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Invasion of the Appleheads (Deadtime Stories Series #4)
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Invasion of the Appleheads (Deadtime Stories Series #4)

4.5 4
by Annette Cascone, Gina Cascone

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Another creepy tale for beside the campfire or beneath the covers from "Twisted Sisters" Annette and Gina Cascone's Deadtime Stories—now a hit show on Nickelodeon!

Katie and Andy Lawrence thought moving to a new town—especially one named Appleton—was awful enough. They were wrong. When their parents take them to Appleton's famous apple orchard for


Another creepy tale for beside the campfire or beneath the covers from "Twisted Sisters" Annette and Gina Cascone's Deadtime Stories—now a hit show on Nickelodeon!

Katie and Andy Lawrence thought moving to a new town—especially one named Appleton—was awful enough. They were wrong. When their parents take them to Appleton's famous apple orchard for a haunted hayride, weird things start happening.

The ghouls who haunt the orchard seem spookily real. The kids they see are acting very strangely, like robots or…zombies. Then Mr. and Mrs. Lawrence disappear—and in their place, Katie and Andy find creepy shrunken applehead dolls!
Now Katie and Andy have to find a way to turn their parents back to normal—before it's too late

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

“These titles are shivery fun.” —School Library Journal

“The flowing story line and relatable characters and plot…pack a sweet and sour punch [for] readers who have come to delight in mild horror.” —VOYA

Children's Literature - Mary Thompson
When Katie's family moves to the sleepy town of Appleton, Katie and her brother Andy imagine endless days of boredom. They were very wrong. On the night before Halloween their parents take them to a haunted hayride at the local apple orchard where things get interesting, but not in a good way. According to legend the orchard was once owned by a witch who used a potion to poison the apples and turned all the children into zombies. The ghouls and witches running the orchard are eerily realistic. Their parents, thinking they would finally hit pay dirt with something cool for the kids, do not see what is really happening until it is too late. The kids discover that the witches are using the apple cider to turn the adults into appleheads and the kids into zombies. Katie and Andy must team together, use their wits and find a way to stop the invasion, and save their parents and the town. Cascone offers up a roller coaster ride of spooky fun. There is no need for illustrations with such creepy and grotesquely detailed descriptions of the evil taking over the town. Though the parents are a bit clueless, this approach does allow for the children to solve the mystery unimpeded. The story ends abruptly with the hint of the next disaster looming. So readers, on their own, can imagine what comes next. This book is part of the "Deadtime Stories" series, but each installment stands alone with unique characters. Reviewer: Mary Thompson
School Library Journal
Gr 2–5—Two more titles in a freakishly fun series that's soon to be a live-action television show. In Baskerville, Adam Riley and his friends blow off J. J. Leeds's invitation to his elephant-themed birthday party for "Tent Night," when all the neighborhood kids pitch tents in their backyards, then ditch them and hang out after their parents fall asleep. The night doesn't go quite as planned, however, when the kids start disappearing. It seems that the rumored Beast of Baskerville might not be a rumor after all. In Appleheads, Katie and Andy Lawrence, new in town, are anxious to explore the Appleton apple orchard, where, according to local legend, an angry witch turned the town's children into zombies 300 years ago by tainting their apples. The family is greeted by the witchy Yaga and led on a hayride driven by a suspiciously realistic scarecrow. The ride turns into more than they'd paid for when their parents disappear and the apple-picking kids they'd recognized from town seem oddly…zombielike. The siblings soon discover that Appleton's adults have all been turned into shrunken applehead dolls, and it's up to them, with help from the local library, to figure out how to break the witch's spell. Not for the squeamish, but filled with enough humor to ease the scarier moments, the books promise plenty of flashlight reading and slumber-party retellings. Both fast-paced and perfectly spooky, they do well in filling a horror-story gap for fans of Marcia Thornton Jones's "Bailey School Kids" (Scholastic) and R. L. Stein's "Goosebumps" series (Scholastic).—Joanna Sondheim, Columbia Grammar & Preparatory School, New York City

Product Details

Tom Doherty Associates
Publication date:
Deadtime Stories Series , #4
Edition description:
First Edition
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
5.40(w) x 8.20(h) x 0.70(d)
Age Range:
8 - 12 Years

