Dance, in which two young trick-or-treaters join in a raucous midnight revel with some graveyard corpses, not realizing that they too have left the land of the living. Although definitely aimed at younger teens, this book belongs in both public library young adult rooms and middle school libraries. It also could be used to entice older reluctant readers with its ghoulish gilded-skull cover and uncomplicated text. Stine's stories are still more banal than they are bloodcurdling, but his fans are legion, and his books always can be counted on to boost circulation stats. PLB $14.89. VOYA CODES: 3Q 4P M (Readable without serious defects; Broad general YA appeal; Middle School, defined as grades 6 to 8). 2001, HarperCollins, 160p, $12.95. Ages 11 to 14. Reviewer: Jennifer Hubert SOURCE: VOYA, February 2002(Vol. 24, No.6)
Children's Literature
R. L. Stine presents ten short stories and, for each, he has taken events from his childhood. At the beginning of each story, Stine explains where he got the idea and then he elaborates to make the situation at least twice as scary as real life. Stine's baby-sitter, who told outlandish stories of a two-headed kid and a living human brain, became "The Bad Baby-sitter" who took revenge on neighborhood children by making mud cookie effigies. Childhood road trips were a nuisance to Stine, and his mother always said he didn't have to ride back with them. In "Are We There Yet?" Artie and Tammi find out what happens when their parents leave them stranded in the middle of nowhere and don't come back. Each of the ten stories is quick and easy to read with gross and scary characters, a simple plot and quick resolution. The stories are great for predicting what will happen and students writing their own endings. Topics include dragons, mummies, imaginary friends and slick-looking, evil baby-sitters. 2001, Parachute Publishing, $14.89 and $11.95. Ages 8 to 16. Reviewer:Janet L. Rose
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780064410458
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 8/28/2002
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 160
  • Sales rank: 294,078
  • Age range: 8 - 12 Years
  • Product dimensions: 7.74 (w) x 10.92 (h) x 0.42 (d)

Meet the Author

R. L. Stine

R.L. Stine began his writing career at the age of nine and has been at it ever since, becoming a bestselling author several times over. Among his many groundbreaking credits are Fear Street, the first young adult horror series, and Goosebumps, the bestselling series that made Stine the #1 bestselling author in America for three years in a row. He lives with his wife in New York City.

Deliciously terrifying short short tales and creepy illustrations by an exceptional collection of writers and illustrators.

Nadia Aguiar, M.T. Anderson, Katherine Applegate, Margaret Atwood, Avi, Holly Black, Pseudonymous Bosch, Libba Bray, Lisa Brown, Michael Connelly, Mark Crilley, Joseph Delaney, Dan Ehrenhaft, Carson Ellis, Neil Gaiman, Jack Gantos, Tom Genrich, Stacey Godiner, Carol Gorman, Alan Gratz, Josh Greenhut, Adele Griffin, Dan Gutman, Brett Helquist, Erin Hunter, Angela Johnson, Aliza Kellerman, Faye Kellerman, M. E. Kerr, Jon Klassen, Alice Kuipers, Jonathan Lethem, Gail Carson Levine, Lesley Livingston, Dean Lorey, Gregory Maguire, Stephen Marche, Melissa Marr, Alison McGhee, Brad Meltzer, Sienna Mercer, Lauren Myracle, Jenny Nimmo, Joyce Carol Oates, Ken Oppel, James Patterson, Michèle Perry, Yvonne Prinz, Francine Prose, Vladimir Radunsky, Chris Raschka, Aaron Renier, Adam Rex, David Rich, Richard Sala, Jon Scieszka, Brian Selznick, Arthur Slade, Abi Slone, Lane Smith, Lemony Snicket, Sonya Sones, Jerry Spinelli, David Stahler Jr., R. L. Stine, Allan Stratton, Tui T. Sutherland, Mariko Tamaki, Sarah L. Thomson, Frank Viva, Ayelet Waldman, Sarah Weeks, Gloria Whelan, Barry Yourgrau


Goosebumps cast a spell upon children by transforming even the most reluctant students into avid readers. Despite the fact that almost every book has a different collection of characters, the series has one common element that kids can't get enough of: the author!

However believable his plots seem to his readers, Stine insists he has never lived one of his stories. "I've never turned into a bee -- I've never been chased by a mummy or met a ghost. But many of the ideas in my books are suggested by real life. For example, one Halloween my son, Matt, put a mask on and then had trouble pulling it off. That gave me the idea for The Haunted Mask."

Although he never experienced terror first hand, he did enjoy reading about it. "When I was a kid, there were these great comic books called Tales From The Crypt and The Vault of Horror. They were gruesome. I discovered them in the barbershop and thought they were fabulous. I used to get a haircut every Saturday so I wouldn't miss any of these comic books. I had no hair at all when I was a kid!"

