It was Halloween night. All the children in the neighbourhood were very excited and preparing to go trick or treating, bobbing apples and exchanging spooky stories. But near the end of the street at number 13, Veronica Snarklethorpe sat in her room glowering from underneath her glasses and plotting her next nasty plan.
Veronica was a horrid girl. She was lazy and naughty and loved nothing more than spoiling everyone else’s day. She disliked anything good. She hated healthy food and would throw dinner away after mum had made it.
She left sweet wrappers, doll’s clothes,books and bubble mixture all over her bedroom floor whenever she could and would leave toffee grow mouldy in her cupboards and boxes, just to upset mum and dad. She also didn’t believe in Halloween at all. The idea of other children getting to houses before her to pick up all those doorstep sweets was too much for her to bear so she cancelled it from her calendar and plotted to create her own mayhem instead.
Tonight Veronica Snarklethorpe would dress in a thick black cloak and hide in the shadows,then she would wait until the child with the fullest treat bucket trailed past and she would pounce! She would steal all the sweets and take them back to her den…Veronica sniggered eerily. She would make this night her own.
However, this was Halloween and Veronica was about to experience a night to remember.
Delighted with her plan, Veronica decided to wander downstairs and see what revolting food she could face from the kitchen. As it happened, tonight mum had made Veronica’s favourite. It was fish fingers and chips with red jelly. For once, Veronica was thinking of being a good girl and sat down to dinner happily. Mum brought the jelly out of the fridge and placed it on the table. As it was Halloween, mum had decided to place plastic spiders, cats and witches on the jelly to make it look spooky. Veronica took one look and exploded. First she turned as red as the jelly, then she went purple. Her hands made little fists and she stamped her feet as hard as she could.
“You know I hate Halloween! You’ve spoilt my jelly!! I won’t eat anything else for the rest of the night! “she screamed. Then she raced upstairs to her room in a rage.
After slamming her door very very hard, Veronica flew around her room like an angry hurricane, pulling clothes out of drawers onto the floor, stamping on toys and pouring lemonade all over her carpet. Mum was knocking her door agitated and upset, so Veronica put on her black cloak, climbed out of her bedroom window and down the drainpipe into the night.
Still holding onto her tantrum, Veronica vowed to catch the biggest loot of the night and soon found a garden-side bush to nestle in. She waited for a few minutes and saw a small group of children run past with a few small goodie bags.
“No,too many children “ she thought “ I’ll wait a bit longer”.
Within a couple of minutes she heard some more voices. She waited and waited. The voices were approaching laughing and muttering and Veronica peeked around the bush. But no-one was there.
“Odd” she thought. So she crept forward a little more. But there was still no sign of a single person. Where WAS that laughing coming from when it was so close?
Suddenly Veronica felt a tap on her shoulder. She turned around and there stood a small boy, very pale… almost transparent really. Veronica jumped a little, but defiantly refused to show it.
“ Hahahhaah!! “ laughed the little boy. “ You don’t believe in me do you?”
“ Who are you?” asked Veronica indignantly. “ I DON’T believe in you because I don’t know who you are!”.
“ I’m Casey” echoed the boy in a ghostly voice “ I am here every year but you never see me. Tonight it’s your turn to follow me on an important Halloween trail.”
“Don’t be ridiculous!” Veronica scoffed and she started to move away. As she turned to walk something grabbed her ankle and something else held tightly onto her arm.
“Arrgh!” Veronica shrieked. “What’s THAT?”. Casey shook himself into a glow and shed some light on Veronica’s arm. The bush had kept hold of her. It started to talk.
“ Not so fast missy! How many times have you thrown sweet wrappers into me on the way to school? How many times have you snapped my poor branches for fun? Tonight is my night to get my revenge on you. You must go with Casey and follow his lead straight away… OR ELSE!”.
Veronica flinched and shook her head a few times to make sure she wasn’t somehow stuck in an awful nightmare. She closed her eyes and opened them, but Casey was still there….
“ BOO!” he shouted , then laughed loudly and heartily.
Veronica didn’t like this at all, but had no choice.
“Come on” coaxed Casey, “I have to take you back home.. it’s time”.
“Time for what?” asked Veronica
“ You’ll see….” said Casey mysteriously.
