The Shopkeeper is the owner of a party store who first appeared in the eleventh Goosebumps book, The Haunted Mask, and its television adaptation. He would later go on to return in its two sequels, The Haunted Mask II and The Scream of the Haunted Mask.
Long ago, a handsome teenager lived on Maple Avenue. He was a good student, but unfortunately he was failing chemistry because his chemistry teacher was very mean and he refused to spend any time helping the boy. So the boy took matters in his own hands. He crept into the chemistry lab late one night to practice a few experiments of his own. But he accidentally mixed the wrong chemicals in his test tube and the tube exploded all over him. And instead of burning his face, the chemicals aged the boy and overnight, he became an old man with a thin mustache and a pinched face!
The man became desperate to get his former appearance back, so he started experimenting on making masks that came alive and are actually real faces too. They were beautiful faces as well but the experiments went wrong. When the beautiful faces left the lab, they changed into horrible monster faces. The man saw what complete failures his faces were, but he had to keep them alive. He called them The Unloved because no one will ever want to see them. The man (who had become the shopkeeper of a party store he was living in) also noticed that his faces would actually find a new body to live with if one of them came into their room and they would attach themselves to whomever was wearing them and make them act the way they would act.
The only way to remove them was by a symbol of love, which the Shopkeeper had hardly felt since his unfortunate accident. He also noticed that if a face was put on after it was removed, it will be forever. The most evil mask of The Unloved is The Haunted Mask, which The Shopkeeper was afraid of because it destroyed many of its wearers and a girl named Laura Henry wore it to frighten the stable boy at Tumbledown Farms and was trampled on by horses and she was determined to get it back. And a criminal named Randolph murdered his kind brother named William with the mask. This nature of The Haunted Mask made The Shopkeeper even more determined to keep it in line and keep everyone from discovering it.
On Halloween, The Shopkeeper was closing up shop when a young girl named Carly Beth Caldwell (who lived on the same street he lived on in his younger years) came looking for a scary mask. He told her that he was closed but told her to have a look around, telling her that the gorilla costume has been quite popular, but she thought it was too ordinary. After telling her to make her decision and answering a phone call, The Shopkeeper found Carly Beth in the back room where The Unloved were kept, which he was most horrified with and even more horrified that she had taken interest in The Haunted Mask. The Shopkeeper apologized to Carly Beth, telling her that the masks were not for sale because they were too scary. But Carly Beth insisted that The Haunted Mask was what she was looking for to scare some of her friends who had been frequently scaring her. The Shopkeeper tried to talk Carly Beth out of buying The Haunted Mask, but his efforts were futile, so he eventually gave in and handed Carly Beth The Haunted Mask for thirty dollars. He stayed at the party store, knowing that Carly Beth will come back when she discovers that The Haunted Mask has attached itself to her face.
Later on, as The Shopkeeper had expected, Carly Beth did come back and The Haunted Mask had attached itself to her face, which Carly Beth was most hysterical about. She asked him if he could help her take off the mask, to which The Shopkeeper replied that he can't, telling her about his story of how he made the evil mask and the other Unloved and how they find a new home when a person comes into the room. A horrified Carly Beth ordered him to remove the mask, to which The Shopkeeper replied that he can't do it for and that only a symbol of love can do it. Carly Beth didn't understand and asked him to make sense. The Shopkeeper refused to do so and Carly Beth once again became hysterical, screaming that she wanted herself back. The Shopkeeper tried frantically to motion her to be quiet and Carly Beth didn't realize until it was too late that she had woken up the other ugly faces. The Shopkeeper frantically urged Carly Beth to run and after being unable to move for a moment, she raced out of the store. The Unloved (except The Haunted Mask) later returned to the store as Carly Beth managed to defeat them with a symbol of love (her mother's sculpture of her), which The Shopkeeper was most relieved of, but he knew The Haunted Mask will strike back at Carly Beth.
The Shopkeeper returned in The Haunted Mask II, with his shop now closed, and all its remnants moved to boxes in the basement. When Steve Boswell breaks into the basement of the shop in search of a mask, the shopkeeper stops him, and warns him of the danger that the masks possess. However, Steve runs off with one of them, and the mask melds to his face.
Later on, Carly Beth attempts to find him in hopes he can help Steve remove his mask, but the shopkeeper is nowhere to be found.
A year later, Carly Beth visited The Shopkeeper, hoping he could help her, as the mask was starting to call to her. He revealed to her that the mask doesn't like defeat and that no one has survived the mask's evil. He said it was her fault for not heeding his warning, and he kicked her out.
The Shopkeeper is a calm, patient and very mysterious man. The only times he is not calm is when people go in the back room where The Unloved are kept and when they come alive. He also won't take too kindly to people who are breaking in. He was really determined to have his former self back and ever since his accident, The Shopkeeper has hardly ever felt any love, knowing what he is hiding underneath the masks, which is actually why they became ugly because his feelings as they were inside of him.
Deep down, he knew he had to keep them alive. He is terrified of his creations, especially The Haunted Mask because of how evil it is and he knows The Haunted Mask will never accept defeat. It made The Shopkeeper very determined to protect people from the masks (although there are occasions where he was unable to do so) so his creations would never do any harm to them.
The Shopkeeper is Caucasian, tall and thin with shiny black hair parted in the middle and slicked down on his head. He has facial hair in the form of a pencil-thin black mustache. He is most often seen wearing a black suit with a black cape.
- Goosebumps HorrorLand
- Classic Goosebumps
- The Haunted Mask
It is unknown if he was going to appear in the Goosebumps Gold book The Haunted Mask Lives!.
Television and film
- The Shopkeeper's name was never revealed in the series.
- The credits of the TV episode refer to him as the "Tall Thin Man," although the sequel's credits refers to him as "The Shopkeeper."