Kathy Quinn (Wendi McLendon-Covey) and her two children Sarah (Madison Iseman) and younger brother Sonny (Jeremy Ray Taylor) live in the state of New York in a lovely home right next to their over the top holiday decorator neighbor Mr. Chew (Ken Jeong). Sonny’s friend Sam (Caleel Haris) is staying at the house for a few days as his parents are going out of town. At Daniel Webster Middle School both boys are under constant attack by three bullies. At home the boys run a junk collection business and have received a cleanup call from 24 Ashley Lane, the Stine house. When they arrive at the house it looks more like it needs a complete demolition but when they find a secret room they also find a treasure chest. Inside the chest was nothing but a book but when they opened it and read a saying found inside, out of nowhere a ventriloquist doll appears from the chest.
His name is Slappy (Rick Galinson) and what comes out from his wooden lips is troublesome but mostly for the bullies at first. Sonny and Sam take the puppet home with them; he eventually meets Sarah and hears that her boyfriend Tyler is cheating on her. Mom is working and the kids are home with psycho Slappy who comes alive and causes the town to be overrun by scary Halloween decorations, witches, pumpkins, scarecrow, gummy bears and so many other creepy Halloween treats. The only way to stop them is by getting the book and reversing the spell so that all of the creatures end up in the book including that of Slappy. When they think life is returning to normal R.L. Stine (Jack Black) appears to help and claim his book and return it to his closet full of many other stories that will cause goosebumps and more to come.
I enjoyed the film which is perfect for families and children along with the Halloween season this story is ideal for the little ghosts and goblins. It is well directed and written, filled with many special effects that help to move the story along to fill ninety minutes. The puppet Slappy adds a perfect mix of scary with intrigue that brings out the horrors that the town must fight. Great costumes and a wonderful score add up to a holiday fun movie for kids to enjoy this season. McLendon-Covey is great but not the main attraction nor is Black but it is Iseman, Taylor and Harris that lead the story and all perform well together. Happy Halloween and remember not to eat too much candy including gummy bears.