The cover illustration features a scarecrow on a pole in the cornfield at night. There seems to be a red light coming from an unknown source while there is a full moon in the background.
Jodie loves visiting her grandparents' farm. Okay, so it's not the most exciting place in the world. Still, Grandpa tells great scary stories. And Grandma's chocolate chip pancakes are the best. But this summer the farm has really changed. The cornfields are sparse. Grandma and Grandpa seem worn out. And the single scarecrow has been replaced by twelve evil-looking ones. Then one night Jodie sees something really odd. The scarecrows seem to be moving. Twitching on their stakes. Coming alive...
Jodie and her brother, Mark, are sent to spend a month with with their grandparents on their farm. The farm is located in the countryside, near a small town. Grandpa Kurt and Grandma Miriam have sent one of their farmhands, Stanley, to pick up Jodie and Mark from the train station. Stanley is a middle aged man and nice, but he is also very strange. For instance, he carries around a book of superstitions that he follows devoutly. While being driven to her grandparent's farm, Jodie notices that her grandparents have replaced their old scarecrow with multiple new scarecrows. Stanley claims that he made the scarecrows, and he mutters that they walk at midnight. Jodie is greatly confused by this.
When Jodie arrives at her grandparents house, she begins noticing subtle things wrong with their behavior. Grandpa Kurt used to tell amazingly scary stories, and Grandma Miriam used to make amazing pancakes. However, when the kids try to get Grandpa Kurt to tell them a story, he ignores their request and goes to bed. The next morning, the sibling's wake up and discover that their grandmother has not made her signature pancakes.
Disappointed at her grandparent's behavior, Jodie goes to her room. During the night, she looks out of her windows at the scarecrows in the field below. Jodie sees the scarecrows writhing and moving on their stakes. She can't tell if they are being moved by the wind or if they're somehow moving on their own. She can't even ask her grandparents because their bedroom is door is closed.
The following day, Stanley, Jodie, and Mark go out fishing. Before Stanley even allows the children to begin, he demands that they walk around the barn three times, which his superstition book has instructed him to do for good luck. When the group gets to the creek, Jodie can't shake her fear of the scarecrows. She steps in a clump of weeds, and accidentally scares herself by assuming it is the hand of a scarecrow lying in the water. Behind a tree, Jodie can see a figure peering out at her. After a while, she becomes certain that the figure is a scarecrow. When Jodie tries to point out the scarecrow to Stanley, it is nowhere to be seen, and Stanley unexpectedly runs away.
Jodie isn't convinced that the scarecrows are coming to life. She thinks the more likely solution is that Stanley's son, nicknamed Sticks, is trying to play a prank on them. During the day, Jodie and Mark go horseback riding, and a scarecrow pops out of the field at them. This scares the horses, and Jodie is knocked to the ground. Both siblings are now fully convinced that Sticks has been planking them, so they plot a course of revenge. Mark dresses up as a scarecrow, and Jodie plans on drawing Sticks out into the fields alone. While Jodie is alone and looking for Sticks, a scarecrow approaches her. At first, Jodie thinks the being might be Sticks in disguise, but more scarecrows appear to be moving. The straw figures begin approaching Grandpa Kurt and Grandma Miriam's house. Jodie runs to the house's porch, and is met by Sticks, who tackles the scarecrow and knocks it to the ground after Jodie realizes the scarecrow was walking.
Seeing Jodie's puzzled look, Sticks says that his father brought the scarecrows to life using the book of superstitions the previous week before Jodie and Mark came. Stanley made a deal with Grandpa Kurt and Grandma Miriam; if the couple agreed to never laugh at him again and do everything that he wanted, he would put the scarecrows to sleep. They agreed, and the scarecrows were put to sleep. Now, Grandpa Kurt and Grandma Miriam have been living in fear of Stanley; Grandma Miriam only makes Stanley's favorite food, and Grandpa Kurt stopped telling ghost stories because Stanley didn't like them. The only problem with Stanley's plan is that some of the scarecrows didn't go to sleep. Sticks didn't tell his father; if Stanley found out that the scarecrows were alive, he would try to take control of them. Abruptly, the door to the farmhouse opens, and Stanley, Grandpa Kurt, and Grandma Miriam come out. Sticks convinces him that everything is fine, so Stanley begins to put his book away. Mark comes out of the cornfield, and Stanley thinks he is a real scarecrow.
Stanley runs into the cornfield, chanting a spell from his book. Thinking that they need to stop the man, the kids run into the cornfield, but they can't stop Stanley. The scarecrows begin to approach the group, and Stanley doesn't seem to have control over them. Sticks reappears, and he is wielding two torches. He begins lighting scarecrows on fire until there are no more left moving.
The next day, everything seems to have returned to normal. Grandpa Kurt and Grandma Miriam are happy again, and Stanley is still reading from his book. Suddenly, Grandpa Kurt and Grandma Miriam's bearskin rug begins moving. The book ends with Jodie asking which chapter Stanley is reading in his book.
Reprints and rereleases
2003 - 2007 reprint series
- In the UK, this is the twenty-second book in the original series.
- In Portugal, this is the twenty-first book in the original Goosebumps series.
- In the Portuguese adaptation of the story there are some notable differences:
- Jodie and Mark are called 'Júlia and Mário'
- Stanley and Sticks are called 'António and Palito'
- The Classic Goosebumps reprints changes the Walkman to an iPod, and removes the Nirvana mention.
- In France, this is the ninth book in the original series.
- Stanley is called 'Henry'.
The Scarecrow Walks at Midnight was adapted into an episode of the Goosebumps TV series. It is the fourteenth episode of season two, and the thirty-third episode overall. The episode is simply titled "Scarecrow Walks at Midnight", omitting "The" from the title.
|Audiobook||Release date||Length||Narrated by||Published by|
|November 2015||2 hours, 45 minutes||Lexy Fridell||Scholastic Inc.|
The original printing of this book included a bookmark tear-out.
- The tagline is a reference to the 1989 film, Field of Dreams.
- This is the first Goosebumps book in the original series to have the series title on the side of the book changed to the Goosebumps logo. This design continues throughout the rest of the series.
- R.L. Stine has discribed this book as one of his scarier works.
- The Classic Goosebumps reprint contains an error on page 97. Sticks says "He changed some word", instead of "he chanted some words". This error was not present in earlier printings.
- This book references Gameboy, the Walkman, MTV, and Nirvana.
References in other Goosebumps media
- "The scarecrow walks at midnight" is the password used to get a living scarecrow to unlock the door to the Bat Barn in the video game Escape From Horrorland.
- A scarecrow appears in Goosebumps: The Game. However, it does not appear to be alive.
- The scarecrows appear as background monsters in the film Goosebumps. The original cover of the book is also featured in the end credits, and the title of the book is mentioned.
- A button-eyed scarecrow and a tall scarecrow couple based off the scarecrows featured in this book appear in the film Goosebumps 2: Haunted Halloween as background monsters. The title of the book is also mentioned.
- The Scarecrows appear in Goosebumps HorrorTown.