The 20 Best Children’s Books Like Goosebumps

Beginning with the first book published in 1992 (which was re-released as #13 in the series), Welcome to the Dead House, the Goosebumps series by R.L. Stine serves up thrills and chills to young readers. Within 5 years, 62 Goosebumps books were published, and several spin off series have been written.

The 20 Best Children's Books Like Goosebumps

In the first installment in the series, Welcome to the Dead House, brother and sister Amanda and Josh move to a creepy old house in Dark Falls. As they begin meeting people in town, many of whom have lived in their house, they get the feeling that something about them is different.  When their dog, Petey, disappears a few weeks later, the kids learn that the town holds a dark secret. 

After learning that their new friends and acquaintances in Dark Falls are all dead, as part of a ritual to maintain the living dead, the two realize they are in danger. When they realize they were brought to town specifically for their fresh blood, the kids save themselves and their parents, hurriedly packing up and leaving Dark Falls. As they are pulling out of the driveway, the next family arrives.

R.L. Stine’s books amassed a following of readers who came to expect similar stories: horror books that had an edge of humor, focusing on teens that were placed in spooky situations.  The books are beloved by readers who are on the search for chilling yet humorous tales.  If you’re searching for the 20 best books like Goosebumps that will spook you, read on!

Best Books Like Goosebumps

Bunnicula by James and Deborah Howe

Bunnicula: A Rabbit-Tale of Mystery

Perfect for fans of the Goosebumps series, Bunnicula is a creative, thrilling series of chapter books told from the point of view of a dog, Howie. When Howie’s family finds a cute bunny at a theater while watching Dracula, they decide to adopt it. 

After bringing the rabbit home to join their other pets, the family notices that vegetables in the house are turning white. Chester, the cat in the house, becomes convinced that Bunnicula is actually a vampire. 

Find a copy of the book here. 

Ghoulia by Barbara Cantini

Ghoulia (Book 1)

For readers of Goosebumps who love a likable main character, try out the Ghoulia series.  The first book in the series features the young zombie as she tries to make friends, afraid that she’ll scare the other children with her green skin and purple circles around her eyes.

When Halloween rolls around, she comes up with a brilliant plan of leaving Crumbling Manor. A fun, spooky series with just the right amount of humor, fans of R.L. Stine will be drawn to Ghoulia

Buy your copy of the book here. 

Desmond Cole Ghost Patrol by Andres Miedoso

The Haunted House Next Door (1) (Desmond Cole Ghost Patrol)

Meet Desmond Cole: an 8-year-old with a penchant for chasing down ghosts. Told from the point of view of his best friend, Andres, who is afraid of everything, this fun series offers some light, spooky stories. 

Written at a level perfect for middle grade readers, this series lends itself to being read independently or as a family. 

Find a copy of the book here. 

The Creeper Files: The Root of all Evil by Hacker Murphy

Creeper Files: The Root of all Evil (Creeper Files 1)

The Creeper Files series has garnered comparisons to Goosebumps and is a wonderful read alike for readers who love spooky, silly stories.  

The first book in the series, titled The Root of all Evil, focuses on Jake, who knows that something strange is happening in his family garden. Can he figure out what’s going on before it’s too late?

Buy a copy of the book here. 

Small Spaces by Katherine Arden

Small Spaces (Small Spaces Quartet)

For a seriously scary quartet of books, check out Katherine Arden’s Small Spaces (if you’re looking for scary books for an older reader, check out our guide to Scary Books for Teens here). The first book focuses on 11-year-old Ollie who becomes fascinated with a ghost story she reads about a woman named Beth and two brothers who loved her. 

When Ollie’s school bus breaks down in the middle of a cornfield and night quickly approaches, the creepy story gets a little too real for her.  Perfect for fans of Goosebumps, this series will have you jumping at things that go bump in the night. 

Find your copy of the book here. 

