Goosebumps. The Countdown to Halloween.

This blog along with many others is part of a month long countdown to the spookiest night of the year.  Head over to Countdown to Halloween after reading this blog for so much more.

When last we met, I was talking about my five year old son’s newest obsession with monsters and things that go bump in the night.  His favorite of all the ghosts and ghouls is the wolfman.  I’m sorry, the werewolf.  Wolfman is the wrong thing to say.  I’m guessing because he pictures a Wolf-Man.  Some Stan Lee creation that was bitten by a radioactive wolf or donned the mask of a wolf that had been passed down for generations.  You get the point.  I turned to that wealth of potential treasure, YouTube, to find scenes from monster movies and cartoons starring a werewolf.  Yet, I had fear all I would find were clips from R rated monster movies or home videos of bored kids with a mask.

Unknown to me though there was a werewolf in the recent Goosebumps movie.  One of those promoted movie clips videos showed up in the top of the search.  There’s a werewolf in a grocery store.  How could we not click to watch on this?


There went the next hour of my life.  Not only did he become obsessed with this werewolf terrorizing four heroes in a grocery store but the auto play exposed him to the other villains of this movie.  The werewolf snarls, he howls, he drools, he is wearing basketball shorts and sneakers for some reason.  (Here’s where I admit that I have never read a single page of a Goosebumps book.  I wrote in previous years about my fear of all things horror and how I finally came around as a fan in more recent years.  Search for Halloween on the site to read those posts.)  In short, he’s gross and scary yet has remnants of something familiar and human thus my son loves it.

Great, now I got a werewolf walking around here.  I have to run away from him.  He stands up on a table and I’m throwing fake meat to make him go away.  No wait, now I’m the werewolf and he’s chasing after me.  This is exhausting.  Cant we play this game sitting down somehow?

Oh.  We can.  Because as I mentioned earlier, YouTube auto played clips of the other monsters.  Giant praying mantis.  Lawn gnomes (or, “evil Santas” as my kid calls them), grass monsters (zombies), and the giant white monkey – otherwise known as an Abominable Snowman, or a Ye-Ti if you’re an old school wrestling fan.  Or, the main villain of the movie – Slappy the Dummy.  While my son may not be aware of the logistics of a ventriloquist puppet, I am very much aware that Slappy can’t be shown walking around on his own or running after someone.  Which means Slappy is a delight to play.  I can just sit in a chair and say creepy things and someone runs away from me screaming.  Its a lot like being an awkward kid in high school.

The YouTube clips were no longer enough, also my curiosity was piqued so we made the half hour drive to our nearest shopping district and looked for the Goosebumps movie.  The only thing better than a used DVD rack at a media store is the multi format packaging that seems to no longer be done.  Goosebumps DVD and Blu Ray in one case for one low price, yes please.  That’s a pretty Blu Ray to play at home and a DVD to watch in the car on a long trip.  Like the next half hour drive for who knows what new obsession.

Speaking of driving, sometime this weekend it looks like the whole family will be taking a five minute drive down the road to our local movie theater to see Goosebumps 2.  The wee Hellion is beginning to love the movies.  He’s understanding the rules and how can you not be happy with a giant soda and popcorn next to you on a comfy reclining seat?  His only complaint is waiting through too many trailers, which is a problem many adults cant get over so he’s in good company.

One of the best parts of this Goosebumps obsession and pretend play is that he has understood and picked up on the importance of the books and the printed word within the movie.  When we pretend to be any one of the monsters he has to throw down a book for the monster to either come out of or go back into.  We pretend to read one of the books in the movie to set up the next scene of our adventure.  While the Goosebumps books themselves are above his current reading level, they’re not going anywhere.  They will be there waiting for him to read when he’s ready.  And maybe I’ll read one by then too.


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