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Nightmare Hour: Time for Terror

Nightmare Hour: Time for Terror

4.4 60
by R. L. Stine, Various (Illustrator)

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"These are my scariest stories ever," says R.L. Stine, "because I wrote them at the Nightmare Hour." You know when that is...it's when the lights fade, the real world spins into shadow—and the cold, moonlit world of evil dreams takes over your mind.

What horror awaits a boy who has to spend Halloween in the hospital? How do you outwit a ghost who wants your


"These are my scariest stories ever," says R.L. Stine, "because I wrote them at the Nightmare Hour." You know when that is...it's when the lights fade, the real world spins into shadow—and the cold, moonlit world of evil dreams takes over your mind.

What horror awaits a boy who has to spend Halloween in the hospital? How do you outwit a ghost who wants your skin? Why is Nightmare Inn the most terrifying place to visit?

R.L. Stine, the #1 bestselling children's authors of all time, spins a web of horror and more. For the first time ever, he shares the secret behind each story, revealing where the idea for each tale came from.

Here are ten stories that will bring a shiver at any hour and take you to the scariest place of all—inside the mind of R.L. Stine.

Editorial Reviews

Parents magazine
“Keeps kids on the edge of their seats.”
Parents Magazine
"Keeps kids on the edge of their seats."
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Among the scariest of elements in this collection is the full-spread black-and-white artwork, contributed by an array of different artists, that sets the stage for each of the 10 stories. For a taut, harrowing tale of mistaken identity set in the children's ward of a hospital on Halloween night, "I'm Not Martin," Clay Patrick McBride creates a photocollage of a ward with an oversize, eyeless doll's head, holding an IV bottle on a pole in one hand and a human foot in the other, as a boy peers through a curtained screen. The impressive roster of illustrators also includes Edward Koren, Gary Kelley and Mark Summers. The author offers additional eerie lead-ins to the tales with his brief introductions, in which he describes alleged incidents that prompted his plots. For instance, the setting for "Nightmare Inn"--starring a girl who encounters a pair of werewolves in the run-down establishment her mother plans to purchase--was inspired by Stine's stay in a sprawling New England inn in which he was the only guest. The author's many fans will surely look over their shoulders once or twice while engrossed in these pages. And they will be pleased to discover the low price of this handsomely designed hardcover. Ages 8-up. (Oct.) Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.
Library Journal
Gr 5 Up-A collection of 10 short stories that takes ordinary people and events and turns them into the bizarre by changing the perspective. The 12-to-18 page stories are carefully fashioned to have the maximum impact with minimum words, and are truly terrifying. The haunting mood will linger with readers long after the book is completed. After reading "Afraid of Clowns," they'll never look at a circus clown in the same way ever again. Each tale opens with a double-page, black-and-white line drawing. The front cover has Stine's name at the bottom and top, and if that doesn't draw readers, the iridescent eyes that seem to follow them will. While longer than Alvin Schwartz's "Scary Stories" trio (HarperCollins), and less "ghostly" than Great Ghost Stories, edited by Barry Moser (Morrow, 1998), these tales will be a hit in read-alouds with older readers. They also have great potential for introducing and enhancing a creative-writing unit. The author's name alone makes this a "must buy," and it's guaranteed to produce goosebumps.-Molly S. Kinney, Office of Public Library Services, Atlanta, GA Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.

Product Details

HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
Edition description:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
5.12(w) x 7.62(h) x 0.40(d)
Age Range:
8 - 12 Years

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

"Halloween is ruined!” Mike declared. “It's no fun trick-or-treating while it's still light out! Why do we have to be home by eight o'clock?”

Mom rolled her eyes. “Get in the car,” she told him. “And stop complaining. You know why there's a curfew this year.”

“Because parents are stupid,” Mike grumbled.

“Because those kids disappeared last Halloween,” I said. “And the Halloween before.”

Mike shrugged. “What's that got to do with us?”

“Come on, Mike,” I said. “Get in the car. Liz and I want to get going.”

