About the Book

Title: Halloween Party (Fear Street #8)
Published: 1990
Series: Fear Street

Happy Halloween! It’s my favorite holiday, my favorite day of the year, a day more hallowed to me than Christmas and my birthday combined. And what better way to celebrate than to wrap up this month’s Fear Street Revisited series with what I’ve always held to be the best of R.L. Stine’s oeuvre: Halloween Party! (You can revisit The StepsisterAll-Night PartyThe First Evil and The Betrayal here.)

The Deal:

Justine, the most beautiful and popular girl in school, has invited a very specific group of nine kids to her spooky old mansion on Fear Street for a Halloween party, also hosted by her Uncle Philip. No one can figure out the guest list, least of all our main characters, Terry and his sweet, inquisitive girlfriend Niki. Niki’s ex-boyfriend and Terry’s ex-friend Alex (a jock) has also been invited, and soon the group splits into jocks and wimps (the poor wimps actually refer to themselves as wimps), with each group playing pranks on the other. The party seems to be going very well at first, complete with lots of spooky surprises, but soon the surprises turn dangerous. Two party crashers, Marty and Bobby, drive their motorcycles through the house, and before anyone knows it, Les, one of the wimps, has been murdered!

The First Line:

The tombstone loomed gray in the moonlight, its edges eroded into irregular shapes. Thick moss covered the words etched into its surface, except for a line at the bottom:

Died October 31, 1884.

Cheapest Cliffhanger Ending:

The last passage of Chapter 5:

At that moment the artificial candles came back on and the tape started up again.

But no one felt like dancing anymore because the light showed a horrifying sight.

In front of the fireplace, half on and half off the rug, lay a limp body.

Blood trickled down its sides from the huge carving knife sticking out of its back.

The first passage of Chapter 6:

For a moment nobody moved or spoke. Then several people began screaming at once. Terry’s heart was beating so fast he could hear it. The vast room seemed to spin, then tilt. He grabbed a chair back to steady himself.

It took a while for his head to clear. Sounds came back. He could hear individual voices.

“Oh, no, no!”

“Is it real?”

“Who is it?”

“Somebody-call 911.”

Tightly holding Niki’s hand, Terry began to move toward the body with the other guests. He could see now that it was someone dressed in a skeleton costume. But who?

Everyone seemed reluctant to get any nearer. Finally Alex squatted down. He tentatively reached out to touch the body when suddenly the skeleton jumped up.

“Trick or treat!” the skeleton yelled, and collapsed, laughing uncontrollably, back on the rug.

It was Les Whittle.

More foreshadowing disguised as a cheap cliffhanger! I’m on to you, Stine. The first person to pretend to be dead in one his books is the first person to die later.

Coolest Detail:

Niki is almost entirely deaf. She can read lips really well, and this detail only comes into play toward the end when the rest of the party guests are being tortured with horrifying sounds of a car wreck (more on that later), and only Niki keeps her cool. I just think it’s a nice diversifying detail to include for the heroine.

The Costumes:

So many costume descriptions, I love it!

  • Niki (she gets extra points because she made hers!): “She was dressed as an old-fashioned carnival reveler, in a beautiful red satin ball gown and flowing black cape. She had copied the dress from a book of old party costumes. She was beautiful. Grinning at Terry excitedly, she slid on her shiny black feathered eye mask.”

  • Terry: “His mother had helped him dress up as a greaser from the 1950s. He was wearing black chino pants and old saddle shoes of his father’s that he’d found in the attic. He had rolled a pack of cigarettes in one sleeve of his tight white T-shirt and had a loose dark jacket over it. His hair was slicked back on the sides with Vaseline and teased up in the front.”

  • Justine: “She was dressed all in black, in a body-hugging, low-cut satin gown and high spiked sandals. Her thick blond hair was piled high on her head, and she had powdered her face and throat so they were dead white – except for a slash of red on her full lips and the glittering green irises of her eyes.”

  • Uncle Philip: “A very skinny man stepped out of the shadows beside the fireplace. He was wearing a blue satin clown costume, and his face was covered with greasepaint in a sad clown mask. A single sparkling tear was glued below his right eye.”

  • Angela (one of the jocks): “She was dressed like a biker girl, all in leather, and had stenciled tattoos on her arms and neck.”