His ideas came from two sources: his memory and his imagination. "When I write, I try to think back to what I was afraid of or what was scary to me, and try to put those feelings into books." He also keeps a tribal mask and a skeleton hanging in his writing studio to provide eerie surroundings. Although he handles the writing by himself, Stine says he gets "lots of help from my editors, my readers, and my friends."

Kids reading Goosebumps may be looking for a scare, but the laughs they get are no accident. Before he was R. L., he was Jovial Bob, author of such works as 101 Silly Monster Jokes, and Bozos on Patrol and editor of Bananas magazine. His ability to know what kids will laugh at , as well as what will frighten them, makes the Goosebumps series all the more enjoyable for his readers.

Stine started writing when he was 9 years old! He would write stories and jokes on an old typewriter and hand them out at school. "The teacher would grab them and take them away," Stine says, "but I kept doing it." He wrote for his high school newspaper in Columbus Ohio. After graduating from Ohio State University, he moved to New York City, where he worked on a variety of writing jobs.

Although his books are fun and exciting, writing them is serious stuff. He treats writing "...like a job." To unwind after work he enjoys playing the pinball machine conveniently located in his own apartment.

For aspiring authors, Stine feels reading is as important as writing. He offers this advice: "If you want to be a writer, don't worry so much about writing. Read as much as you can. Read as many different writers as you can. Soak up the styles. You can learn all kinds of ways to say things." As a boy he read Norse legends, Greek myths, Edgar Allan Poe and baseball stories. "And Mad Magazine changed my life." Author biography courtesy of Scholastic, Inc.

Good To Know

In our interview with Stine, he shared some fun and fascinating facts with us:

"My first job in New York was making up fake interviews with movie and TV stars for a group of six movie magazines. I never spoke to the stars I wrote about. I wrote three-to-four "interviews" a day, all out of my imagination."

"'I've written over 300 books but I never learned to type. I use only one finger, the pointer on my left hand -- that's all. Three hundred books on one finger! The finger is very ugly now -- completely bent and curled and callused. When I show it to audiences, they can't believe it! This is my sacrifice for my art!"

"Sometimes kids show up at my country house and ask if my son Matt can come out and play. That's because they saw him mentioned in the back of my books. But they're very disappointed when he comes to the door -- because Matt is in his mid-twenties now! They were reading very old books! Matt is a musician, composer, and sound designer. You can hear his music at my web site, www.rlstine.com."

"I hope my readers get a chance to see my 4-D movie, R. L. Stine's Haunted Lighthouse. The movie stars Christopher Lloyd, Michael McKean, Lea Thompson, Weird Al, and others. You can find it playing at four parks: SeaWorld San Antonio, SeaWorld San Diego, Busch Gardens Tampa, and Busch Gardens Williamsburg, Virginia. Watch out -- you might get very wet!"

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    1. Also Known As:
      Robert Lawrence Stine; Jovial Bob Stine
    2. Hometown:
      New York, New York
    1. Date of Birth:
      October 8, 1943
    2. Place of Birth:
      Columbus, Ohio
    1. Education:
      B.A., Ohio State University, 1965
    2. Website:

Read an Excerpt

The Haunting Hour
Chills in the Dead of Night

Chapter One

I froze in dread -- and listened to the words I hoped I′d never hear. "We′ll have our own Halloween party at home," Mom said. "Won′t that be nice?"

I groaned. My little sister Madison cheered.

"But my friends and I want to go out on Halloween!" I protested.

"Mark, you can invite all your friends here," Dad said. "It′ll be safer."

Safer? Who wants to be safe on Halloween?

"Invite your whole class," Mom added, smoothing her hand through my hair, which I hated.

Madison cheered again. "Can I invite my whole class too?" she asked, jumping up and down like a monkey.

"Of course," Mom said.

Oh, wonderful.

"We′re thirteen!" I said. "My friends don′t want to hang out with a bunch of babyish eight-year-olds."

Mom and Dad were always making me do stuff with Madison. They made me take her to the petting zoo. They made me dress up as a clown for her birthday parties. Last Christmas they forced me to sit on Santa′s lap with her.

"Stop complaining. It′ll be a great party," Mom said. "We′ll play a lot of fun games."

"Maybe we′ll rent a scary movie," Dad said. He looked at Madison. "Not too scary, of course. Just a little scary."

"I′m going to be a little sick," I said.

I′m doomed, I thought. My friends will never speak to me again. I will never live this party down. I′m dead. Dead!

And I was right.

Actually, the party was worse than death.

Only eight or nine of my friends showed up. About thirty of Madison′s friends came, and almost all of them were dressed as princesses!

My best friend, Jake, and I came as hideous ghouls from beyond the grave. Our skin was lumpy and green and decayed, and we had bleeding wounds and deep black scars covering us from head to foot.

