Let's Get This Party Haunted!

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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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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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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature
Any book with R. L. Stine's name on it is guaranteed to sell, which perhaps explains this forgettable story, the slim sixth title in Stine's "Mostly Ghostly" series. While not as gory as some of the books in his more famous "Fear Street" or "Goosebumps" series, this tale is not terribly scary, either. It is the depressing story of Max, whose efforts to entertain his classmates at an embarrassing birthday party backfire spectacularly. Max's ghostly friends Nicky and Tara—continuing characters in the "Mostly Ghostly" saga—are peripheral to this tale. That is a shame, because Max cannot carry the book on his own without some uncomfortable and unconvincing plot twists. Even with plenty of humor and a certain amount of suspense, the least discriminating young reader should be disappointed by the slapdash resolution of this story. However, to keep those young readers coming back for more, the opening chapter from the next title in the series is included as a teaser at the end of the book. 2005, Delacorte/Random House, Ages 7 to 10.
—Michele Tremaine
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780385746939
  • Publisher: Random House Children's Books
  • Publication date: 7/12/2005
  • Series: Mostly Ghostly Series , #6
  • Pages: 144
  • Age range: 8 - 12 Years
  • Lexile: 480L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 5.56 (w) x 7.93 (h) x 0.61 (d)

Meet the Author

R. L. Stine
R. L. Stine began his writing career when he was nine years old, and today he has achieved the position of the bestselling children’s author in history. In the early 1990s, Stine was catapulted to fame when he wrote the unprecedented bestselling Goosebumps® series, which sold more than 250 million copies and became a worldwide media phenomenon.

R.L. Stine has received numerous awards of recognition. He lives in New York, NY.


Goosebumps cast a spell upon children by transforming even the most reluctant students into avid readers. Despite the fact that almost every book has a different collection of characters, the series has one common element that kids can't get enough of: the author!

However believable his plots seem to his readers, Stine insists he has never lived one of his stories. "I've never turned into a bee -- I've never been chased by a mummy or met a ghost. But many of the ideas in my books are suggested by real life. For example, one Halloween my son, Matt, put a mask on and then had trouble pulling it off. That gave me the idea for The Haunted Mask."

Although he never experienced terror first hand, he did enjoy reading about it. "When I was a kid, there were these great comic books called Tales From The Crypt and The Vault of Horror. They were gruesome. I discovered them in the barbershop and thought they were fabulous. I used to get a haircut every Saturday so I wouldn't miss any of these comic books. I had no hair at all when I was a kid!"

His ideas came from two sources: his memory and his imagination. "When I write, I try to think back to what I was afraid of or what was scary to me, and try to put those feelings into books." He also keeps a tribal mask and a skeleton hanging in his writing studio to provide eerie surroundings. Although he handles the writing by himself, Stine says he gets "lots of help from my editors, my readers, and my friends."

Kids reading Goosebumps may be looking for a scare, but the laughs they get are no accident. Before he was R. L., he was Jovial Bob, author of such works as 101 Silly Monster Jokes, and Bozos on Patrol and editor of Bananas magazine. His ability to know what kids will laugh at , as well as what will frighten them, makes the Goosebumps series all the more enjoyable for his readers.

Stine started writing when he was 9 years old! He would write stories and jokes on an old typewriter and hand them out at school. "The teacher would grab them and take them away," Stine says, "but I kept doing it." He wrote for his high school newspaper in Columbus Ohio. After graduating from Ohio State University, he moved to New York City, where he worked on a variety of writing jobs.

Although his books are fun and exciting, writing them is serious stuff. He treats writing "...like a job." To unwind after work he enjoys playing the pinball machine conveniently located in his own apartment.

For aspiring authors, Stine feels reading is as important as writing. He offers this advice: "If you want to be a writer, don't worry so much about writing. Read as much as you can. Read as many different writers as you can. Soak up the styles. You can learn all kinds of ways to say things." As a boy he read Norse legends, Greek myths, Edgar Allan Poe and baseball stories. "And Mad Magazine changed my life." Author biography courtesy of Scholastic, Inc.

Good To Know

In our interview with Stine, he shared some fun and fascinating facts with us:

"My first job in New York was making up fake interviews with movie and TV stars for a group of six movie magazines. I never spoke to the stars I wrote about. I wrote three-to-four "interviews" a day, all out of my imagination."

"'I've written over 300 books but I never learned to type. I use only one finger, the pointer on my left hand -- that's all. Three hundred books on one finger! The finger is very ugly now -- completely bent and curled and callused. When I show it to audiences, they can't believe it! This is my sacrifice for my art!"

"Sometimes kids show up at my country house and ask if my son Matt can come out and play. That's because they saw him mentioned in the back of my books. But they're very disappointed when he comes to the door -- because Matt is in his mid-twenties now! They were reading very old books! Matt is a musician, composer, and sound designer. You can hear his music at my web site, www.rlstine.com."

