The Goosebumps author tells PEOPLE about his "horrible" childhood Halloween costume

By Jessica Fecteau
Updated October 22, 2015 12:40 PM
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Dan Nelken

As one of the best-known writers of children’s horror fiction, R.L. Stine might be expected to relish the last day of October as if it were his birthday.

But the Goosebumps author, 72, tells PEOPLE that – horrors! – he doesn’t even dress up for Halloween.

“I’m always working,” he says. “But if I’m home, I bring out my skeleton – I bring it to the back door and we give away candy and Goosebumps books. Everyone gets books.”

Stine’s famous fantasy thrillers have recently been developed into a motion picture with Jack Black playing the author.

“He’s a great evil version of me – that was his decision,” Stine says. “Jack flew to New York and we had lunch and he looked at me and said, ‘Well, what in the script is true about you?’ And I said ‘Jack, not one thing. Don’t look at the script.'”

“He’s so mean in the film – it bothered me a little bit, but once the monsters start chasing him, he mellows.”

Not only is Stine not overwhelmed by the excitement of Halloween, he also says he cannot be scared.

“Scary movies never scare me. They make me laugh. Horror always makes me laugh. I just think it’s funny. And even Stephen King – they’re a few really creepy books like Pet Sematary which I think is one of the scariest and people always say to me, ‘I read your book and I had to sleep with all the lights on and I had to lock all the doors’ and I never had that feeling. Never had that.”

Jack Black Stars As R.L. Stine In Goosebumps

But one thing that’s enough to give Stine nightmares (and perhaps the real reason he no longer dresses up?) is the Halloween costume he often wore as a child.

“When I was a kid, I wanted to be scary. I wanted to be something – a skeleton, a mummy or something, and we were very poor. My parents went out to Kresge’s, the dime store, and came back with a costume for me and it was a yellow fuzzy duck. Horrible. With a fuzzy yellow tail and I had to wear it for years. Every year I was a duck – it was humiliating. Oh, the horrors of childhood.”

For more on the Goosebumps author – whose movie is now in theaters – pick up this week’s issue of PEOPLE, on stands Friday