I had an eyeball that dangled from its socket and a wad of sick yellow stuff hanging from my nose. Jake had a long brown knife handle sticking out of the back of his ripped, ragged shirt.

I tried to put on some rap music. But the princesses took over the CD player and danced together to wimpy boy-band music. My friends stood around the food table, looking bored.

Mom′s babyish games didn′t help much. Pin the vine on the pumpkin? Whoa. Hot stuff.

Of course, none of my friends joined in. And then when Dad finally pulled out the scary video he had rented, I knew this had to be the worst Halloween party in the history of the world.

Guess what scary movie he picked. The Wizard of Oz.

Madison and her friends huddled around the living room to watch. I gave Jake a shove toward the front door. "Come on," I whispered. "Let′s go."

He held back. "Huh?"

"Let′s get out of here," I said. "I can′t take it anymore."

We crept to the door, opened it quickly, and sneaked outside.

It was a cold, frosty night. The front lawn glowed like silver under the rising full moon. The bare trees swayed and creaked.

I watched my breath puff up in front of me. I straightened my ragged ghoul costume and led the way down the gravel driveway.

"Where are we going?" Jake asked, glancing back at the house.

"Anywhere," I muttered. "I don′t care. I can′t take that babyish party one more minute." "It was pretty disturbing," he said.

My house stands at the bottom of a steep hill. I pointed up the hill. "Maybe there are trick-or-treaters up there," I said. "Why don′t we visit some houses and score some candy?"

We started across the street. "Ohh -- " I let out a cry -- and stopped walking -- as a blaring roar exploded in my ears and a white light rushed over me.

The brightest light I had ever seen. Bright and hot, as if the sun had dropped over me.I raised my arm to shield my eyes. But I couldn′t shut it out. My head throbbed in pain.And then I was blinking in darkness again. The dangling rubber eyeball bounced in front of my face. My ears rang. I squinted at Jake.

He kept blinking too, trying to force away the pain of that strange light. "Did you see that truck?" he cried.

"It -- it almost hit us!" I said. "Man, it had to be going a hundred!"

"I thought we were dead meat," Jake said, shaking his head.

I turned and saw someone standing behind us. Another ghoul. A tall, thin kid with a gaping dark wound in the front of his T-shirt.

He had long, stringy hair with fat black bugs poking out of the tangles. One eye was covered with a slimy patch of green gunk.

"Hey -- hi," I said, unable to hide my surprise. "Neat costume."

"What′s going on?" the kid asked. He had a hoarse, whispery voice, as if he had a cold. "We′ve been stuck in a boring party," Jake told him. "We just escaped. You been trick-or-treating?"

"Not yet," the kid said. "My name is Ray. I just got out too." He studied Jake and me for a moment. "Want to go to a good party? I mean a really good party?"

He didn′t wait for us to answer. Limping on one leg, he led the way up the hill. His bug-filled hair blew behind him in the breeze. Humming to himself, he kept glancing back to make sure we were following.

We reached the top of the hill and turned toward the old graveyard on the corner. I was surprised to see no one on the street. No trick-or-treaters. No cars moving. A lot of the houses were already dark.

"Where is this party?" I asked.

"Not far," Ray replied...

The Haunting Hour
Chills in the Dead of Night
. Copyright © by R.L. Stine. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.
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Table of Contents

The Halloween Dance 2
The Bad Baby-Sitter 20
Revenge of the Snowman 38
How to Bargain with a Dragon 48
The Mummy's Dream 66
Are We There Yet? 80
Take Me with You 96
My Imaginary Friend 110
Losers 122
Can You Draw Me? 138
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 18 )
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Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 19 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 24, 2013

    The Haunting Hour

    I read this book as a hardback book before and absolutley fell in love!!!! This is the kind of book you can't put down because it pulls you in to read more!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 7, 2012

    Like it

    It is a good to read

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 29, 2011

    I pissed my pants it was so scary!

    This book wasn't the scariest book I have ever read but while I

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 6, 2011

    great book

    This is a really great book i love it and if you liked this book u should watch the haunting hour the series it comes on the Hub its fantastic!

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 3, 2011

    The Harry Potter of Horror

    The best book I have read in a long time!!!! Made me want to read!!!

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  • Posted October 19, 2010

    Its funny and scary at the same time!

    I loved to read books when eye was young,funny and scary. This was one of them,rl stein is pure genius! Kids would get a kick out of this one 4 sure lol.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 7, 2004

    It will definitly creep you out!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    The haunting hour is mostly about different series of terrifing events. Including one about a baby sitter who does some voo-doo dolls on two kids she knows at the house right next to them. She also did this for two children she's watching. Then she turns evil. So watch out! To learn what the other stories are about I definitly recommend this one from R.L.Stine!My personal favorite is the story ARE WE THERE YET!!! ahhhhhh! so read and enjoy!

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