Slappy New Year! is the eighteenth book in the Goosebumps HorrorLand book series, the seventh book of the Living Dummy saga, and the sixth book in the Chiller House arc. It was first published in 2010.
The cover illustration depicts Slappy wearing a party hat and blowing a party horn in a room filled with confetti, colorful balloons, and a falling "HAPPY NEW YEAR!" banner.
"Did You Think Slappy Here Was Talking?"
Ray Gordon loves to scare his younger brother, Brandon. It's not hard considering Brandon is terrified of everything—loud noises, roller coasters, and especially the wooden dummy, Slappy, that Ray got from Jonathan Chiller's HorrorLand gift shop.
In order to throw his big New Year's Eve party, Ray's parents make him promise to leave Brandon alone. But strange, mean-spirited things keep happening to his little brother, and Slappy always seems to be around for it. Could those words Ray read out loud actually have brought the dummy to life?
Ray Gordon and his nine-year-old brother Brandon Gordon are visiting HorrorLand. Brandon is considered a coward to Ray because he gets scared easily. Ray Gordon wants to go on the scariest ride in the theme park, but Brandon objects. The two kids bump into a Horror in yellow overalls and yellow suspenders. Ray asks the horror to take him to the scariest ride in HorrorLand. The horror takes Ray and Brandon to The Shocker, a race track with cars that have no brakes.
The race begins and the two kids kept going faster and faster. They lose control of the race cars and they start making buzzing noises like electricity. Both cars come to a loud stop soon after. After the ride is over they run into Seymour Winn-Doe, a man covered in shards of mirror. Winn-Doe states that he heard Ray and Brandon wanted a scare, so he motions Ray and Gordon to follow him into the Hall of Mirrors. When Ray and Brandon went inside the Hall of Mirrors, Winn-Doe traps them in. The two kids are turned invisible and are mocked by their reflections.
The lights turn on and the two kids are visible again. Ray and Gordon escape the Hall Of Mirrors and run into Chiller House. Ray finds Slappy in the gift shop and decides to take him, despite Brandon's objections. Jonathan Chiller likes his choice and insists that Ray will pay him later. Ray hears Slappy whispering, but Brandon accuses Ray of doing it.
Ray and Brandon return home a few days early, due to Brandon's constant complaining. Ray Gordon wants to plan a New Year's Eve party for all the kids at school, but his mom tells him to act good and write New Year's resolutions in order to be worthy of having the party. Ray Gordon decides to scare his younger brother Brandon Gordon for not liking Slappy, due to being too scary. Brandon screams and wakes up mom and dad. They are happy with Ray scaring Brandon and gave him a warning. The next morning Elena meets up with Ray and they talk about the New Year's Eve party. Elena almost finishes reading the spell to bring Slappy to life but Brandon screams at her to stop. Ray reads some of the words out loud when Brandon leaves, but his dad calls him down for help. Brandon screams from his room and when they get there, there's a big mess, which Ray is blamed for.
The next day Ray and Elena are decorating the basement for the party. They hear Brandon screaming and when Ray and Elena got there Slappy is sitting at the dresser and Brandon's clothes are covered in syrup. Ray and his parents come in and Ray is blamed again and is told to clean up the mess. That night, Ray spots Slappy at the end of his bed. He pulls Slappy up from the floor and sees Brandon, who reveals that he was the one doing all these things, as revenge for always scaring him. Ray gets mad and reads the magic words, in full.
On Christmas Day, Ray and his family go to Elena's Christmas party and have fun. However, Slappy is surprisingly there too, sitting on Eleana's stoop. Mr. Shear insists that Ray put on a show with Slappy but Slappy insults them and runs after the Christmas Tree. Ray jumps at Slappy to stop him, and Ray rams into the tree and topples it over. Ray was blamed yet again for Slappy's shenanigans.
Elena is furious with Ray and stops talking to him. Ray's mother and father cancel the New Year's Eve Party. Later, A man appears at the front door of Ray's home, saying Ray has something that belongs to him. Ray assumes he means Slappy but it turns out he had the wrong house. Slappy says Ray will never get rid of him and breaks a vase that belonged to Great-Grandma Rose. The rest of the family arrives soon after and Ray is blamed for Slappy's mess. The next day, Ray and Brandon are told to shovel snow in the driveway. Slappy appears from the garage with hedge clippers. Slappy snaps them in Ray's face and Brandon knocks them out of Slappy's hands and pushes him to the ground. Slappy squirms and kicks, yelling at him to let go. Slappy is carried to a garbage truck and is thrown inside. Slappy is slowly ground up along with all the other garbage.
