Attack of the Jack-O'-Lanterns is the forty-eighth book in the original Goosebumps book series. It was first published in 1996.

The cover shows five Pumpkin Heads and a pumpkin-headed dog walking down a street.


Pumpkin Power!

Nothing beats Halloween. It's Drew Brockman's favorite holiday. And this year will be awesome. Much better than last year. Or the year Lee and Tabby played that joke. A nasty practical joke on Drew and her best friend, Walker. Yes, this year Drew and Walker have a plan. A plan for revenge. It involves two scary pumpkin heads. But something's gone wrong. Way wrong. Because the pumpkin heads are a little too scary. A little too real. With strange hissing voices. And flames shooting out of their faces...


Drew Brockman absolutely loves Halloween. Unfortunately, her last two Halloweens have ruined by two kids named Tabitha and Lee. Two years ago, Drew and her friends Walker, Shane, and Shana, were targets of a mean prank where Tabitha and Lee staged a fake break-in at Lee's Halloween party. The year after, Drew planned a scary Halloween party, only to learn that Tabby and Lee were spending Halloween at Lee's cousin's. What's worse, the fake slime that Shana had had intended to use at the party burned a hole through Drew's couch.

Drew and her friends decide to plan the ultimate prank to scare Tabitha and Lee straight. On Halloween, Shane and Shana tell Drew and Walker to invite Tabitha and Lee to go trick-or-treating with them, and the two will meet the other four later on for the prank.

When Halloween comes, Drew's mother is reluctant to let Drew go out due to the disappearance of four adults at a nearby town. Drew points out that the targets were all fat. Luckily, Drew's father argues that Drew can go out as long as she stays with a group.

As Drew, Walker, Tabitha, and Lee head out, they run into two people dressed in costumes with Pumpkin Heads. Tabitha and Lee are convinced that the two are Shane and Shana. The two pumpkin-headed people take the kids to a street that the kids are sure was never there before, saying they will get lots and lots of candy from the incredibly generous inhabitants. But when it starts to get late, Drew and the others learn that the two pumpkin headed kids will not let them go home, and want them to trick-or-treat forever. Tabitha and Lee are still not scared, so they try to take the jack-o'-lanterns off the two, but when they do, they find that there is no head beneath them and that the jack-o’-lanterns are still talking.

As the hours drag on and the children's bags become full, the two Pumpkin Heads force the kids to eat the candy they already have to make room in their bags (Tabby and Lee have pillowcases). The Pumpkin Heads get impatient and order them to eat faster, leading Tabby to accidentally smear chocolate in her hair. The children then complain that they are painfully full, but the Pumpkin Heads continue to demand that they eat every piece that they were given. After they make some room in their bags, the Pumpkin Heads get the children moving again. They lead to a street inhabited with Pumpkin Heads. Soon, Drew, Walker, Tabby and Lee are surrounded by Pumpkin Heads. Four Pumpkin Heads (including the two that brought the children where they are) walk towards the group with four craved pumpkins. They tell the children they're shall become Pumpkin Heads when the pumpkins are put over their heads. After they successfully put pumpkins over Tabby and Lee's heads, Tabby and Lee run away, leaving Drew and Walker.

At this point, the two Pumpkin Heads reveal that they are Shane and Shana, and that the entire ordeal was merely the prank that the four had created to scare Tabitha and Lee away. It turns out that Shane and Shana are actually a human aliens with the strange abilities to disguise themselves as any person by mimicking their voices, and the other people in the neighborhood were all part of the prank, and possibly more aliens. As Shane and Shana prepare to depart, Drew offers them some candy, but the two tell her that their people eat human flesh but that she needn't worry yet, she's not an adult yet, and besides (they squeeze Drew's arm to feel how chubby she is) she's not plump enough yet. Drew asks them if they're joking, but she doesn't get an answer.

Reprints and rereleases

Book Release date Type Media

2003 - 2007 reprint series

August 2005 Standalone Paperback

Classic Goosebumps

Attack of the Jack-'O-Lanterns - Classic Goosebumps
July 31, 2018 Standalone Paperback

International releases


  • In France, this book is the 73rd of the Goosebumps series, and was renamed "La nuit des disparitions" (The night of disappearances). 
  • In France, this book was greatly changed by the translators, for it was decided that the original text was too gruesome and scary for children. The subplot of the "disappearances of Halloween" is more important in the French book, and was changed so that children were kidnapped the previous Halloweens, not adults. The part where the kids are force-fed candies was cut, as the part where the Pumpkin Heads are bringing pumpkins to "replace" the heads of the children. The ending was also completely changed: Drew was completely unaware that Shana and Shane were aliens, and this comes as a big revelation. The Pumpkin Heads explain that they are behind the "disappearances of Halloween", because they need young test subjects for their scientific experiments, and they kidnap Lee and Tabby, hoping that with them their experiences will end. No mention of the aliens eating human flesh is made. Shane and Shana also mentions that they will leave Earth forever, because they are too "old" for trick-or-treating, before disappearing in a UFO. The books ends with Drew and Walker at a police station, trying to explain the events of Halloween night. Seeing the policemen are not convinced by her story, she decides to write a book about it, because "million of readers" will surely believe her. 
  • The French translator also added small bits of text at random to "padd" things a bit (for example, the book doesn't open on Drew's father calling her "Elf" but rather on him reading a newspaper article about the disappearances of Halloween), and split the first chapter of the original book in two. Adding that to the cuts previously mentionned, the French book ended up with 26 chapters, while the English one has 29 of them. 

Television adaptation

Attack of the Jack-O'-Lanterns was adapted into an episode of the Goosebumps TV series. It is the tenth episode of season two, and the twenty-ninth episode overall.



The original printings of the book included bookmark trading card tear-outs. Some printings also included metallic stickers. The first sticker is a modified version of the cover. The Pumpkin Heads' designs have been changed, and the dog and owl were removed. The second sticker features artwork from Monster Edition #1.


  • The tagline is a reference to the phrase, "Put one foot in front of the other".

References in other Goosebumps media