Since the 1980s, author R.L. Stine has been terrifying readers with his best-selling novels, including Goosebumps, which invented a new genre of books for kids: middle grade horror. He continues to scare readers today, and has two new books out this week: Just Beyond: Welcome to Beast Island, a graphic novel that re-imagines the King Kong story for kids, and My Friend Slappy, the latest Goosebumps and Stine’s fourteenth book about the evil wooden dummy by the same name. On Halloween eve, he joined Joe Mathieu on Morning Edition to talk about his new projects, and what it was like to voice a character on the beloved animated children's show Arthur.

“I’m very lucky that I get to scare a lot of generations,” Stine said. “It’s a good job. You have to be crazy to write as many books as I have.”

Stine said that his books provide an escape for children, especially during uncertain times. His main rule is letting kids know that what happens in his books could never happen in the real world; they’re fantasy.

“The scary stories I write are actually an escape,” he said. “When a kid picks up a Goosebumps book, they know what they’re going to get. It’s going to be a wild ride, with twists and turns and a creepy adventure, and there’s a happy ending. In a lot of ways, my books are reassuring. It’s ‘safe’ scary.”

Stine officially became part of the GBH family whenhe appearedin an episode of Arthur last year. He voiced the character of Scary Uncle Bob, Buster Bunny's weird uncle who moonlights as an author who writes scary stories. Sound familiar? “It’s a great script — I actually act!” he said.

This Halloween, Stine will host a virtual Halloween party for children, reading ghost stories and providing an escape for kids who are trapped inside due to the pandemic. “I’m trying to do my part,” he said.