Ray and Brandon go back into the house in the happiest moods ever. They beg their parents to have a New Year's Eve party and eventually they agree to not cancel the party. A huge New Year's Eve party is thrown in Ray's house. All seems fun until Slappy appears from the stairs, scraped up and covered in garbage. He throws paint buckets at the kids, and Brandon makes a swoop for Slappy but misses. Slappy is distracted tormenting other party members, so Ray and Brandon take this chance to crush Slappy with paint buckets. Paint buckets are pushed onto Slappy and he is buried under them. But it does not phase them and springs back up.
Brandon grabs the paper that had the magic words on it, assuming that perhaps they can also put him back to sleep. Slappy makes a grab for the paper but Ray grabs a hold of it first and reads the magic words, Slappy gasps and lies dead on the floor. Mom and Dad walk into the room and are shocked by the big mess. They decide to let him off easy because it's New Year's. The next day, Ray's mom mentions Slappy and Ray asks her to get rid of him. She tells him she found the piece of paper and says the words were hard to pronounce. Ray asks if she read them out loud.
Ray goes into his room to look for Slappy but he is nowhere to be seen. Ray finds the little horror doll given to him at the shop along with Slappy. Ray stares at it and takes his gaze off of it only to find himself back at Chiller House. Jonathan Chiller greets Ray and tells him the game is going to begin soon.
Originally, a book titled Slappy New Year was going to be a part of a 2001 Goosebumps book series titled Goosebumps Gold. However, the series and the books planned for it were canceled due to R.L. Stine's contract with Scholastic ending. Although the titles are nearly identical, Stine has confirmed that the Goosebumps Gold version of Slappy New Year does not have the same plot as the Goosebumps HorrorLand book. Consequently, it is still unknown what the original Goosebumps Gold plot was.
- In the Portuguese adaptation of the story, Slappy is called 'Infeliz', which can be translated to 'Unhappy'.
- In the French adaptation, Slappy is called 'Mr. Bad-Boy', the name he was given by Ethan Crosby in Revenge of the Living Dummy.
- The origins of the phrase "Slappy New Year" can be traced to the 1997 Goosebumps 365 Scare-a-Day Calendar (released in 1996), where it is used as a greeting on the opening page.
- This book contains some similarities to previous Living Dummy books:
- Ray had almost finished reading the ancient words when he first noticed them but was called away before he could finish. That was like in Bride of the Living Dummy as Jillian Zinman had also almost finished saying the ancient words when she first noticed them and was called away before she could finish.
- Brandon was paying Ray back for his tricks by putting Slappy somewhere he shouldn't be to make it look like Ray was doing it, which is similar to Night of the Living Dummy III as Zane O'Dell was also paying Trina and Dan back for their tricks by putting Rocky the Dummy somewhere he shouldn't be to make it looks like they were doing it.
- This is the first book in the second arc of the HorrorLand series to be a sequel.
- It is also the only story in the second arc to be based on a previous saga.
- Ray's first and last name is later shared with another character from the book A Nightmare on Clown Street, although their appearance descriptions don't match up.
- On the card with the ancient phrase "Karru Marri Odonna Loma Molonu Karrano," a message is written above the spell, which reads: "Hello. My name is Slappy. I can be your friend. Just read these words aloud, and I will come to life. We can have a lot of fun together." This message does not appear in any other piece of Goosebumps media.
- This book references Xbox, NASCAR, Transformers, SpongeBob SquarePants, the Grinch, and the Red Sox.
- In a Q&A with R.L. Stine found in the Classic Goosebumps reprint of You Can't Scare Me!, Stine claims this book features a shy boy named Shawn Klaven who thinks Slappy is his only friend. There is no character with that name in the book, nor is there any anyone who thinks Slappy is their friend. Although the concept of a boy thinking Slappy is his friend would later be used in My Friend Slappy.
- This is the first book in the Living Dummy saga that features a male protagonist.
- In this book, reading the magic words that bring Slappy to life also puts him back to sleep even though previous books in the Living Dummy saga established that this doesn't work. This method would continue to be used in future Living Dummy books.