“But I don't want to pick pumpkins. It's bor-ring.” Mike crossed his skinny arms over his chest and made his pouty face. “Why do we have to go?”

“Because we do it every year,” Mom replied patiently. She is used to Mike's tantrums. We all are.

“Let's skip it and pretend we went,” Mike said. He's a real wise guy. Mike is ten, two years younger than me, and he's angry all the time.

Mom says he can't help it because he's a redhead. “Redheads have tempers,” she says.

I don't know what red hair has to do with it. Mike is always growling and complaining and shaking his fists and looking for trouble.

He got into a fight in school last week and had two of his teeth knocked out. Luckily, they were already loose.

He looked like a jack-o'-lantern with those two teeth out. But when I made a joke about it, he punched me really hard in the stomach and I almost puked up my whole dinner.

“Come on, Mike. Let's go,” I said. I gave him a playful bump from behind to get him moving.

He spun around and swung a fist at me. “Watch it, Andrew!”

“Hey!” I laughed. “It was anaccident!”

“Your face is an accident!” Mike snapped.

“Come on, Mike,” my friend Liz chimed in. “I've never picked pumpkins before. You can help me find a good one.”

Mike likes Liz. He's usually on pretty good behavior when she's around. Still pouting, he climbed into the front seat of the car.

Liz and I rolled our eyes, relieved that we were finally on our way. We climbed into the backseat and buckled our seatbelts.

Liz is twelve like me, and she lives across the street. But her parents both work till late every day, so Liz spends a lot of time at our house.

We both gazed out the window, watching the trees whir past. Autumn leaves fell all around, like red and yellow rain. Soon the trees ended, and we zoomed past farms and fields plowed over for winter.

“Well, are you going to help me pick a pumpkin, Mike?”

Liz asked.

“Yeah. Just don't let Andrew help you,” Mike replied. “Andrew's pumpkins are always rotten inside. Just like him.”

“Whatever,” I said. I knew he was just looking for a fight, but I really hate arguing with him all the time. Why does he always have to be so wired?

I peered out the window and saw an orange, pumpkin-shaped sign on the side of the road. It said: palmer's pumpkin farm, 1 mile.

I pictured Mr. Palmer, the owner of the pumpkin farm. What a scary guy. He reminded me of one of his scarecrows: tall and skinny, wearing overalls that were way too big for him. He always walked so stiffly, patrolling his fields, staring at everyone with frightening, blank eyes that looked like deep, dark holes in his face.

“Here we are,” Mom said brightly. She turned into the long gravel driveway and followed it to the parking lot. Four or five cars were parked near the ragged wooden fence.

I climbed out of the car and stretched my arms over my head. It was a sunny day, cold for October. I could see my breath steam in front of me. The farm air smelled fresh and sweet.

A young woman in an orange parka and orange wool ski cap greeted us at the gate. “The pumpkins on the first hill are a little too ripe,” she told us. “And the ones near this gate have already been picked over. Try the next field.”

We thanked her and started through the gate. “Oh--one more thing . . . ” she called after us. She pointed to the left. “See that tall, green wooden fence over there? Mr. Palmer doesn't want anyone near that fence, okay?”

“Why not?” Mike asked. “What's over there?” Typical Mike.

“That's Mr. Palmer's private pumpkin patch,” the young woman answered.

We made our way through the gate. The pumpkin fields stretched on forever, uphill then down, as far as I could see. Slender, green vines unfurled like long snakes over the dirt. At the ends of the vines sat pumpkins--all different sizes, hundreds and hundreds of them, like orange balloons tethered to the ground.

Scarecrows on tall poles tilted over the pumpkins. They were just old coats stuffed with straw. But from a distance they looked like tired old men leaning against the wind.

“Hey, Andrew,” Mike whispered, trotting to keep up with Liz and me. “Let's check out Palmer's private patch. I'll bet he keeps the best pumpkins there.”

“No way!” I said. “Try not to get us in trouble today. Okay?”

