"The House of No Return" is the first short story in the book Tales to Give You Goosebumps.


The story centers around 12-year-old best friends Robbie, Lori and Nathan. They are part of a club called "Danger, Inc." of which they are the only members, and pride themselves on being the boldest children they know, who will take any dare they are offered.

They become interested in Chris Wakely, a new boy in town, and encourage him to join them. He is not very brave and does not want to take part in their antics. They dare him to spend an hour in the "House of No Return", a boarded-up old house which none of the local children will enter because it is rumored to be haunted. The story is that a man made this house for his wife and they had a baby girl. But sadly, the baby fell through a weak spot, falling to her death. After that, the childless parents went mad, never leaving their house. One day, the police went inside their house to find both of them dead. Chris reluctantly agrees and they shut him inside. When he does not return, they go to look for him. The door seals shut behind them, so they cannot escape. Then the two ghosts come down the stairs.

The ghosts explain that Chris came to the house some time ago. But they allowed him to go, because he promised that three other children would be following him. They also say that now Robbie, Lori, and Nathan will stay in the house forever as replacements for the ghosts' lost child.

Television adaptation

"The House of No Return" was adapted into an episode of the Goosebumps TV series. It is the third episode of season three, and the forty-fifth episode overall.


Tales Give You Goosebumps House No Return preview booklet front

'House of No Return' from Tales to Give You Goosebumps Sneak Preview Booklet

  • One of the kids mentions dressing up as Freddy Krueger, the serial killer and star of the A Nightmare on Elm Street film franchise, for Halloween.
  • This story has been published outside of Tales to Give You Goosebumps twice:
    • It was released as a standalone booklet, with copies given away promotionally.[1] It is the only story in the Tales to Give You Goosebumps series to be published by itself.
    • It also appears in the 2003 anthology book Scary! 2: More Stories that Will Make You Scream!.[2]


  1. The 100 Most Popular Young Adult Authors, page 400
  2. Scary! 2: More Stories that Will Make You Scream!, page 30
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