The cover artwork depicts Slappy wearing a party hat and blowing a party horn in a room filled with confetti, 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?
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'
- Some references were made in this book:
- Brandon did some bad things to make it look like Slappy was doing them. This is like in Night of the Living Dummy as Lindy Powell also did bad things to make it look like Mr. Wood was doing them too. (But Brandon was more apologetic about his actions.)
- 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 looks 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. Also at that, Ray thought his troubles were over and Trina thought the same thing.
- This is the first book in the second arc of the HorrorLand series to be a sequel.
- 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.