Similar to the previous special edition, the first part of the book is used to establish events that happened in the past, telling the reader the villain's past. But unlike most Most Wanted books that feature an introduction from R.L. Stine, this book does not. It's also the only special edition book that does not take place on Halloween. Instead it's based around Christmas, the second book in the Goosebumps franchise to do so, with the first being More & More & More Tales to Give You Goosebumps.
The cover illustration depicts a house on a cold winter night. The house is decorated with Christmas lights and has a snowman in the yard. Emerging from the house is a green ghost wrapped in Christmas lights. The ghost is wearing a green Christmas sweater with a tie, and a Santa hat.
Kate Welles just wants the lead role in her school's Christmas play. Her annoying "friend" Courtney is constantly getting in the way of that. But Kate has to get along with her or neither of them will be allowed to take part in the production of The 12 Screams of Christmas.
Even worse, Kate and Courtney's teacher decides that they need to find a special place to rehearse. A certain house with a lot of history. The kind of place that Kate would normally be pretty frightened to go into. The kind of place that gives new meaning to the term "Christmas Spirit."
Abe Marcus and his family has moved into a bigger house after previously living in a small cottage. The kids are excited to celebrate Christmas in the new house. While exploring the backyard, Abe and Ned discover a broken down shack. Inside they find a wasp's nest, which they poke and accidentally unleash the wasps inside. They run away and the wasps quickly leave. They celebrate their victory over the wasps with a dance, but Flora joins in their dancing and falls down the well in the backyard. The family tries to get her out, but to no avail, causing Flora to scream "Get me out!" twelve times.
Part 1: December, this year
Kate Welles is walking home in order to rehearse a play with her friend Jack Hopper, but she has to take a shortcut through a creepy cemetery. The last time she did so, she discovered she has the power to see ghosts. When she told her classmates about this, Kate's "frenemy" Courtney Smith made fun of her and gave her the nickname Ghost Girl and everyone mocks her for it. She sees ghosts in the cemetery again, but Jack shows up before they can do anything to her.
The play is a scary Christmas play created by their music teacher Mr. Piccolo called The Twelve Screams of Christmas. which centers around a family whose house is haunted by ghosts. Kate wants the lead role but has to compete with Courtney, who also wants the part. They meet up at school the next day for auditions, and before Courtney tries out, Piccolo asks Kate to go to his office and get his clipboard. She does so but before she can leave, the door closes on her and it is locked.
She is eventually rescued by Jack, who says that Courtney told them that Kate left and Kate assumes that Courtney locked her in. Kate runs back to the auditorium to strangle Courtney, but the two end up falling down a trapdoor. They are knocked out and after Kate has a dream about a classmate being a ghost, they come to. Piccolo scolds the girls for fighting and gives the lead role to Kate's friend Carol-Ann. They are upset, but Kate is glad she is still able to be in the chorus, as long as they don't fight.
Part 2: Twelve Screams
Mr. Piccolo has the kids rehearse the play in a creepy old house in order to get the right creepy atmosphere. He tells them the story of the Marcus Family and talks about how the family could not rescue Flora and that is rumored that they still haunt the house, waiting for someone to bring Flora back. He also reveals he is a direct descendant of the family and that his play is inspired by the story. While they are practicing a song, Kate notices the ghosts of Abe and Ned staring at her from across the room. She stops herself from screaming, the kids tell her they will be back.
That night, Kate hears a voice coming from the well, whispering for help. She goes outside and looks down it and thinks she sees a red cap down there. Before can run back, Abe and Ned appear and hold her back. They tell her that she will be their replacement for Flora, so they finally have a family Christmas again. Mr. Piccolo appears, locking for Kate, before they can do anything to her. The next day, the twins appear again during practice and she screams about, but once again no one can see them. She runs off and hears voices coming from a room. She goes in and discovers Abe and Ned, along with their parents, Aaron and Peg.
They hold her captive and force her to partake in their Christmas traditions, to replace Flora. First they want Kate to sit on the lap of skeleton dressed as Father Christmas and after she refuses, they force her to eat dinner, which consists of a turkey that is all bones and a bowl full of mouse heads. They start to give out presents but when Kate tells them she doesn't have one for them, they get angry and declare she must be punished.
They try to throw her out the window but she is able to hold onto the gutter and lower herself to the grown. The ghosts float down and start to throw her down the well but Kate offers to help them rescue Flora from the well, if they let her go. She remembers that Piccolo's play ended with the family being able to get Flora out by screaming "come up!" twelve times and thinks this could work for real. This works but she only floats up halfway, and she must be pulled out.
Kate can't reach her so when Courtney appears, looking for her, she requests her help in holding her over the well so she can reach Flora and pull her out. Courtney reluctantly agrees and with her help, Kate is able to pull Flora out. She reunites with her family as they have a tearful reunion. Flora allows Courtney to see her so she can thank her, but runs away screaming. The other kids come out to see her screaming, and mock her, dubbing her the new Ghost Girl.
Happy to have reunited the family and be free of Courtney's mockery, she goes home after the weekend. However, Kate finds Flora in her room, as she followed her home and tells Kate that she wants to stay with her instead of her family, as she is upset they left her in a well for so long. She sits on Kate's bed and asks where Kate will sleep.
- The title of this book is a reference to the Christmas song "The 12 Days of Christmas". There's even a parody of the song sung in the book.
- This book references Facebook, Ugg boots, Charles Dickens's A Christmas Carol, Pop-Tarts, Frosted Flakes, the Chicago Cubs, and Parcheesi.
- There's a moment in the book where Carol Ann, a friend of the protagonist, is said to have curly, coppery hair. However, later in the book, she is described as having silky blonde hair.
- This is one of the few Goosebumps books where the protagonist has seen a supernatural entity before the events of the book.
References in other Goosebumps media
- During the Shop Til You Drop...Dead! event in Goosebumps HorrorTown, the Mayor mentions that their original plan was to put on Mr. Piccolo's play before Reggie persuaded her into opening his mall instead. Piccolo is also mentioned during the Phantom of the Auditorium event. Additionally, the ghost on the cover appears on a Christmas card you can collect. The game would later base an entire event around this book.
|Goosebumps Most Wanted series|
|#01 Planet of the Lawn Gnomes||#06 Creature Teacher: The Final Exam|
|#02 Son of Slappy||#07 A Nightmare on Clown Street|
|#03 How I Met My Monster||#08 Night of the Puppet People|
|#04 Frankenstein's Dog||#09 Here Comes the Shaggedy|
|#05 Dr. Maniac Will See You Now||#10 The Lizard of Oz|
|Goosebumps Most Wanted: Special Edition|
|#01 Zombie Halloween||#03 Trick or Trap|
|#02 The 12 Screams of Christmas||#04 The Haunter|