Halloween is my favorite time of year. Pumpkin picking and jack-o-lantern carving, spooky decorations adorning front lawns and city blocks, haunted hayrides, and watching Hocus Pocus on repeat for the full month of October…I love it all. I’m in constant awe of how creative and clever some people get with their costumes, and I get a kick out of seeing my favorite television characters dress up in some truly ingenious get-ups. And since I work at Scholastic, you better believe I have a special place in my heart for the apex of all things creepy…GOOSEBUMPS!
Now, if there’s one thing I like almost as much as Halloween, it’s baking. As previously documented on On Our Minds, I tend to get a bit ambitious when it comes to combining my affinity for books with baked goods. I’ve had full Harry Potter baked buffets, and I baked a literal book when I learned my birthday fell on World Baking Day. And so, it made perfect sense that come Halloween, I would put back on my Bookish Baker hat and honor Goosebumps with something truly spooktacular.
R.L. Stine has written over 200 Goosebumps. This presented me with quite the playing field, and also quite the challenge. When I volunteered to bake a Goosebumps-inspired treat, I didn’t know just what I was getting myself into. Before I knew it, I was buried in Goosebumps titles and cover pages. I lay in bed at night under the glow of my phone, scrolling through google images in search of inspiration. With so much to choose from, how was I supposed to choose? What was truly representative of this iconic series? What embodied the Goosebumps brand? And more importantly, what could I feasibly create with sugar, flour, butter and eggs?
I’d like to think I’m reasonably talented in the kitchen, but there was no way I was baking a body squeezer, or a living dummy. I wasn’t carving a haunted mask, and the closest I can get to recreating the blob that ate everyone would be a glob that exploded in my oven. And then I realized, what’s more iconic, more classic, more recognizable than the O.G. book? What screams “Goosebumps” more than the very first Goosebumps, the one that started it all? I knew what I had to do. I had to bake Dead House.
The bake sprung to life inside my brain, and I prepped and planned to make it a reality. While the final result does not perfectly mirror what was in my head, I figure a haunted house is supposed to look a little dilapidated and suspicious, so let’s just say this is what I was going for all along. Plus, if we’ve learned anything from Welcome to Dead House, it’s that sometimes a house’s appearance masks what’s hiding deep inside. What’s hiding inside my haunted fixer-upper is a delicious five-layer green and white cake layered with chocolate buttercream frosting. I can’t say for sure, but I have a feeling that if that’s what was waiting for the Bensons inside their creepy new house, they’d be a lot more excited about their move to Dark Falls.
Maybe this will inspire you to bake a haunted treat of your own. Or maybe it’ll just get you in the mood to unwrap your favorite fun-size candy bar and dig into the newest Goosebumps delight, Goosebumps SlappyWorld: Revenge of the Invisible Boy. Whatever your desire, and however you like to celebrate, may your holiday be filled with treats, a few tricks, and a few hair-raising chills along the way.