"The Haunted House Game" was the fifth short story that appeared in the book Even More Tales to Give You Goosebumps.
Two children, Jonathan and his best friend Nadine are babysitting his twin siblings, Noah and Annie. As it is a dark and stormy night, Jonathan suggests that they play a game titled, "Haunted House Game" though Nadine wishes to play Parcheesi. But Jonathan refuses, because ghosts are not involved in Parcheesi.
They begin to play the board game, but soon learn that each command they land on comes true. Such as "Wind rattles the window", "You hear eerie moan", "lightning crashes", and so on and so on.
Eventually, Jonathan lands on the "SCARED TO DEATH" spot and the lights go out, the kids see ghostly hands, and everyone starts screaming. Jonathan goes to run out the door and comes across a newspaper from 1942 and reads the front page story: "4 KIDS DIE IN MYSTERIOUS DEATH. Police were completely baffled when they found four kids dead, seated at a table where they apparently had been playing a board game. "It looked to me as if they were scared to death!" declared one police officer." He suddenly remembers that they died years ago and keep forgetting about it. Jonathan then goes back into the room with no memory of what he saw, suggests they play Haunted House, and they have the same conversation they did in the very beginning.
The television episode is almost entirely different from the original short story. Nadine and Jonathan are going to a pep rally when they encounter a little girl crying in front of an old house that is clearly abandoned. She tells them she is crying because her cat ran inside the old house and won't come out. Nadine and Jonathan kindly agree to go inside the old house to find the little girl's cat for her. Inside, the two find the haunted house game and decide to play it, only to get magically sucked into it. Forced to play the game if they wish to escape alive (at least according to the written instructions they are given), Nadine and Jonathan meet Noah and Annie, two other children who tell them they have been sucked into the game as well.
After surviving many terrifying encounters with various ghosts and deadly traps, they find their way to the exit, only to have Noah and Annie turn out to be evil ghosts who inform Nadine and Jonathan they are going be turned into new pieces for their haunted house game, which they have been playing with their visitors all along. When the two ghosts start arguing on which of them actually won, and whether the game was played fairly, Nadine and Jonathan manage to trick them by using their own rules against them, and thus escape from the house. The episode ends with two more children meeting the little girl crying about her cat inside the house and agreeing to go in to find it. As they enter the house, the little girl looks after them, grins, and snickers.
Television Episode Trivia
- The children play the game as living game pieces, instead of ON a board game.
- Laura Vandervoort, who played Nadine in this episode, went on to play Sheena in next season's episode, Deep Trouble. Years later, she played Kara-El (Supergirl) on the TV series Smallville.
- Benjamin Plener (Jonathan) played Roger in Season 1's Welcome to Camp Nightmare.
- Kiel Campbell (Noah) played Eddie in Season 2's You Can't Scare Me!.
- This television episode is on the Scary House DVD along with, The House of No Return.