It's October, and you know what that means . . . well, sure, Halloween, but it's also Max's birthday! Now that a bunch of ghosts have entered Max's life, no birthday celebration will ever be the same! All Max wants for his birthday is a great party-but will he live to see another new year?
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Delacorte Books for Young Readers
July 10, 2005
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Excerpt from Let's Get This Party Haunted! by R. L. Stine
11 At dinner that night, Mom was very upset. She told Dad the whole story. “The principal called me this afternoon. Max told a teacher to shut up. And he tossed clay all over the art room.” Dad’s face turned even redder than usual. Steam started to pour from his ears. He gripped his fork and knife in his big, meaty fists. “In trouble again? Why did you do that, Max?” “Hard to explain,” I muttered. The dragon tattoo on Dad’s right bicep appeared to lower its fiery head and stare at me. “Why can’t you be more like Colin?” Dad growled. “Is that asking too much? Colin is perfect. Why can’t you be perfect?” “I don’t know,” I whispered, head down. Colin kicked me hard under the table. Then, grinning, he pulled out a sheet of paper. “Here is my new honor roll certificate,” he told Dad. “Would you like to get it framed like all the others?” I was grounded for a week. I didn’t see Nicky or Tara the whole time. I knew they were angry at me. Angry because I’d told them to stay away from my birthday party. But I didn’t expect them to totally disappear. A week after the pottery room incident, Quentin came over to practice magic tricks. My party was only a few days away. I wanted to rehearse and rehearse until our act was perfect. After all, Traci Wayne was coming. I wasn’t allowed to get near her. But this was my big chance to impress her. “Let me show you a hat trick that everyone loves,” Quentin said. “Do you have a real hat I could use?” I rubbed my chin, thinking hard. “No. I only have baseball caps,” I said. “Oh, wait. My dad has a really good hat he uses for weddings and funerals and things.” “Go get it,” Quentin said. “You’ll like this trick.” I hesitated. “But it’s my dad’s only hat, and it’s very expensive. You have to be very careful.” “No problem,” Quentin said. “The trick is perfectly safe. I’ve done it a thousand times.” I went down to my parents’ bedroom closet to borrow Dad’s hat. He and Mom were in the den, watching wrestling on TV. They were both shouting at the screen: “Kill him! Kill! Kill! Break him in two!” They both love wrestling. But sometimes they get carried away. Last week after a big match, Mom jumped on Dad and started slapping his bald head with both hands. He had to pick her up and carry her into the shower to snap her out of it. I pulled Dad’s hat down from the top shelf. And I also borrowed one of his neckties. He only has three, but I don’t think I’ve ever seen him wear one. I had learned a nifty new necktie trick that I knew Quentin would love. “Kill! Kill! Ruin him!” My parents’ shouts rang out from the den. Back in my room, I handed Quentin the hat. “What’s the trick?” I asked. “Will it be good for the party?” He nodded. He pulled a few things from his magic kit. He held up two eggs. “I crack these two eggs into the hat,” he said. “Then I pour in this jar of honey. Then I turn the hat right side up, and it’s perfectly dry.” I gulped. “Are you sure about this?” “Of course I’m sure,” Quentin said. “It’s an easy trick. Watch.” He pushed his blond hair off his forehead. Then he cracked the