About the Author
Lin Oliver is a writer and producer of movies, books, and television series for children and families. She has written more than twenty-five novels for children, and one hundred episodes of television. She is cofounder and executive director of the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators, an international organization of twenty thousand authors and illustrators of children's books. She lives in Los Angeles with her husband, Alan. They have three sons named Theo, Ollie, and Cole. She loves tuna melts, curious kids, any sport that involves a racket, and children's book writers everywhere.
Scott Garrett lives in the United Kingdom.
Read an Excerpt
The most fun way to spend the night before Halloween is to watch a scary movie with your best friend, sharing a bowl of popcorn. This is something Frankie Townsend and I have been doing ever since I can remember. We turn out the lights in my living room and put The Eight-Legged Creature from the Deep on the TV. Then we make scary underwater sounds. Frankie pretends to be a giant vampire squid. I’m really good at holding my nose and groaning. I don’t think any underwater creature actually makes that noise, but I like to do it, anyway, because it drives my sister, Emily, crazy.
“Hey, Zip,” Frankie said to me as we sat in the kitchen eating frozen oatmeal raisin cookies. Call me weird, but I like my cookies frozen. It was Friday night, and the next day was Halloween. “Do you think we should invite Ashley to watch the movie with us?”
“Sure,” I said. “After all, she’s our new best friend. Unless you think the movie would be too scary for her?”
“Let’s ask her,” Frankie said.
I picked up the phone and dialed Ashley’s number.
“Big Joe’s Hot Dogs,” said a man’s voice. “Where every bite is right.”
Oops. I guess I didn’t dial Ashley’s number.
“Excuse me,” I said into the phone. “I was trying to call Ashley Wong.”
“No one here by that name,” Big Joe answered. “But if you find her, come on in for our Halloween special. I call it the Hal-O-Wiener.”
I could still hear him laughing as I hung up. Without saying a word, Frankie took the phone and dialed Ashley. He knows I’m not the best dialer in the world. I think I’ve memorized a number, but when I try to dial it, all the numbers get jumbled up in my brain. I talk to a lot of nice people that way, though.
When we asked her over for the movie, Ashley said she’d love to come. She wasn’t scared a bit. She just had to finish gluing the last fake diamonds on her giraffe costume, and she’d be right up.
If you’re wondering why a giraffe is wearing a diamond necklace, you’ll have to ask Ashley. Hey, if it works for her, it works for me.
We had just hung up the phone when my sister, Emily, came stomping into the kitchen. She had green cardboard patches hanging all over her body.
“I give up!” She seemed ready to burst out crying. “My bony plate is coming loose again.”
The kitchen door swung open, and my mom came running in after her. She was carrying a glue gun.
“Come here, Emily,” she said. “I can fix your costume if you give me a minute.”
“What are you supposed to be?” I asked Emily.
“Can’t you tell? I am a Komodo dragon, which, in case you don’t know, lives only in Indonesia.”
“Are you going to move there once Halloween is over?” I shot back.
“I heard that, Hank,” my dad said, joining us in the kitchen. “Don’t tease Emily. Halloween is supposed to be fun. Be nice to each other.”
“No problem, Dad,” I said. Then, putting on my best smile, I said to Emily, “How wonderful that you won’t need to wear a mask because you already look like a dragon.”