Title: The Haunting Hour – A Tasty Halloween Treat, a.k.a. “I STILL Wanna Be A Werewolf For Halloween!”
Author: R.L. Stine
Summary: We asked R.L. Stine, the writer of all things creepy, to scare up an original, Halloween-themed short story for us to coincide with R.L. Stine’s The Haunting Hour: Don’t Think About It (CARTOON, 8/7c), a 2007 TV-movie based on his children’s book series and starring Hannah Montana’s Emily Osment. Let the terror begin…
I definitely have a vague memory of reading this story years and years ago, but I’d forgotten all about it until the Goosebumps fandom unearthed it again.
The Haunting Hour began as a short story collection Stine published in the early 2000s. The TV movie Don’t Think About It isn’t actually based on any of the stories in the aforementioned collection, nor was it part of Stine’s other anthology Nightmare Hour.
The movie aired on Cartoon Network during that infamous period where they tried to incorporate live action shows and movies in their line up. I remember that era. I’m not fond of it.
Don’t Think About It featured a grumpy, self-centered goth girl and her cowardly little brother adjusting to their new home. Said goth girl gets her hands on a mysterious book about “The Evil Thing,” which ends with a warning that you can’t think about it. [Wing: I love that concept in a story.] The movie featured a LOT of product placement, especially for Papa John’s Pizza since one of the supporting characters was a delivery guy who gets captured by the Evil Thing.
Roughly three years later, the Hub Network released the Haunting Hour TV series which had nothing to do with Don’t Think About It. Stranger still, most of its episodes were either brand new stories or were taken from the Nightmare Hour collection. As a matter of fact, one episode was actually based off of a Strange Matter book. Marty Engle and Johnny Ray Barnes even worked on it.
[Wing: I can’t get past that TV Guide cover. Do you know how long it’s been since I saw a TV Guide?! Is that the woman from Castle? What terrible font choices! Why does that guy’s face look so weird?
… I really need to pay attention to why we’re really here! Hunters’ Moon is one of my fave full moons.]
Brian looked in the mirror and couldn’t believe how awesome his werewolf costume was. It was perfect for trick-or-treating AND for the Halloween party being held at school the following night. I guess the school had the smart idea to not hone in on the kids’ trick-or-treating.
Before he went out, Brian’s dad warned him to be careful with that costume. It was a rental from that new shop, Living Costumes.
Oh surely that’s not foreshadowing.
[Wing: AHAHAHAHAHAHA SUBTLE. SO MUCH SUBTLE.]
Brian promised he wouldn’t bite anyone and ran off into the cool Halloween night. Down the block Brian saw another kid in a werewolf costume. He recognized the voice as belonging to his friend Sam. They’d both gotten werewolf costumes from Living Costumes. Now they could trick-or-treat together as the Wolf Brothers! [Wing: Okay, this is pretty charming.]
Brian and Sam began to howl at the moon when they suddenly felt strange. Their costumes began to tighten against their skin and they dropped on all fours on their paws. Paws? Brian’s fur bristled and his pointed ears perked up to the sounds of children screaming in fear.
Oh wow they turned into their costumes who’d have expected that from a store called Living Costumes.
[Wing: SO SUBTLE OH MY GOD. If you’re going to turn into your costume, though, werewolf is the best choice. Obviously.]
Brian and Sam escaped from the screaming and the frightened people by dashing into the woods. Inside the forest, Brian felt at home as he listened to the wind whistling through the trees and felt the grass underneath his paws. The two friends felt utter euphoria as two wolves in the woods.
But it couldn’t last for much longer.
Brian saw the moon was sinking lower into the sky; he’d have to go home. But could he? Brian struggled to stand up and scratched at his face until finally he was able to get his face off. It’d reverted back into a mask and he was now a human.
[Wing: OUCH. The image this gives me, of claws tearing into skin and a face peeling away, is disgusting, and I love it. This is another story concept that I adore, having to literally tear away the mask to break the spell.]
Back home, Brian thought about the utter rush of being a wolf and couldn’t wait to do it again.
Problem is, when Brian left school he found a new costume waiting for him in his bedroom. Oh sorry Brian your dad had to bring the wolf costume back since it was a one-day rental. But don’t worry he got you a new costume that’s just as good.
Brian’s dad got him a bunny costume.
Sure enough, Brian found himself turning into a bunny rabbit.
At least Sam got to keep his wolf costume.
But, um, Sam, Brian can’t help but notice what big, sharp, glistening teeth you have.
And, heh, Sam my man, you’re uh, you’re kinda looking at Brian a bit funny…
And we thought the kid from A Christmas Story had it rough.
[Wing: Fuck, how is this so fucking cute? Multiple scenarios I love in horror fiction, adorable kids wanting werewolf costumes, a ridiculous ending, it’s so fucking cute.
Between this and unexpectedly loving the movie I recapped for Snark at the Moon! (come back Sunday, October 9 to read), I appear to be in a real good mood when it comes to werewolf stories. ‘Tis the season, I suppose.]