“Wimp,” Mike muttered.

I ignored him. I really didn't want to fight.

My sneakers scraped over the hard dirt as I led the way to the rows of pumpkins. Peering into the glare of afternoon sunlight, I saw two kids at the top of the first hill. They came staggering down, struggling to carry an enormous pumpkin between them.

Mike laughed. “Look at those geeks. They'll never make it.”

He bent and scooped up a softball-sized pumpkin from the dirt. “Think fast, Andrew!” He tossed it at me.

Startled, I raised my hands too late. The pumpkin sailed over my shoulder and landed on the ground with a splat.

Meet the Author

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.

Brief Biography

New York, New York
Date of Birth:
October 8, 1943
Place of Birth:
Columbus, Ohio
B.A., Ohio State University, 1965

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Nightmare Hour 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 60 reviews.
Cobra360 More than 1 year ago
Nightmare Hour By; R.L. Stine In my opinion, the purpose of this book is to scare and gross out the reader; to scare the socks out of them. I think what the author is trying to say is: stories should be fun and scary for example when families are out camping they can read a scary story and kids and adults can get scared with a story that can be entertaining and scary at the same time. This book is about a boy named Ned that has to spend Halloween night in a hospital. He meets a ghost that wants his skin (wants his soul). Now Ned has to figure out a way to escape from the hospital before it's to late. My thoughts are: when I started to read this book I saw images in my head. They were so powerful that it felt like I was a part of the story. So what I'm trying to say is that the author used imagery and when I saw imagery in the book I said to my self " Oh this is a good book". One part that I remember is when something evil started to hurt Ned by having spiders and rats crawling out of his mouth. The spiders were all over his skin and when Ned scratched his skin the more easier for the spiders to go under his skin. I would recommend it to any one that is up to scary stories. Due to the fact that there was so many interesting parts in the book that you couldn't of even imagined that there was going to be in the book. Sometimes when I read this book at night I start to wonder and I start to get scared and suddenly I sometimes start having Nightmares on what I reading. Then I start feels like if I was the protagonist in the story. When you start to read this book there is no turning back. Thats what makes the book interesting to read because some parts surprise you. For example one part of the story that was surprising was when Ned was trapped. I thought it was just a prank but it seem real to be a prank so be ready to be tricked by the unreliable narrator. So be careful what you read because you can fall in a deep dark room and you won't know what to do so read careful. And lastly in my opinion I think the book is a well written book. And It has unreliable parts in the book that are just mayhem they are just out of control. But If you want to find out the craziness of this book you have to read it put your old book to the side and get your self a copy of Nightmare Hour you won't regret it. Like I said once you read this book there is no turning back. HA HA HA! By; Eduardo Calles November 16, 2010
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I love this book!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The storys are really good and scary.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Thos book was really cool. Ive read a lot of hos books. I would have to say this is a favoite!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It's so deep, gothic, and dark setting from this book!
Morgan Novosel More than 1 year ago
if you are looking for stories that you can read in minutes that will still give you chills, than this is the book for you!! Creepy stories in the perfect amount of time. Just great. Read for yourself and youll really understsnd what i mean.
bookgirl888 More than 1 year ago
This book sent chills down my back! All the stories have a fun twist at the end! Some stories are definitely better than others, but they were all great! I read this book in a few hours, without putting it down. This is my favorite book!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is about three kid's named Mike,Liz,and Andrew and a crazy farmer named Mr.Palmer with his special pumpkin patcth. But when Mike,Liz,and Andrew go looking for pumkins Mike tries to get in Mr.Palmer's special pumpkin patch he get's caught. And that same night Mike goes back into Mr.Palmers pumpkin patch and... This book is really awesome it was very very suspeseful and I recommend this book to kids 8-13 because it is very SCARY!!!!!!!!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This was a thrilling book. I also like the author, R.L. Stine, I wish I could get all of his other books. I loved it and highly recommend Nightmare hour to other readers who like scary books.
Guest More than 1 year ago
