The cover illustration depicts a vicious, demented Pomeranian dog standing in front of an old, run-down house.
TALK ABOUT BEING IN THE DOGHOUSE!
It’s Halloween. And you’ve just taken the Ultimate Challenge. You’ve entered the town’s most horrifying haunted house—Payne House.
So ready or not you’ve got exactly one chance to survive. All other paths point to THE END. Your end! Because roaming through Payne House is a giant dog-beast who wants to put a choke-chain leash—on you! Not to mention the drooling Tongue Thing that’s having a major snack attack!
The choice is yours in this scary GOOSEBUMPS adventure that's packed with over 20 super-spooky endings ― but only one way out!
It's Halloween night and the story starts with you and your friend, Trevor, sitting in your bedroom preparing for tonight's dare. You two decide to spend the night in Payne House, an abandoned house in your neighborhood that's famous for being the set of your favorite horror movie. While Trevor has never seen the Payne House film before, that doesn't stop you both from going through with the dare. The horrific elements of the movie, however, turn out to be real. Similar to Trapped in the Circus of Fear, the book forces you to choose only three out of eleven items before starting adventure, but is far harsher, as bringing only one incorrect item makes it impossible for you to survive the book. Failure is also guaranteed should you deviate from the correct route through the book. It is also possible to collect more items in the house.
The following list contains the eleven items that can be taken for the adventure:
- Baseball Bat
- Halloween Candy
- Handful of Pebbles
- Matches and Candle
- Canned Spray String
- Cassette Player
- Choke-chain Leash
- Bug Spray
- Pencil and Paper
List of endings
There are twenty-two bad endings and only one ambiguously good ending.
- You hear kids' voices in another room and go in, thinking they will help you. But it turns out they're headless ghosts; and as soon as you step through the door, one of them decapitates you.
- Invisible enemies push you and throw you over the stair banisters. It is implied that you are killed by one.
- You decide to use fire to scare away the monsters in the house, because that's what happened at the end of the movie. But you accidentally set the whole house on fire, and you can't escape, since you still can't open the windows or front door.
- One of the dog-monsters eats your candle, and the same fate awaits you.
- Trevor is trapped in the kitchen, and you need bug spray to help him. You did not bring it with you, so instead you choose to stay in the dining room and brave the Tongue Thing. But you close the door, forgetting that this makes all the doors in the house disappear. You and Trevor are now trapped forever (although the Tongue Thing doesn't kill you; it likes you because you gave it candy earlier.)
- You are in a dark cupboard, and you did not bring any matches or flashlights with you, so you have no way to survive.
- A floating, bodiless head tricks you into running straight through the library, but the floor is missing, so you fall in. It's then pointed out to you that some of the information the head gave is actually helpful, and it should be remembered when you decide to read the book again.
- You argue with some ghosts over who is standing on the first step to the tower - it apparently lasts forever.
- After failing thrice to hit a Pomeranian dog monster with a baseball bat, you are somehow killed. This is a parody of the three-strikes rule.
- You don't have the item you needed to stop the walls of the Pink Room from closing. The walls crush you so completely that your screams are embedded into the plaster, and can forever be heard inside the house.
- A giant spider traps you and Trevor, having already caught the two child actors from the movie. You are all to be part of a human-spider experiment, which will involve removing your legs, and attaching them to someone else.
- You choose the wrong color room, and attempt to climb out the window, but get stuck. The Pomeranian dog monsters arrive, and one of them bites off your head, while the other one gets Trevor. You do not die, and are instead made into headless children.
- You hide in order to scare Trevor as a joke, but something grabs you, and you run through the house terrified. It is then revealed that Trevor was the one who scared you. How this is actually an ending isn't really clear.
- You knock out the Tongue Thing with a baseball bat, but it falls on you and Trevor, and crushes you to death.
- You decide to trust Trevor, and walk into the library, but the floor is gone, and you fall to your death. Trevor sadly admits that the same thing happened to him and he didn't want to be stuck in the house as a ghost by himself.
- You're trapped with all the monsters in the house. You think that, since they were all used for a movie, saying "Cut!" should make them stop; but one of them takes this to mean that he should cut through a rope, which causes a chandelier to fall on you. You have just enough time to say "That's not what I..." before you are killed.
- You ignore the blood writing and choose to stay downstairs, agreeing to search upstairs (as the writing told you to) once it's daytime. However, the candle goes out, and you realize that the air is being sucked out of the back hall. There is no longer any oxygen downstairs, meaning you don't survive the night.
- You lie about having brought a flashlight with you, but the book knows this isn't possible - you are allowed only three items to carry, and you have already used them all. A floating head screams at you for cheating and you trip over a flashlight (apparently left by another kid who tried the same trick as you), fall down the stairs and break your neck.
- You're too far from the ground when you fall during your escape attempt. After you die, you and Trevor are now ghosts and decide to live at Payne House.
- Trapped in a room with the Tongue Thing, which is apparently going to kill you.
- You and Trevor run towards the library, but you stop short on seeing that it has no floor; and Trevor crashes into you. His weight forces you through the doorway, and you fall through the missing floor and die.
- You don't know the color of Monster Blood in the Goosebumps books. Because this is an important clue to surviving Payne House, you are told to put the book down and read Monster Blood instead. (Rather than finishing with "THE END", the book tells the reader they may never achieve "THE ONE GOOD ENDING." This might be meant to trick readers who peak ahead before turning to a page.)
- You and Trevor open the tower window and survive the fall because your sheet catches on a drainpipe. You shout for help and are rescued by some teenagers who were trick or treating - but they don't believe that you and Trevor really survived the night inside Payne House. When you realize nobody is going to believe you, the two of you dare each other to go back inside for proof that you were there. It is therefore questionable how good an ending this really is.
- Arguably, this book has no completely good endings. In one ending, the reader successfully escapes Payne House, but they decide to go back inside in the hopes of gaining a memento that will prove their stay. This ending is ambiguous, leaving open the possibility that the reader may escape again or become trapped.
- This book references "Monster Mash".
- This is the first of two Halloween themed Give Yourself Goosebumps books. The second — and last — to do so is Trick or...Trapped!.
- One choice in this book depends on how much the reader weighs; a reader who weighs less than 60 pounds will get a bad ending.
- This book is mentioned in the Behind the Screams section of the Classic Goosebumps reprint of Welcome to Dead House.