Book 48: Attack of the Jack-O’-Lanterns
We’ve definitely entered the era of Goosebumps where I still bought the books but didn’t read them. This lasted until about 4-5 books later when I stopped purchasing them. I remember really loving this cover though.
The story is a Halloween Revenge story (classic R.L. Stine). Drew, Walker, Shane and Shana are sick of Lee and Tabby’s yearly halloween pranks. They are determined to get revenge after two failed attempts in the past they plan to go all out.
Drew and Walker invite Lee and Tabby to join them for trick-or-treating. Suddenly two people wearing Jack-O’-Lanterns for heads come over. When they speak flames explode from their mouths. Lee and Tabby know it’s Shane and Shana but still follow them to another neighborhood and begin trick-or-treating.
After a while they realize these two people aren’t Shane or Shana, they accident remove their heads and discover these are living breathing people with pumpkin heads. Soon dozens of Pumpkinhead creatures come out with pumpkins in their hands.
After putting the pumpkins on Lee and Tabby’s heads Drew and Walker explode into laughter as Shane and Shana (two aliens) shapeshift back into their human forms. Drew and Walker then discover that their alien friends may eat people (but only if they’re fat).
THE BAD: I actually enjoyed the book until the end. The whole time I’m reading it I was thinking “There’s no sign of Shane or Shana still. They must be the Jack-O’-Lanterns but how did they do it?” And then... Aliens? Really? it’s a pretty random and shitty ending with an extra lame twist about eating humans.
THE GOOD: As far as storytelling and pacing goes this is one of Stine’s best. Starting the first 8 chapters in the past building on previous Halloween disasters gave us a deeper understanding of these characters. It’s a shame the ending is so bad.
THE TV SHOW EPISODE: This was a pretty solid book adaptation. They probably could have done this as a two-parter but it worked perfectly fine as a single episode. The actor playing the “Old Man Who kidnaps Children” should get an Emmy for his awesomely over the top performance. Meanwhile Drew’s father is incredibly terrible. The effects of the Jack O Lantern heads is pretty decent looking.