"I hope my readers get a chance to see my 4-D movie, R. L. Stine's Haunted Lighthouse. The movie stars Christopher Lloyd, Michael McKean, Lea Thompson, Weird Al, and others. You can find it playing at four parks: SeaWorld San Antonio, SeaWorld San Diego, Busch Gardens Tampa, and Busch Gardens Williamsburg, Virginia. Watch out -- you might get very wet!"

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    1. Also Known As:
      Robert Lawrence Stine; Jovial Bob Stine
    2. Hometown:
      New York, New York
    1. Date of Birth:
      October 8, 1943
    2. Place of Birth:
      Columbus, Ohio
    1. Education:
      B.A., Ohio State University, 1965
    2. Website:

Read an Excerpt


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 two eggs and let them run into the hat. Then he opened the honey jar and turned it upside down, and the honey slowly oozed into the hat with the egg yolks.

“Say the magic words!” Quentin cried. “Hat be good!” He turned the hat over–and honey and yellow egg yolk came dripping out.

“You–you ruined my dad’s hat!” I wailed.

Quentin squinted at the sticky mess inside the hat. “I don’t get it. That trick always works.”

My heart started leaping in my chest. I shoved the hat under my bed. Later I’d have to figure out a good hiding place for it.

“What’s up with the necktie?” Quentin asked, picking up the tie and pulling it through his fingers.

“Here’s a good trick for the party,” I said. “And this one is totally safe.”

I took the tie from him and picked up a pair of scissors. “See? I make it look like I cut the tie into four pieces. But I don’t really cut it. I cut this piece of cloth instead.”

I pulled the cloth from my magic kit and tucked it under the tie. “Now watch,” I said. “It looks like I’ve cut the tie up. But when I tug on it, it’s all together again.”

“Cool,” Quentin muttered.

“Ladies and gentlemen,” I boomed, holding the tie in front of me. “The Amazing Indestructible Necktie!”

I snipped it into four pieces. I balled the pieces up in my hand. And then I gave a hard tug. “Back together again!” I exclaimed.


I’d sliced my dad’s tie into four pieces.

“Oh, wow.” I stared at the pieces of tie in my hand.

Then I pictured my dad, as big as a truck, a bellowing bull when he was angry. When he saw what I’d done to his hat and tie, he’d . . . he’d . . .

I couldn’t even think about it.

Trembling, I shoved the pieces of necktie under my bed next to the hat.

Quentin tried a few easy card tricks. The cards fell from his hands and scattered over the floor.

He tried the trick where he waves his magic wand and it turns into a bouquet of flowers. It didn’t work. The wand broke in two.

He shook his head. “Max, everything is messed up tonight. I can’t figure out why.”

I could.

I knew what was happening. Nicky and Tara were messing up our tricks.

I gritted my teeth and balled my hands into fists. I felt so angry, I wanted to scream.

But no way could I tell Quentin about them.

Nicky and Tara were angry because they couldn’t come to my party. So they were doing their best to mess up our magic act.

We tried a few more easy tricks, and they were ruined too. “It just isn’t our night,” Quentin said. “Maybe we should try again tomorrow night.”

He left, shaking his head, very confused.

As soon as he was out the door, my two ghost friends appeared. “How’s it going, Max?” Tara asked, grinning at me.

“You know how it’s going,” I snapped.

“Did you have a bad night?” Nicky asked, acting innocent.

I realized I was grinding my teeth. I’d never been so angry at them. “You have no right to do that,” I shouted. “You have no right to ruin all our tricks.”

“I’ll bet your tricks will go a lot better if you invite us to your party,” Tara said.

“For sure,” Nicky chimed in. “Invite us to your birthday party, and we’ll be your best friends again.”

“No way!” I cried. “You’re not my best friends. And stop begging me. No way are you coming to my party!”

They both put on these really hurt faces. Tara pulled off her hat, tossed it on the floor, and started stomping on it.

I turned away from them and walked to the window. I took deep breaths, trying to calm down. I didn’t like being angry at them. They were two poor young ghosts, after all. They probably wouldn’t have any more birthdays–because they were dead.

But messing up our magic tricks like that was just plain mean.

I gazed out the window, pressing my forehead against the cool glass. A few stars twinkled dimly in the night sky. I lowered my eyes–and gasped when I saw the boy in black staring up at me. He stood at the side of my yard, leaning against a tree trunk.

I pulled up the window, stuck my head out, and shouted down at him. “Go away! I’m warning you! Go away!”

He took a few steps closer to the house. Light from the kitchen downstairs washed over him, and I saw his face. An old man’s face, lined and wrinkled and sagging.

He cupped his hands around his mouth and called up to me. “Be careful!”

Gripping the windowsill, I stared down at his ancient face, at his pale, sunken eyes. “What do you want?” I screamed. “Why are you doing this?”

“Be careful,” he repeated in a breathy rasp of a voice. “They are going to kill you. The ghosts are going to kill you!”

A chill ran down my back. I stepped away from the window. Shivering, I turned to Nicky and Tara.

“What did he mean?” I asked. “Why did he say that? Why did he say you are going to kill me?”

I saw the shock on Nicky’s and Tara’s faces.

And then they disappeared.

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    I just love his books the words make you just picture the happenings in your head From Lindsay Pegg age 11

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