i highly recommend this book to everyone! I enjoyed every single chapter! It took me about an hour to finish! i just couldn t put the book down!
Guest More than 1 year ago
There are books the books you read that just get tossed away to collect dust, and then... dun,dun,dun there are books that grasp at your most inner thoughts and imaginations, that fill you with fear and excitement. This is one of those books!! I think I have read it three times or more now, and it never gets old. I love the thought and detail put into this book, among others by RL.Stine. I am not one to give a book a chance. I want gore, suspense, excitement, sex, love...right from the get-go with a great story behind it. This book...WOW!! I loved it and I think I read it in a day!! It feeds on your fears and goes into great detail allowing you to feel as tho you are actually watching the events unfold. It is another book for me to watch...those are the type of books I love. The books that open your mind and allow your imagination to come to life.
Guest More than 1 year ago
If you luv scary stories.If you do this book will give u some to think about.This book is sure to scare you.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Nightmare Hour was thrilling! Just a few stories to keep your mind spining in all directions! Each Chapter has a diffrent story and leaves you guessing what happened next! R L Stine is a genious and is the very best! If you havent read any of his books start reading cause there's alot! Once you start you won't stop! Trust me!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
What a great book! Simply one of the greatest short stories books I've ever read. I highly recommend this book for anyone who likes R.L. Stine, but doesn't like to waste time reading the entire book. Stine comes up with 10 great stories each as good as the last.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The best story out of all of them in that book was Nightmare Inn. It made the hairs on the back of my neck stand up and curl. It was so kool and I still read it over and over again.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I love scary stories. I love this book. Your going to need a light on when you read this story. Some of the stories can give you the creeps. My favorite story out of all ten of them is The Black Mask. That might be the scariest one of them all.This book earns defintley earns FIVE STARS!!!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book is overall the best one that R.L. Stine has ever written(in my opinion). The pictures were so realistic. Some of the stories were pretty frightening; a definate scary times 100 above his(R.L. Stine) other series, Goosebumps.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I thought this book was just totally cool I mean I have never read a book so scary!!! My favorit one was of the mask.I really want to read it again and a scare for my LIFE!!!!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
Pumpkin Head...Alien Candy...The Most Evil Sorceror...Nightmare Inn... I'n not Martin... The Black Mask...Afraid of Clowns...The Dead Body...Make Me A Witch...The Ghostly Stare. All very good! The stories are good. Shows that R.L. is one of the best. If you read this on a stormy day...alone it will get the best of you. Definitly a favorite for me!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
It was the best book I've read of his so far and I read most of them and I hate reading.
Guest More than 1 year ago
great, not like any other stine book....... loved how there were a bunch of short stories
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is the best R.L. Stine EVER!!!!!!!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Step into a world with lots of live skeletons, flesh-eating aliens, and vines growing human heads...but no happy endings.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The book I read was Nightmare Hour by R.L Stine, and if you are into scary/horror stories your in for a chill. So never read this book in the dark and while asleep. keep one eye open always. Nightmare Hour has a variety of stories to scare you as it did to me. One story I particularly liked was Afraid Of Clowns. It takes place in Greenville,Florida. At a circus with lots of clowns, animals, trailers, and people. The characters are Billy and Christopher. Christopher has always been afraid of clowns because he knows that clowns are stupid and not funny. The plot was when Christopher is threatened by a clown. the clown saysÓyou can die,you can die laughingÓ Then Christopher goes to the circus because he was forced by his parents and then the same clown was there. Then the clown called down Christopher to be a helper. Chistoper goes down and then the clowns start acting and the pain begins for Christopher. ThatÕs all I can tell you. This book has vivid descriptions from other authors from other books. Also other authors wrote some stories based on their lives and conflicts throughout their entire life. Nightmare Hour was an engaging book that had scary,funny,chilling and frighting stories. ItÕs perfect for people who are into scary books, for people that need a laugh, and excellent for people who are just plain old scaredy cats.