Read an Excerpt

Katie Lawrence was sure the torture would never end. She had to struggle to hold back the scream in her throat. Because she knew that if she screamed, things would only get worse.
That is, if things could get worse.
“Isn’t this fun, kids?” Katie’s mother asked cheerily.
No! Katie wanted to yell at the top of her lungs. This is not fun! This is the worst possible way to spend a day!
It was a beautiful, sunny Sunday. It was also the day before Halloween. That’s what made things really bad.
Katie wanted to be home putting the finishing touches on her Halloween costume and getting ready for the big parade. The Halloween parade was the biggest event in Appleton. All of the kids in Katie’s school were excited about it.
Katie was excited about it, too, especially since she’d been invited to a party by Christine Baker, the most popular girl in her class. Starting the fifth grade in a new school had been hard enough, but making new friends had been even harder.
Unfortunately, Katie wasn’t at home right now working on her Halloween costume. Because Katie was crammed into the backseat of the car with her eleven-year-old brother, Andy, who didn’t want to be driving around Appleton any more than she did. All because their parents had insisted they spend the day together visiting the town’s historical sights.
“Are we going to stop soon?” Andy moaned.
“Yes,” Mrs. Lawrence answered. “We’re almost there.”
“Almost where?” Katie whispered to her brother. “What stupid thing are we going to have to look at next?”
“Probably the biggest rock in Appleton,” Andy whispered back.
They both snickered.
Katie and her family had moved to Appleton just a few months before. They used to live in the city, but Katie’s parents had decided that a small town would be a much better place for them to grow up.
Appleton was a small town. It was a small creepy town, in Katie’s opinion. It had been founded in the 1600s, and most of it still looked four hundred years old. Even the neighborhood Katie and her family lived in looked like a page from a history book.
Traveling through Appleton was like driving through a time warp. Except for the mall, there was nothing modern-looking at all.
Katie hated it.
But her parents adored it. They thought Appleton was the greatest place in the universe.
The morning before, Katie’s mother had picked up a little guidebook at the library that told about all the historical sights in their new town. Before the day was over, they were going to visit every single one of them.
“I can’t believe we spent twenty minutes looking at a stupid piece of cement,” Katie complained to Andy.
Even though Katie had whispered, her mother heard her. “What piece of cement?” she asked.
“The one that said ‘George Washington crossed here,’” Katie answered. “What was so interesting about that?”
“That was very interesting,” Mr. Lawrence answered. “It was the route that Washington took on his way to an important battle of the Revolution,” he started to explain. “He—”
“I know. I know.” Katie stopped her father. She couldn’t stand to hear the story again. History was just about her least favorite subject in the world.
“So what are we going to see next?” Andy asked, sounding as impatient as Katie felt.
“The next stop is the Appleton Orchard,” Mrs. Lawrence said, checking the guidebook.
Katie and Andy rolled their eyes.
“Do you want to hear what the guidebook says about it?” their mother asked.
“Nooooooo!” Katie and Andy answered at the same time.
“Of course we do,” Mr. Lawrence said, shooting Katie and Andy a scolding look over his shoulder.
“I think you kids are really going to like this,” their mother told them.
She’d been promising that all day. It hadn’t been true yet.
“‘The Appleton Orchard was originally owned by a woman who was accused of being a witch,’” Mrs. Lawrence read.
“Sounds pretty spooky, kids,” Mr. Lawrence chimed in, trying to stir up their interest.
“Listen to this.” Their mother continued to read. “‘The townspeople believed that the witch was putting some kind of magic potion into her apples, a potion that turned all the children of Appleton into zombies. On Halloween Night, three hundred years ago, the angry parents burned the orchard to the ground.’”
“Pretty cool!” Andy said.
Katie agreed the story was cool, but she still wasn’t sure about going there. “If the orchard was burned to the ground, what is there to see?” she pointed out.
“The book says that the witch’s house is still standing,” her mother told her. “It’s the oldest house in Appleton. And it wasn’t even damaged in the fire.”
Who wanted to see another stupid old house? Katie slumped against the car door. Things had gotten worse.
“Look at that,” Mr. Lawrence said a second later as the orchard came into view.
A banner stretched across the road. It read WELCOME TO APPLETON ORCHARD.
