Recap #304: Jude’s Easter Casket – Goosebumps: The Homemade Monster by R.L. Stine

TV Guide March 15 1997
TV Guide March 15 1997

Title: Goosebumps – The Homemade Monster, a.k.a. “Do Not Taunt Happy Fun Monster”

Author: R.L. Stine

Illustrator: Brad Weinman

Tagline: EXCLUSIVE – An original spine-tingling Goosebumps tale from creator R.L. Stine!

Summary: Goosebumps, the Fox show based on his renowned thriller series, was the top TV program among kids last year. His autobiography It Came From Ohio!, has just been published. Now R.L. Stine has written this twisted Goosebumps tale for TV GUIDE. Get ready, America’s best-selling author is about to really mess with your mind

Initial Thoughts

And just like that, another Goosebumps tale which would’ve been lost to the ages were it not for the internet.

I would personally like to thank Spongey445 for bringing this story to my attention when he posted on Twitter about locating a Goosebumps short story in an issue of TV Guide.

As soon as I found out about “The Homemade Monster” I searched for that exact issue of TV Guide and bought it off eBay. Thankfully the price wasn’t jacked up because it had a rare short story in it.

[Wing: I continue to be impressed by the Goosebumps fandom and how hard they work to save material that would otherwise be lost.]


Holly and her brother Max built their very own monster in their garage, yet it turned out to be a total piece of shit. It was SUPPOSED to come to life and do all kinds of horrifying, nasty things around the neighborhood. Y’know, why build a monster if you’re not gonna have it traumatize a few deserving rubes? But they put the batteries in, flipped the ON switch, and nada. [Wing: Utterly heartbreaking. These poor kids tried so hard. Homemade monsters just aren’t the same anymore.]

I always knew that Duracell rabbit was a fucking liar!

We stared down at its lumpy, green head; its bulging, yellow eyes; its rubbery, blue lips. The monster’s mouth hung open, revealing a fat, prickly tongue and two rows of pointed teeth, all brown and rotting.

Well at least the monster’s got looks to fall back on, but Max was mega disappointed.

“I knew it wouldn’t work, Holly,” Max groaned. “Now how will we terrorize the neighborhood.”

Blow up a car? Send threatening letters? Flood someone’s basement while they’re away? Stalk the hot single mom living down the block? Set a cat on fire and let it into someone’s book club? C’mon guys the possibilities are endless!

The Homemade Monster by Brad Weinman
The Homemade Monster by Brad Weinman (Courtesy of Spongey)

Holly and Max’s mom wasn’t aware of the lifeless monster set up in their garage, but she did hear the racket the two made while they were putting it together.

“You weren’t bothering the neighbors, were you?”

“It bothers the neighbors if we breathe!” Max complained.

Holly finally goes into detail over just how awful their neighbors are to warrant a monster attack.

They don’t like loud voices. Or music. They hate our dog. They hate it when we have a bunch of kids over for a soccer game in our backyard. They hate it when we laugh.

[Wing: Honestly, hating my beloved Monster Dog deserves some sort of punishment.]

First there’s the Gavins. Mrs. Gavin filed a nose complaint just because Holly was singing on her birthday. Mr. Gavin once said he was allergic to kids and launches into a sneezing fit whenever Holly and Max are near his house.

Then there’s Mr. Marcum, who’s called the police each and every time a frisbee or ball accidentally lands on his yard. Oh God and this was before “Stand Your Ground” was a thing in the public consciousness.

Oh, and there was that time Max fell off his bike and skinned his knee pretty badly on Marcum’s driveway. Marcum ran outside… because he was worried Max got blood on the asphalt.

The Gavins and Mr. Marcum are so awful to Holly and Max the kids are afraid to leave their house. That’s when the siblings decided payback was necessary.

Boy it sure was lucky that day they found the Homemade Monster Maker Kit by a trash can in the alley behind their school. And why did they find the Homemade Monster Maker Kit by a trash can in the alley behind their school?


“The Homemade Monster Maker Kit makes monsters so frightening, your neighbors will be shaking like Jell-O.”

That sounded good to us.

So after bringing random trash into their house, Holly and Max spent an afternoon sawing, hammering, doing this and that, stuffing pink organs inside blue skin, until they were left with an inert, rubbery pile of useless monster in their garage.

The eyeballs were the worst. Max and I each took one to pop into the empty eye sockets. But mine was so wet and slippery I dropped it. [Wing: Well this is disgusting.]

It made a sick splat on the concrete floor. I think it cracked. But I picked it up and popped it into the monster head anyway.

All that hard work. And the monster refused to move.

Well maybe he’s pissed because your broke his eye, Holly! How’s he supposed to scare anyone when he doesn’t have depth perception, like some bargain basement cyclops?!

Anyway, Holly and Max were so disappointed they left the monster in the garage (without ever stopping to ask how their parents will react to seeing it) and went to bed.

That night Holly and Max were in for a surprise when they heard a rumbling sound coming from the garage. They watched as the supposedly lifeless monster opened the garage doors and shamble out! AND IT WAS COMING THIS WAY!

Holly saw the bad eye fall out of the monster’s head; it didn’t even stop to pick it up. The siblings were too terrified to move as they heard the monster burst into the house and make its way up the stairs to where Holly and Max were huddling.

Inside Holly’s room, the monster cornered the two and thanked them for putting it together. Holly couldn’t believe it, they had their own very own monster!

Well, almost.

See, it turns out the thing they assembled isn’t ACTUALLY the monster.

What Holly and Max assembled was the Monster Making KIT.

“I’m not the monster,” it repeated. “I MAKE the monsters!”

And he proceeded to do just that.

It grabbed Max and me. It pulled at our faces. It stretched out our noses and tugged out our lips.

When it finished, Max and I stumbled to the mirror. We stared at ourselves in shock. Our big, lumpy heads bobbed on our twisted shoulders. Our eyes bulged out. Our jagged teeth jutted out from our huge, rubbery lips.

We were disgusting, gross monsters.

Oh geez they’re the Maitlands.

Beetlejuice - The Maitlands
Beetlejuice – The Maitlands

How did Holly and Max feel about this grotesque body modification?

“Cool!” I declared.

“Cool!” Max agreed. “Let’s go visit the neighbors.”

Final Thoughts

…I mean as long as they’re happy I guess that’s the most important thing?

[Wing: This might be my favorite of the Goosebumps short stories. This is so fucking cute, just a little bit gross, and a delightful little twist at the end.]