The call for Kid Reporter applications is now open! Click here to learn more.

Celebrating Halloween With R.L. Stine and Mary Pope Osborne

Slappy, the character created by R.L. Stine, gets a special seat at a Halloween event at the Library of Congress. 

On October 22, the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C., hosted Halloween Family Day. The event began with young visitors participating in “spooky” art activities on the Mezzanine level of the Library’s Great Hall. Attendees could also read a scary story in the reading corner or find an adventure in a book of their choosing. 

In the afternoon, the Library celebrated 30 years of two bestselling book series: R.L. Stine’s Goosebumps and Mary Pope Osborne’s Magic Tree House. The authors addressed an enthusiastic audience in the Coolidge Auditorium.

Before the program started, I was able to talk with Stine and Osborne about a variety of topics, from their favorite Halloween candy to their upcoming books. 

Both like Milky Ways. “I steal them from the basket that I give out to the kids,” Osborne said, smiling. 

Stine laughed. “I’ve eaten most of them already! Kids never even get hold of them.”

For Stine, Halloween is one of the best days of the year. He can’t remember a favorite costume from childhood, but he remembers a least-favorite one.

“I wanted to be something scary,” he recalled. “I wanted to be a vampire or a werewolf. But my parents went out and bought us costumes to wear. So they came back, and I opened the box, and there was a yellow duck costume. I had to be a fuzzy, yellow duck for Halloween. It was humiliating.”

He was able to use the experience in his novel called The Haunted Mask. “The girl, Carly Beth, wants to be scary,” he said, “and her mom gets her a fuzzy duck costume.”


Logan with authors R.L. Stine and Mary Pope Osborne. “This is my time of year,” Stine told Logan. “Kids like a good scare and scary movies. After Halloween, and November comes, everyone forgets about me. That’s it, I disappear.”


The authors said that they were honored to speak at the Library, which is one of the top research institutions in the world. “We’re going to do a little play, and it’s going to be fun to watch,” Osborne said.

Stine quipped, “They may not like it at all. It’s such a beautiful day. They might think, ‘What are we doing here?’”

Both authors use surprise and suspense in their novels. So I asked why they thought being scared can be a good thing. “In my series, the kids usually get scared,” Osborne said. “And then they solve a big problem.”  

Stine’s Goosebumps books are all about fear, but readers know that they’re safely reading in their rooms. “You have these adventures, and you know it’s going to be OK,” he said. “Every book has a happy ending.”

In Osborne’s latest title, Memories and Life Lessons from the Magic Tree House, she writes about her life and what she has learned from her fictional characters, Jack and Annie.

“Be curious,” Osborne said. “Look out in the world, and learn as much as you can.”

What is Stine’s advice for readers of the Goosebumps series? “Run!” he said, smiling. Then he added, “Kids learn that books are fun.”


“My kids are saving rhinos,” said Mary Pope Osborne about her fictional characters. “And mine are getting eaten!” Stine said.


While both authors are proud of the enduring popularity of their respective series, they’re not done yet. Osborne shared that Jack and Annie will be saving rhinos in South Africa in the latest Magic Tree House book, Rhinos at Recess.

Stine talked about his upcoming title, Fright Night. Readers will follow the adventures of a boy who moves to a town where a monster lives in the basement of every school. The monster is allowed to eat one child a year on Fright Night.

“My kids are saving rhinos,” Osborne said.

“And mine are getting eaten!” Stine replied.

Photos courtesy of the author