The cover illustration features a spider using a web to cover up a shoe and a pencil.
Steven is a big fan of magic. The problem is that most of his tricks come at the expense of his friends Ava and Courtney. The girls decide to get their revenge on Steven by tricking him into drinking a strange mixture of chemicals. Steven starts to feel weird. Either his toothbrush is growing or he is shrinking! The world feels like a much bigger place when you're only nine inches tall. Will Steven be able to make it through his gigantic house to find help? And even if he does, will he ever be back to his normal size again?
The book begins with a short introduction from the Story-Keeper, the HorrorLand employee who is in charge of the Hall of Horrors. The Story-Keeper introduces the reader to the talented Steven Sweeney...
Steven Sweeney is performing magic tricks for his friends Ava Munroe and Courtney Jackson. Steven is practicing with Ava and Courtney because they will be his assistants at the talent show the next day. Steven leaves and goes to his piano lesson taught by Mr. Pinker. Mr. Pinker offers Steven a cookie and carefully watches him eat it. Steven has to go to the bathroom, so he looks around Mr. Pinker's house. He accidentally opens a door and sees a room that looks like a tiny town of small doll houses. Mr. Pinker gets angry at Steven for going into that room and yells at him. Mr. Pinker and Steven continue his lesson and Steven eats another cookie. After his lesson, Steven finds both Ava and Courtney at Ava's house making a salad. Steven begins juggling eggs and two eggs land on Ava's head. Courtney tells Steven that she and Ava will get revenge. Steven goes home and sees that his parents are carefully inspecting a bird that is the size of a parrot. Steven's parents say the bird flew in through their window and that it looks like a baby hawk. Steven's dad names it Bugsy.
The next day is the talent show, and Stevens act is going well. Steven performs a trick where he makes Bugsy appear, and when Bugsy appears, he licks Steven's cheek. The last trick in Steven's performance involves juggling while drinking a glass of water. The trick goes well until he tries to drink. The drink tastes disgusting, and it causes Steven to gag and then run offstage. Ava and Courtney reveal that this was their revenge. Steven is upset and runs home. When he gets inside, his clothes become loose. When he gets to the bathroom, he has to reach up to get to the sink. Eventually, his clothes fall away and he realizes he is shrinking. He believes that Ava and Courtney made him drink chemicals that caused him to shrink. Steven goes to his room and takes clothes from one of his puppets and a doll. Steven's cell phone is on his bed, so he has to climb up his now giant bed. Steven manages to climb his bed and call Ava, but she cannot hear him and hangs up. Steven remembers that he is supposed to go to go to his cousin's house for dinner, but he also realizes that it would take days to get there. He decides to instead go to Ava's house because she lives across the street.
On a long trip to the front door, Steven almost drowns in a bucket of soapy water, but he is pulled out by Bugsy, who is trying to eat him. When running away from Bugsy, Steven runs into a menacing spider, but Bugsy eats the spider. Steven approaches the front door but realizes that he cannot open it. He instead chooses to climb out of the mail slot. Steven crosses the street and enters Ava's house through the cat door. Steven goes to Ava's room and manages to get her attention. Steven blamed Ava for his shrinking, but Ava tells Steven that she had given him vinegar. Ava has to leave for a minute, but while she is gone, Steven is blown out of the window and carried away by an owl. The bird carries Steven to Mr. Pinker's house, so Steven decides to venture inside. While looking for Mr. Pinker, Steven finds the room with the small houses. Inside the houses, he sees tiny boys and girls who are standing perfectly still!
Steven goes to Mr. Pinker's kitchen and sees him baking cookies while talking on the phone. Steven tries to get his attention by standing on a cookie tray. Steven then assumed that the cookies were what caused him to shrink. Mr. Pinker picks up the cookie tray that Steven is on and is about to put it in the oven when he sees Steven. Steven blames Mr. Pinker and his cookies for shrinking him, but Mr. Pinker says that his cookies were only made with dough bought from the store. Mr. Pinker also explains that the room full of dollhouses was his hobby.
Mr. Pinker drives Steven to his house, but they find two people in lab coats, Dr. Marcum and Dr. Beach, in Steven's house. Dr. Beach says that they needed to take Steven away. He also says that he talked to Steven's parents and that they gave Steven permission to go. Mr. Pinker refuses to give Steven to them without the permission of Steven's parents. Dr. Beach trips Mr. Pinker when he tries to run away causing Mr. Pinker to drop Steven. Dr. Marcum picks up Steven, and the two scientists retreat to their truck. Inside the truck, Steven sees that the scientists also kidnapped Bugsy. The scientists tell Steven that they are taking him to their lab. The scientists say that they found Steven's house through the Internet ad created by Steven's dad. The ad requested that the owner of Bugsy come to retrieve him. Bugsy used to be a regular-sized hawk, but after lab tests involving Human Growth Hormone and Human Shrink Hormone, he shrunk to the size of a parrot. After being shrunk, Bugsy escaped. The scientists says that Bugsy caused Steven to shrink by licking Steven's face. As Dr. Marcum is carrying Steven to the lab, Steven asks him how they will restore him to his previous size, and they say that they will not.
The scientists put Steven because they cannot have anybody knowing about their experiments. Once the scientists leave, Steven sees a giant canary in the cage next to his. Steven then comes up with a plan. He asks the canary for a kiss, and, to his surprise, the bird actually licks his cheek. Steven begins to grow. As he grows, he unlatches the cage that he is in and hops out. His doll clothes rip and fall off of him. Despite being completely naked, Steven is extremely happy. In an attempt to distract the scientists, Steven opens all of the bird cages before attempting to leave. The two scientists came back and they were so distracted by the birds that they did not see the naked boy escape.
A naked Steven runs home and gets dressed. He is telling his parents what happened to him when Bugsy flies through their open window and licks Steven's cheek.
The story jumps back to HorrorLand. The Story-Keeper escorts Steven to his own room. The Story-Keeper also introduces a newcomer named Monica Anderson. Monica will be the teller of the following story, The Five Masks of Dr. Screem.
- The first printing of the book listed the series as Goosebumps HorrorLand: Hall of Horrors. This would be the last to use that previous title.
- It's possible this book is based on the unreleased Goosebumps Series 2000 book, The Incredible Shrinking Fifth Grader.
- The book's plot of a shrinking boy is also similar to The Adventures of Shrinkman, another book written by R.L. Stine.
- In this book, the protagonist eventually assumes a potion made by their female friend alone did the shrinking, and something similar happens in Shrinkman.
- This book references Chopin, Ringling Brothers Circus, Barbie dolls, and Ken dolls.
- The preview for this book included in Claws! says "Courtney is black". The final version changes this to "Courtney is African-American."
References in other Goosebumps media
- Giant spiders from this book appear in an early script for the Goosebumps film.
- In Goosebumps: The Game, there's an achievement called "Night of the Giant Inventory."
|Goosebumps Hall of Horrors series|
|#01 Claws!||#04 Why I Quit Zombie School|
|#02 Night of the Giant Everything||#05 Don't Scream!|
|#03 The Five Masks of Dr. Screem||#06 The Birthday Party of No Return!|