  • David (jock, a nice guy): “David was wearing his basketball uniform, only instead of a basketball he was holding a big, round papier-mache skull.”

  • Trisha (wimp, really great): “Trisha, her round face cheery and excited, was wearing a cheerleader’s outfit from the fifties, with a tight pink sweater and short white skirt over white ankle-length boots. She had a big megaphone in her hand, and would have looked ridiculous, except she was obviously having such a good time.”

  • Ricky (wimp, annoying): “It was Ricky Schorr, dressed as a frog. He was wearing bright green long underwear, a pair of swim fins, and had a half mask on top of his head with bulging black eyes. ‘Ribit,’ he said.”

  • Alex (Niki’s ex, a jock, still into her): “Standing in the living room doorway, framed against the dark hallway, was a figure dressed in shining silver from head to toe. He struck a pose, like a matador, then strode into the living room. Now Terry could see that it was Alex, dressed in a skin-tight silver body suit and a glittering silver mask. Beneath the silver his muscles rippled as he moved.” lol!

The Decorations:

Even though this is a murder party, I would totally attend. Scavenger hunts and games and these amazing decorations and snacks in a creepy old mansion!

Justine’s living room was an eerie wonder, the ultimate fantasy of the ultimate Halloween dream – or nightmare. Artificial cobwebs hung in every corner, and cutouts of skeletons, witches, and bats dipped and swooped from the ceiling.

Along a narrow balcony above one side of the living room were colored spotlights that seemed to sweep the room in time to the music, their flickering lights causing everything to move eerily. The only other light came from the huge open fireplace, where a big black kettle was boiling, sending greenish fumes bubbling up[…]

As Justine had said, the refreshment ‘table’ was a shiny black coffin. It was covered with an appetizing array of cheese, bread, crackers, and various dips and hors d’oeuvres, including several Terry had never seen before. A shelf above the coffin held huge bowls of chips and platters of pizza – pepperoni, onion, sausage, and every combination Terry had ever heard of. Below all the food was a huge black cauldron packed with ice and dozens of cans of soda.


Best Fear Street Cemetery Description:

The wall surrounding the Fear Street cemetery loomed just ahead. He pushed open the gate and began to pick his way along the path between the grave markers, trying not to think about where he was.

With every boom of thunder, lightning lit up the graveyard like a snapshot, the old gravestones standing out in eerie relief.

The Suspects:

Everybody! Well, you feel pretty sure it wasn’t Terry or Niki, as the book alternates between their innocuous POVs, and Les was murdered, so he’s probably safe. Is it one of our hosts, the vampy Justine or sad clown Uncle Philip? Are the drunk party crashers, Marty and Bobby, up to something even more malicious? Why is David the jock so nice to the wimps – is he hiding something? Could it be the prank-loving Ricky Schorr? Is Trisha’s cheerful demeanor just a mask? Or is it Niki’s ex-boyfriend Alex, the Silver Prince, who is still so completely caught up on her?


It’s Justine! And sort of Uncle Philip. Here’s a twist: Justine is actually 29 YEARS OLD! And her real name is Enid. Her parents died on Halloween 28 years ago in a car wreck caused by a bunch of reckless teenagers: the parents of the party guests! She and Philip decided to invite the kids of the people responsible for the wreck to the party so they could scare them, but Justine took it too far and started bumping off folks. Of course, that’s Philip’s story – I bet he was in on it from the start.

Last Line:

It’s always Halloween on Fear Street.

Yay! I just dig this book so much, it really breaks out of Stine’s usual format by starting weeks in advance at the school as the pranks begin to mount. And that twist about Justine’s age is just fun and weird. The descriptions of the costumes and decorations create the perfect Halloween atmosphere, and he really ups his writing game for this book, too. The characters are vivid, and Niki’s my favorite heroine he’s ever written.

Thank you so much for joining me on this month-long sojourn down R.L. Stine’s Fear Street! Meet me here next October?

FTC Full Disclosure: I received neither money nor cocktails for writing this review (dammit!). Halloween Party is available now.

Meredith Borders is formerly the Texas-based editor of Fangoria and Birth.Movies.Death., now living and writing (and reading) in Germany. She’s been known to pop by Forever Young Adult since its inception, and she loves YA TV most ardently.