There were hand-painted signs posted every few feet. Free Candy Apples! Free Apple Cider! Free Haunted Hayrides!
“I thought this place was supposed to be deserted,” Katie said.
“Well, it certainly looks full of life today,” her father replied as he drove toward the huge iron gates that led into the orchard. “Maybe someone has taken over the place. This looks like some kind of grand-opening celebration.”
“That’s funny,” Mrs. Lawrence chimed in. “I didn’t see anything about it in the paper this morning. If I had, we could have skipped the sightseeing tour and spent the day here.”
Katie shot her brother a look. Too bad there hadn’t been anything in the paper. The orchard sounded a little more interesting than anything else they’d seen so far. Maybe they could have been spared a whole day of torture.
“Well, we’re here now,” Mr. Lawrence said, turning through the gates. “And we’ve still got a couple of good hours before it gets dark.”
As they entered the grounds, Katie felt something strange. Something that made her shiver. It was as if she’d passed through some kind of invisible wall, or like diving into a pool and breaking through the surface of the water. And it happened just as quickly.
Strangely, outside the gates, the trees were turning colors and losing their leaves, but inside the gates, the apple trees were at their prime—green and loaded with fruit.
Katie turned around in her seat to look back at the gates.
Something else was wrong. But it took Katie a minute to figure out what it was.
Outside the gates, where the leaves on the trees were dying, it was a beautiful, sunny day. But inside the gates, where everything flourished, it was dark and dreary.
Katie shivered again. “Creepy,” she said, talking to herself.
“What’s creepy?” her mother asked.
“The trees,” Katie answered. “How come they’ve still got apples?”
“Maybe the apple season is longer out here in the country,” her mother said.
“But look how dark it is in here,” Katie pointed out.
Her father laughed. “Of course it’s dark,” he said. “We’re in the shadow of all these trees.”
Katie caught a glimpse of the sky above the trees. It was steely gray, with no sunshine at all.
But before Katie could point that out to her family, the words stuck in her throat as a hideous creature stepped out from between the apple trees that lined the drive. Its head was swollen, and the green, putrid skin that covered its face was rotting right off its skull. Bloodshot eyeballs hung from their sockets. And a blood-covered ax stuck out of its chest.
Look!” Mrs. Lawrence exclaimed as another grotesque creature appeared ahead of them. “Everyone is dressed up for Halloween!”
Katie took a good look at the creature with the ax in its chest. If that was a costume, it was very, very good.
“This is excellent!” Andy said. “I definitely want to go on the haunted hayride.”
“Didn’t I tell you this would be fun?” Mrs. Lawrence said.
They pulled into the parking lot under a giant old shade tree where several other cars were already parked. But there were no other people in the parking lot, just the biggest, creepiest-looking scarecrow on a pole that Katie had ever seen.
Its head was the size of a basketball, and it was covered with a dirty white sheet that was tied around its neck with a thick, heavy rope dangling to the ground like a leash. Its face was painted onto the sheet.
The second her father parked the car, the creature started to move!
Katie let out a loud, startled cry.
So did her mother.
“It’s all right,” Katie’s father assured them. “It’s just someone dressed up in a Halloween costume.”
The giant creature climbed down from its pole and started clomping its way toward them, flailing its arms and moaning. It looked like Frankenstein’s monster dressed up as a scarecrow.
No one made a move to get out of the car.
“If he’s trying to scare us away, he’s doing a pretty good job,” Katie’s mother said nervously.
The scarecrow fell onto the hood of the car, moaning and groaning even louder than before.
“Let’s get out of here!” Katie cried.
But it was too late.
Within seconds, the car was surrounded by cackling witches and blood-covered ghouls.
And Katie had the horrible feeling that they weren’t just people in Halloween costumes.

Copyright © 2012 by Annette Cascone and Gina Cascone

Meet the Author

"Twisted Sisters" ANNETTE and GINA CASCONE have written more than twenty-eight books and two movies, including the successful Deadtime Stories series, which is the basis for the live-action TV show on Nickelodeon. The sisters live in Central New Jersey.

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Invasion of the Appleheads 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 4 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Short but epic
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Fun book loved the show though
Anonymous More than 1 year ago