The journey back seemed to take ages and ages as Casey floated ahead of Veronica. Every Jack-o-Lantern frowned and grimaced at Veronica, every cat hissed and arched its back, bats flew out from no-where and fluttered angrily in her face.
They finally arrived at Veronica’s house. The door was wide open, mum and dad had gone to look for their cross little daughter around the neighbourhood.
Casey led the way as they entered the house .
“Ok, you can go now” snapped Veronica nastily.
“ Not yet” said Casey. He grabbed her hand and shrieking all the way Veronica was transported into her room . Casey stood in the middle of the room , made a jangling sound and shouted to the room;
All of a sudden a cacophony of noise started as drawers opened and closed madly, chanting and complaining, the carpet started moaning, the lemonade rattled and danced about angrily , making a horrid clattering sound. Veronica’s bedroom door slammed shut, then open again and green sludgy goo ran from the bottom of her bed.
“We don’t like you” they all shouted.
“You are nasty and mean” they screamed.
“ Aaaagggh! Stop! Stop!” howled Veronica. “I’ll do anything , just please stop”.
The mayhem subsided and Casey began with the “new girl“ rules.
“Pick the clothes up and put them away, close your door-don’t slam, clean the carpet, pick up the sweet wrappers and above all, BE NICE!”
Veronica had had such a fright , she did as she was told and apologised to all the grumbling objects in her bedroom. Just as she was finishing the last of the cleaning, she could hear her mum’s voice calling her. Casey gave Veronica an approving wink and disappeared back into the night.
Exhausted from her night’s exploits, Veronica flopped onto her newly clean bed and fell fast asleep.
When she woke up in the morning, mum was standing over her asking if she’d had a bad dream.
“I had an awful night mum, there was a ghost and the drawers were being nasty to me and … didn’t you go looking for me?”
“No dear, we all had a quiet night last night. You must have had a nightmare, poor thing. Now come and have some healthy breakfast before school”.
“Yes mum, that’ll be lovely” smiled a new, happy and well behaved Veronica Snarklethorpe.
Halloween would never be the same again.
©Tess Egerton 2011
Excerpt from “teeny town”:
Once upon a time there was a tiny country called Minico, just on the Southernmost tip of the Smallsville region. In that tiny country there was a place called Teeny Town. In Teeny Town everything was totally tiny; the people were tiny, the animals were tiny, the houses and trees were tiny and even the tallest of skyscraping buildings was actually no bigger than a buttercup. Families bustled about their teeny daily life in teeny cars and trains, children went to teeny- weeny school and the birds tweeted such high-pitched teeny songs that no-one could hear them properly except the teeniest of insects.
Now it so happened that in teeny town there lived a family of extra teeny people called the MicroMacs. Mr and Mrs MicroMac had three teeny tiny children called Meeny, Miny and Mo. They were all so small, they almost had to reach up high to touch the floor! The MicroMacs lived in a tiny house smaller than a matchbox with a tiny white fence and the weeniest of gardens containing hundreds if pin-head sized flowers. They loved nothing better than to play in their garden with their dog Mickymac or splash about in the sea down at Minico Bay.
On this particular day, Mr MicroMac woke up with a teeny yawn and a stretch. He looked at Mrs MicroMac, then looked around their teeny room (which didn’t take long as it was SO very tiny) and noticed there was something wrong. Everything in the room was dark! Was it morning? Mr Micromac looked at his alarm clock… it was indeed morning! But there was no sun!!! Mr.M jumped up with a start and flung open his miniscule curtains. There, in front of him was the most amazing, most unusual, most incredible sight his teeny eyes had ever seen!!
One cold dark evening in October, Little Boo was floating home from scare school and looking forward his tea. Mum caught his little ghost hand and turned to him excitedly. “Boo” she said, “do you know what night tonight is??”
“No?!” replied Boo curiously. He could sense something good was planned for the night ahead.
“Tonight is Halloween!” cried mum with a great big grin! And this year on Halloween, daddy and I are going to take you on your first ever spooking expedition!!”.
“What’s Halloween? What’s an expedition?” asked Boo becoming very excited all of a sudden. “Well” explained mum, “Halloween is the only night of the year when we ghosts are allowed to come out at night and make mischief! Our expedition is an adventure where we can visit other people’s houses, walk through walls and surprise people for fun!!”