The Last Kids on Earth by Max Brailler

The Last Kids on Earth and the Doomsday Race

For a fun zombie apocalypse series, be sure to pick up The Last Kids on Earth. Jack has been surviving on his own in his tree house, holed up playing video games with his stash of snacks. When he realizes he can’t survive on his own, he assembles a team of his friends.

A fun book with likable characters that will hook any middle grade reader, The Last Kids on Earth series is a perfect read alike for fans of Goosebumps

Buy a copy of the book here. 

Nightbooks by J.A. White


When Alex is held captive by the witch Natacha, he is ordered to create a scary story each night to keep her happy and to stay alive. When he meets the other girl trapped by Natacha, the two hatch a plan to escape. 

A creative and spooky tale, Nightbooks features the stories written by Alex, which will surely captivate any reader who picks up this novel. 

Find a copy of the book here. 

Coraline by Neil Gaiman


A modern-day classic, Neil Gaiman’s Coraline is a creepy and thought-provoking book. When Coraline explores her new home, she finds a doorway to another world that is seemingly better. 

But when the mother and father who live there want to keep Coraline there forever, with the other children they are holding captive, Coraline must find a way to escape before it’s too late. 

Buy a copy of Coraline here. 

Hide and Don’t Seek: and Other Very Scary Stories  by Anica Mrose Rissi

Hide and Don't Seek: And Other Very Scary Stories

For a book of short, creepy stories that really pack a punch, pick up Hide and Don’t Seek. With a variety of stories, including one where a summer camp gets taken over by zombies, this book is sure to thrill. 

This collection is perfect for readers who love R.L. Stine’s Goosebumps and those who love to reread spooky stories or relish their books in bite-sized chunks. 

Find a copy of the book here. 

Scary Stories for Young Foxes by Christian McKay Heidicker

Scary Stories for Young Foxes (Scary Stories for Young Foxes, 1)

This Newbery Honor winner offers a twist on Middle Grade horror books by featuring young foxes. As each story unfolds, one featuring a deranged Beatrix Potter and another in which a family of foxes falls pretty to a yellow disease, readers will find them creepier and creepier. 

A fun and creative horror book, be prepared to get spooked with this one!

Buy a copy of the book here. 

The Nest by Kenneth Oppel

The Nest

For a book that appeals to middle grade readers just as much as adult readers, pick up The Nest. Steven’s baby brother is ill and he desperately wants to help him. When the Wasp Queen offers to fix his brother, Steven must pay a price.

With deep character development and an intensity that builds on each page, The Nest is a perfect read alike for fans of Goosebumps. 

Buy a copy of the book here. 

Doll Bones by Holly Black

Doll Bones

For a fascinatingly creepy, Newbery Honor-winning novel, Holly Black’s book Doll Bones delivers. When Poppy finds a doll that she believes is made from the bones of a murdered girl, she convinces her friend Zach and Alice to help her bury the doll in its rightful place. If they don’t, a curse could befall the three. 

Perfect for fans of R.L. Stine who are looking to up the ante on the level of horror in their books, Doll Bones is sure to have you gripping pages and turning on all the lights at night. 

Find the book here. 

Hush-a-Bye by Jody Lee Mott


For another creepy doll book, check out Jody Lee Mott’s Hush-a-Bye. When sisters Lucy and Antonia are out walking one day, Lucy is startled to realize a doll’s eyes are looking up at her from the ground. 

As Antonia plays with the doll, Lucy realizes that her sister begins acting differently, and swears that she hears the doll talking to Antonia.  As she grows to understand that the doll is an evil force, she realizes she must do something to stop it…unless it’s too late. 

Buy your copy of the book here. 

Riley’s Ghost by John David Anderson

Riley's Ghost

Author John David Anderson is a talented force in the Middle Grade book world. Riley’s Ghost is a creepy tale that will hook readers from the first page. When Riley’s ex-best friend teams up with a group of mean girls to lock Riley in a closet, she’s stuck in there until after everyone else leaves the building.

