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Item - Haunted Halloween Party


Series: Choose Your Own Adventure for Younger Readers — no. 37
Translated Into: Une fĂȘte d'Halloween fantastique (French)
Spuk in der Halloween-Nacht (German)
Author: Saunders, Susan
Illustrator: Wing, Ron
Date: October, 1986
ISBN: 0553154532 / 9780553154535
Length: 54 pages
Number of Endings: 9
User Summary: You accidentally go to the wrong Halloween party - one full of real ghosts and goblins.
Demian's Thoughts: I always loved Halloween, so I have a soft spot for stories relating to it. This book definitely hits the right nostalgic note, so I can't help liking it.

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KenJenningsJeopardy74's Thoughts: Certain story ideas lend themselves well to the gamebook structure, and a Halloween party at a spooky mansion is one such idea. On Halloween night, you and your older sister Nancy go to a party at the Brill mansion, which has been abandoned for years. You are dressed as a blue piglike space alien and Nancy as a traditional witch as you wave goodbye to your father in his car and walk up the hill toward the Brill mansion. The night may have turned out perfectly normal if you and Nancy hadn't taken a shortcut through the bushes, but you arrive at and enter the house ahead of her and are shocked to see a different kind of party than you expected. The skeletons, witches, and goblins aren't costumed kids; they're real, and are carrying on in frightening ways. You glance around frantically for Nancy, but there's more than one witch nearby. Is one of them your sister?

If you reject the idea that any of the witches is her, you'll be taken on a chilling trick-or-treat session by the party's attendees. What trouble can a mob of witches, ghouls, and ghosts stir up on Halloween? You're about to find out. You could try to herd them toward your home and hope your mother sees you're in danger, but is it wise to lead these haunts to your doorstep? They believe you're an alien, but how long can you perpetuate the ruse? Alternatively, you could get them to roam near the Wilsons' house; the Wilsons have a dog, Max, that might attack your paranormal companions. One way or another, you must get away from the monsters surrounding you.

Choosing a witch at the party you believe to be Nancy and revealing yourself to her is risky. If it's a real witch, how will she react to finding out you're human? You could end up on the run with your sister, riding a long tunnel down through the mansion's walls or climbing out a second-floor window to the roof. Is Nancy able to fake flying on a witch's broom long enough to keep attention away from the two of you? In other story paths you might bump into a witch bobbing for toads rather than apples, or sneak into the dark, labyrinthine cellar to limit your exposure to the ghouls and ghosts dancing on the above floor. Beware of jack-o-lanterns that bite, and party guests even on this subterranean level of the house. If the monstrous guests catch up to you, you'll be in for a terrifying Halloween; but if you navigate the cellar passageways correctly, you could find the party you meant to attend at the Brill mansion, and leave this nightmare behind once and for all. Do you have the good judgment and luck to survive your brush with the supernatural?

More so than usual for the Bantam Skylark Choose Your Own Adventure series, the star of Haunted Halloween Party is the illustrator, Ron Wing. He creates much of the eerie atmosphere in the manor you're escaping from, and adds a few outdoor drawings that feature eye-catching use of light. You see some of this in You Are Invisible, another collaboration between Susan Saunders and Ron Wing for this series. Haunted Halloween Party isn't the most evocative gamebook, but I had fun, and I'd like it even more if not for a few abrupt, premature endings. This is a good book to get you into the Halloween spirit.

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