“Oooh, that sounds wonderful” gasped Boo, becoming more and more excited by the minute.
With that, mum and Boo bumped into daddy ghost, who was waiting around the next corner with a goody bag of ice-burgers and spook juice to keep them happy on their night’s adventures. “Hello Boo”, smiled dad “are you ready for our trip? Now remember, follow mum and I, copy what we do and remember to stick close and don’t wander off on your own!” Boo listened excitedly and agreed.
Mr and Mrs Spook and little Boo then prepared for their evening by curling themselves into vaporous waves and gliding off down the next available dark alleyway. They floated happily along the cobbled streets until they found a nice large house with a big chimney. “Follow me Boo” giggled dad “this’ll be fun!” and with that, dad turned into a wisp of smoke and flew down the chimney at top speed! He was quickly followed by Boo, then mum. Inside the house, a little old lady sat by the fireplace knitting away happily with her black cat at her feet. All of a sudden, Mr and Mrs Spook and Boo spiralled out into the fireplace wailing and moaning eerily. The little old lady had such a fright, she threw her knitting into the air, grabbed her cat and hid behind the sofa shaking. The three ghosts collapsed in a fit of giggles and disappeared. “That was so much fun” shrieked Boo with delight “again, again, oh please mum and dad, can we do another one straight away?”
Mum and dad grinned. “Ok, they agreed” remember, stick close to us.
The three ghosts moved on lightly along the neighbourhood and next came to a small house with a jack-o-lantern in the window. When they peered inside, there was a man on a ladder painting the walls and ceiling. Immediately, Mr Spook saw the mischief to be had and tapped the window. All three ghosts pressed their faces against the glass and frightened the man so much he fell off his ladder, taking the white paint with him. On the floor the poor man was covered in white paint and still looking shocked and shaken. “” Hahaha , goodness me” cried Mrs Ghost “ that man looks more like a ghost than we do”! All three ghosts wibbled and wobbled with laughter.
All throughout the night, the Spook family continued their adventure, scouring the neighbourhood for people to surprise and scare. They popped out from behind lamp-posts, they leapt out screaming from rubbish bins, they floated eerily through walls and they squealed with delight each time they sent another sorry victim flying off into the night with sheer terror.
Near the end of the night, Boo was becoming tired, but still wanted more fun. “Am I good at this mum and dad?” he asked.
“Oh Boo- you’re a natural” they replied. This gave Boo more energy for a little more spooking. He decided as a last treat, he would show mum and dad how good he was by spooking a whole family by himself! On the next street, mum and dad floated on in anticipation of finding one last big prize for the night. Just before they reached the next house, Boo ducked back and floated through the closed door of the nearest house. Inside, the house was full of pumpkins, plastic ghosts, animated witches, furry stuffed black cats and rubber monsters. Boo could hear laughter and merriment coming from behind a wall close by. This would be his chance he thought. He’d creep up quietly then appear suddenly, shrieking his best ghost cry and make the whole party flee through the front door! Wouldn’t mum and dad be proud of him?
Boo started to puff up his chest into his best scary ghost image, he growled his best growl and charged at the wall. On the other side Boo couldn’t believe is ghostie eyes! He was greeted by the sight of the most hideous monsters, scariest witches and creepiest goblins he’d ever seen. They all took one look at Boo and growled back very loudly indeed. Boo instantly fled from the room, not looking back once and disappeared in a puff of smoke up the nearest chimney. Once outside, he hurried to find mum and dad who had realised he’d left their sides and had started to look for him.
” Boo!!” cried mum. What is wrong? Where did you get to?” Boo stood in front of his parents, shaking and shuddering like never before “I, I I only wanted to make you extra proud of me,” he stammered “ I saw the worst monsters ever!” . Dad laughed and pointed to the house Boo had fleed.
“That’s the Gargoyle’s house Boo- every ghost worth his spooking badge knows that they have huge dressing up competitions every year to see who can look the scariest! All haunting is banned from that house little one. “
“Ohhh”, said Boo sadly, hanging his head “I’m never going to make a good spook!” . Mr and Mrs Spook looked at their tired little ghost and felt so sorry for him.
“You are already a great spook Boo” said mum kindly. “You already frightened us by disappearing!”. The three ghosts laughed and boo hopped onto dad’s back for the short ride home, tired but full of memories from his first, eventful Halloween.
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