With the phone lines dead and the electricity out, Riley is left with only her flashlight beam to navigate through the dark school, desperately trying to find a way out. As she hatches a plan to escape, she soon realizes…she’s not alone…

Buy the book here. 

The Darkdeep by Ally Condie

The Darkdeep

Everyone in town knows you never go to Still Cove, but when a bully throws one of Nico’s belongings down into it, he and his friends venture into the unknown. What they find is a dilapidated old house with a mystery inside that could unleash an ancient, evil force. 

The first in a trilogy, The Darkdeep has everything Goosebumps readers are craving and is a perfect horror book to read after R.L. Stine’s. 

Find a copy of the book here. 

Took: A Ghost Story by Mary Downing Hahn

Took: A Ghost Story

When Daniel and his family move to a new town in West Virginia, he hears stories of an old ghost witch who lives on Brewster’s Hill.  At first shrugging them off, he can’t help but notice how his sister begins talking to her doll, and then suddenly disappears. 

Mary Downing Hahn is a spectacular middle grade horror author, serving up tons of creepy tales for youngsters. Try this one out to get a taste of her writing magic. 

Buy your copy of the book here. 

Scritch Scratch by Lindsay Currie

Scritch Scratch: A Ghost Story

For a book with a great ghost story but a heavy dose of warmth, check out Scritch Scratch.  Despite not believing in ghosts, Claire’s been recruited to help out her father’s ghost company tour. When she notices a strange boy at the back of the bus one day, something feels off to her. 

As things start to get creepy, the boy follows her home, she starts hearing things and she begins seeing the number 396 everywhere, Claire realizes the boy needs her help. 

Buy the book here. 

The Girl in the Lake by India Hill Brown

The Girl in the Lake

Middle grade author India Hill Brown is making a name for herself with spooky books with historical themes woven throughout that kids love to read. 

The Girl in the Lake is the story of Celeste, who is visiting her grandparents’ lake house with her brother and cousins. When creepy things start happening in the lake house, like unknown footsteps upstairs, and a version of herself staring back at her in the bathroom mirror, Celeste has some questions…

Find a copy of the book here. 

Scream Street: Fang of the Vampire by Tommy Donbavand

Scream Street: Fang of the Vampire

In the first installment of the Scream Street series, Luke and his family have been moved by the Government Housing of Unusual Life Forms (GHOUL) to Scream Street, a consequence of Luke turning into a werewolf. Desperate to get his parents back home, Luke devises a plan to get them out of there.  

This series is a perfect read-alike series with a mix of horror and laughs.  If you love the first book of the series, be sure to pick up the rest of them!  

Buy a copy of the book here.

Only If you Dare: 13 Stories of Darkness and Doom by Josh Allen

Only If You Dare: 13 Stories of Darkness and Doom

For an updated version of the classic Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark, pick up Josh Allen’s Only if you Dare: 13 Stories of Darkness and Doom. Complete with spooky stories about a substitute teacher and creepy text messages, this book is such to have something for everyone. 

Find a copy of the book here. 


How many books are in the Goosebumps series?

There are 62 books in the original Goosebumps series.

What series are spin-offs from the Goosebumps series?

There are several spin-off series including Give Yourself Goosebumps, Goosebumps Triple Header, Goosebumps HorrorLand, Goosebumps SlappyWorld, Goosebumps Series 2000, and Tales to Give You Goosebumps.

Are there any TV shows or movies based on the series?

A television series that was adapted from the books aired for 4 seasons from 1995 to 1998 and a movie titled Goosebumps was released in 2015.

What authors write similarly to R.L. Stine?

If you enjoy the writing of R.L. Stine, try Hacker Murphy, Katherine Arden, or Mary Downing Hahn.

What other books has R.L. Stine written?

R.L. Stine has written several books and series, including Fear Street, My Alien Parents, and picture book Mary McScary.

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Amy Reddy