Title: Goosebumps – The Haunted House Game, a.k.a. “Goosemanji”
Authors: R.L. Stine and Corinna Ortiz
Summary: Two children and the children that they are babysitting play a strange board game.
This’ll be a first, recapping a story I already recapped. But with a tweest!
“The Haunted House Game” was part of Even More Tales To Give You Goosebumps, the third collection of Goosebumps short stories. It told the story of a group of children passing the time by playing a board game called “Haunted House.”
However, there’s a new wrinkle to add to the story. In 1996, Fox Kids Magazine (a.k.a. Totally Kids Magazine), held a contest where kids could send in their own alternate ending to this story. The winning entry was selected and published in the Summer ’96 issue. This would’ve been lost to the ages (or at least taken a while for the Goosebumps fandom to discover) if I hadn’t stumbled upon this post.
Corinna Ortiz’s entry was selected as the winning ending, and despite that it wasn’t included in the published format (since “The Haunted House Game” was already released), it seems this might’ve inspired the direction the TV episode’s adaption went in. Try to see if you can spot the exact moment the story deviates from its original version.
Corinna, if you’re out there please know your contribution to the Goosebumps mythos will not be forgotten.
It was a dull and boring night as Jonathan groped around in the darkness, trying to find something exciting to play with. At long last, Jonathan had found something to spice up the evening and pulled it out in the open for everyone to see.
Geez, Nadine can’t believe this. Jonathan wants them to play Haunted House again? Noah and Annie couldn’t believe it either, and begged Jonathan to let them play something else like Parcheesi, or Strip Poker, or Strip Parcheesi. Jonathan insisted Haunted House was a much better game, because it’s the kind of game that has ghosts AND it’s different every time you play. Suck on THAT, Candyland!
Jonathan just wanted SOMETHING to break up the monotony of having to babysit his little twin siblings.
Twins! So Hermian, yet so Hestian!
At least his best friend Nadine got to hang out and watch the little’uns with him. As soon as he began setting up the gameboard, a heavy lightning storm lit up the night sky. Now Jonathan’s been saddled with the three things he hated most: lightning, thunder, and babysitting. Let him have this one thing, guys!
While Jonathan swished around the dice in the little cup that came with the board game, wind rattled all thirty-nine windows in the house. Jonathan knew there were thirty-nine because the last time he had to babysit they played “Let’s Count The Windows” Game.
Noah and Annie teased their older brother for being scared of the storm when he started to explain the rules of Haunted House.
- Go around the board trying to find the hidden ghost.
- Don’t land on SCARED TO DEATH.
That’s the entire game.
Jonathan rolled first and got a lucky seven. Maybe not so lucky, because as soon as Jonathan landed on YOU HEAR CREAKING FOOTSTEPS ON THE STAIRS, everyone heard the actual stairs begin to creak!
“Maybe it’s the cat,” Annie whispered.
“Yeah, maybe it’s the cat,” Noah echoed.
“We don’t have a cat,” I replied.
THEN WHO WAS STAIRS???
All four kids sat in silence, waiting for the other foot to drop. All Jonathan could hear was the sound of his heart beating in his chest. The stairs remained un-creaked. Nadine proposed someone left a window open in the upstairs hall and the wind made the creaking sound.
Now it was Annie’s turn, who managed to get an unholy three. She landed on WIND RATTLES THE WINDOWS. As soon as Annie put her playing piece on the marker, each and every window violently rattled. The wind howled so loudly and so hard it felt like each and every window was about to explode in a shower of a glass.
Jonathan turned towards Nadine and saw she was just as frightened. They both turned towards the twins to see how terrified they must be, but caught a break.
Because the twins were GONE!
Jonathan and Nadine looked everywhere for Noah and Annie, but they were nowhere to be found. It was like they vanished off the face of the Earth.
That’s when, over the methodical ticking of the old grandfather clock and the pouring rain, Nadine heard a sound.
A quiet, weeping sound.
And it was coming from the board game!
Terrified, Jonathan and Nadine crept towards the Haunted House board game and managed to find the twins. Noah and Annie were somehow trapped inside the the actual haunted house on the game board! Jonathan could see his little siblings crying for help behind the gate of the toy house when he heard a ghostly whisper.
“To open the gate, roll an eight.”
Jonathan quickly grabbed the dice and tossed them on the game board, managing to get two fours. An eight!
A loud thunderclap and flash of lightning lit up the house, and sure enough Noah and Annie were back at the table.
Why were they smiling like that?
What did Jonathan just unleash?
[Wing: This is too, too, too cute! I love this ending and the entire story behind the story.]
Yeah this isn’t exactly as long as the published story, but participants were only expected to send in 150 words for their endings. That’s why I decided to save this as a holiday stocking stuffer.
Corinna’s ending might’ve inspired one of the twists for the TV adaption wherein the two kids called Noah and Annie are later revealed to be ghosts who’ve fooled Jonathan and Nadine.
This is the second of what might be three or four Goosebumps short story contests that’re now fully available to the fandom at large alongside “The Surprise on the 13th Floor.” Wish me luck in the upcoming new year that I might be able to track down more information regarding the Goosebumps Creepstakes contest and the mystery of “Dead Dogs Still Fetch.”