The illustration on the cover shows the Creeps making use of a telephone booth.
Back cover description
Reach out and scare someone...
Ricky Beamer is furious when he gets kicked off the school paper. So he decides to play a joke on Natasha, the bossy editor in chief. Just a little joke. Harmless, really. After school one day he sticks a message in the paper. If you're a creep, call Tasha after midnight, it reads. But somehow Ricky's message gets messed up. And now he's getting calls. Strange calls from kids who say they are creeps. Creeps with scaly purple-colored scales and long sharp fangs...
Ricky Beamer is tortured and harassed by his schoolmates and called names. He has four enemies who are eighth-graders named Wart, Brenda, David and Jared. He is on the school newspaper, which is called Harding Herald. The head of the school newspaper is an eighth-grader named Tasha McClain. She treats sixth-graders like slaves. Ricky's only friend is a girl, named Iris who is new. A few days before the school newspaper got published, Ricky was in the newspaper room. He was about to get a Pepsi can from the refreshments desk, when two of his enemies, David and Wart, come along. Wart blocks Ricky's way and David says he wants the can of Pepsi. Ricky says he wants it and both of them start snatching it from each other. The can slips from David's grasp and falls on Natasha's keyboard. She calls Ricky a creep and says he is off the paper.
The next morning, Ricky gets a call from Tasha. She says there is an emergency and she needs Ricky. She gives Ricky her father's expensive camera and says if anything happens to it, Ricky is off the paper. In other words, Ricky gets another chance. Ricky has to take pictures of the children who are washing cars for the 'car washing campaign'.
When Ricky reaches the spot, he tells the children to make a pose for the picture. But instead, they start throwing water at him from their hoses. He finds out that the children are his eighth-grade enemies. Ricky is tired of his enemies always bullying and harassing him. So he tackles Wart, takes his hose and throws water into Wart's father's car. The camera is soaked and when he tries to run away, he slips and breaks the camera.
Tasha says this was Ricky's last and final chance and now he is off the paper. Iris sees the whole thing and says Tasha is mean and cruel. Then Ricky plans to get revenge on Tasha the night, before the paper is about to be published. He types a message on the paper saying "Calling all Creeps. Calling all Creeps. If you're a real Creep, call Tasha at 555-6709 after midnight."
He calls Iris and tells her what he did last night, but Iris says that he is in big trouble. Ricky finds out what she meant on Wednesday morning. Instead of Tasha's name, it was Ricky's name at the end of the paper. Tasha caught on to his plan and put Ricky's name and phone number there.
And that night Ricky gets calls from children saying they are creeps, and saying weird stuff, like "When shall we meet?"
The next morning, everything goes perfectly normal at school. No children calling Ricky names, no children trying to trip Ricky, no one trying to tease and harass him. He feels weird, because ever since he joined the school, people made fun of him. Finally, at lunchtime, somebody throws a paper ball on him. He looks around for somebody who could have thrown it, but everyone was busy eating their lunches. He reads it and it says, "When will the creeps meet?"
When Ricky is about to leave school, his enemies get a hold on him and take him to the forest near school. They are very serious. Then they start apologizing to Ricky and start calling him their commander.
At first, Ricky takes it all as a joke. Then they transform into purple lizard-like creatures with long tongues. They think Ricky is their commander because of what it said in the paper. They say humans are the past and creeps are the future. They ask Ricky where to plant the identity seeds to turn everybody else into creeps. If they do not plant the seeds before they go stale in a week, they will blow their mission and be killed for not completing it.
Ricky plays along and tries to get away to get help, but Wart says he has got a plan. They will sneak into the lunchroom and put the identity seeds in the food, so everyone becomes a creep.
Ricky has to do what they say, because they think he is their commander. So he enters the kitchen and pretends to fall. All the identity seeds fall to the ground and get lost. Unfortunately, Brenda has extras. Now Ricky has no plans and he sprinkles the seeds onto the macaroni stirs them in. He gets caught by Mrs. Marshall and Mrs. Davis. Ricky whispers to them that the macaroni is poisoned and shouldn't be served, this insults Mrs. and Mrs. Davis tell him to try a bowl of it. Ricky refuses, tells them he big breakfast and leaves the kitchen.
After lunchtime, Ricky waits for all the children to turn into creeps, but they do not.
So after school ends, the creeps grab Ricky and take him to the forest again. They ask Ricky why their plan did not work. He tells them that nobody eats the macaroni, because they think it is old. They ask Ricky how he knew, because he only arrived a few days before the creeps did. He says to them a kid told him. He then orders them to bury the seeds, but they know a Creep commander would never order them to do that. They now want Ricky to transform into a creep to prove that he is their commander.
Just as it looks hopeless for Ricky, Iris arrived and acted as if she was the commander's assistant. Then she gives them a plan to make cookies at the bake sale and sell them for free. They could put the identity seeds in them, because they look like a real chocolate chips. They agree, however, with her plan and go to Iris' house to bake the cookies.
Iris tells Ricky she saw Wart and the others turn into creeps and that's why she came to help. They decide to make a plan at the bake sale.
At the bake sale, Ricky has a plan. He will go to the podium and tell everybody not to eat the cookies, but the children laugh at his misery when Ricky warns them and start calling him names. He then tries to eat all the cookies but the teasing children start throwing baked goods at him.
Brenda tells him that when the children eat the cookies, they will transform and all of them will become Ricky's slaves. Since everybody always made fun of him, Ricky decides to give everybody a free cookie. Then at last, he eats one himself and transforms. The last and final page has them all become his slaves forever...
Cover Art Gallery
- According to R.L. Stine's autobiography, he got the idea for the story from a joke he once played when he was in college, but it ended up backfiring on him afterwards.
- This is the first Goosebumps book in which the villain succeeds in the end.
- The origin of the Creeps is touched in Earth Geeks Must Go! The hero lands on a planet like Earth, but populated with purple lizards for humans. They may be invading Earth.
- In the book, Harding Middle School serves pasta, but no one eats it. In the episode, it's tuna surprise.
- In the television episode, Iris speaks out when Ricky hands out the cookies at the end. But in the book, she does nothing at all.
- In the book, the number that appears in Ricky's message is "555-6709". In the television episode, the number is "555-0109".
- There are three creeps, instead of four.
- The Creeps are yellow, instead of purple.
Television Episode Trivia
- This is the last of three television episodes on the DVD, The Scarecrow Walks at Midnight.
- The episode was adapted into Goosebumps Presents Book #17.
- Hamille Rustia (Iris) played Allison in Season 4's Cry of the Cat.
- Matthew Lemche (David) played Richard Holman in Season 3's Click. His brother Kris appeared previously in The Scarecrow Walks at Midnight.
The Creeps appear in the 2015 Goosebumps film. They are purple like in the book. David and Wart don't appear in the film, only Ricky, Wart, and Brenda.