"Nutcracker Nightmare" is the second short story in More & More & More Tales to Give You Goosebumps.


Samantha, who much prefers the nickname Sam, is being taken to The Nutcracker ballet. Their tickets were provided by Sam's old babysitter, Mrs. Boren, who Sam likes to call "old Boring". When Sam arrives, she offends Mrs. Boren by saying the ballet will be boring. Mrs. Boren questions aloud if Sam knows what boredom really is.

When Sam is seated, she notices something strange: everyone seems to be going incredibly slowly. When the dancers dance, it is very slow. When the crowd claps, it is for an unusually long time. Sam tries to warn her mom multiple times, but her mom gets mad at her every time. When Sam takes a good look at her mother, she sees that her mom has grown some gray hair, something she hadn't had earlier in the day. Sam decides that she will exit the theater. She walks for a considerable amount of time, and then she sprints. Sam soon realizes that her seat is still only a few feet behind her, and the exit is far away. Sam sits down in defeat.

Sam hears the dress that she's wearing rip. She has grown! When she had entered, the dress was too big for her. The curtain falls, and Sam feels immense relief. Mrs. Boren tells Sam not to worry, as the second act will start soon.


  • In this story, the characters attend The Nutcracker ballet. When the narrator sees the ballet, she describes its opening as such: "Onstage, the dancers were moving slowly in their colorful tutus." In actuality, the The Nutcracker ballet doesn't immediately feature dancers in tutus.
  • "Nutcracker Nightmare" and "The Ice Vampire", which appear consecutively in the book, each feature a protagonist that goes by the name Sam.
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