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The Best Halloween Ever

The Best Halloween Ever

4.2 24
by Barbara Robinson

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The Herdmans plus Halloween have always spelled disaster

Every Halloween, the six Herdman kids steal candy, spray-paint other kids, and take everything that isn't nailed down. And this year promises to be the same, until the Mayor decides to up and cancel Halloween. True, that means there'd be no Herdman trouble to contend with, but that also


The Herdmans plus Halloween have always spelled disaster

Every Halloween, the six Herdman kids steal candy, spray-paint other kids, and take everything that isn't nailed down. And this year promises to be the same, until the Mayor decides to up and cancel Halloween. True, that means there'd be no Herdman trouble to contend with, but that also means no candy, no costumes, and no trick-or-treating! Is it possible that the Herdmans themselves could make what looks like a horrible Halloween into the best one ever?

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Fans of Robinson's previous tales about the Herdman family (The Best Christmas Pageant Ever; The Best School Year Ever) may be disappointed in this latest installment mostly because the six hellions are absent for the majority of the novel. Of course, this is the point: the mayor, the principal and the parents of the students at Woodrow Wilson School unite in a citywide effort for a "Herdman-free Halloween." The mayor banishes candy from the stores and trick-or-treating on the streets, in favor of a school bash on October 31 that, in narrator Beth Bradley's words, more resembles "Back-to-School Night." The six siblings that wreaked havoc on the town and its citizens in books past also supplied the narratives' main source of energy and humor, and without them, Beth, her brother, Charlie, and their classmates seem to be simply waiting for the other shoe to drop. As they (and readers) anticipate the events of the final chapters to see what the Herdmans have in store, the book reads like one big build-up, and the holiday itself is, unfortunately, an anticlimax. Ages 8-up. (Aug.) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Children's Literature
The author's The Best Christmas Pageant Ever is a wonderful, touching and hilarious book. This attempt to capitalize on that success falls far short of the mark. The wild, unruly Herdman children always cause trouble on Halloween, so this year, by decree of Principal Crabtree, there is to be no trick or treating, but rather a party at the school. The Herdmans say that they will not come to a school party, but, of course, they do. The story plods along, and ends up being boring—probably the result of rather undeveloped characters. If I had not read the first book, I would not have known who the children were or why they were in the situation they were. The Herdman children themselves do not appear much in the action; instead, there is a lot of talk about them. In the end, the Herdman prank provides the much-wished-for candy—albeit stale—for all of the children, and Principal Crabtree is foiled. 2004, HarperCollins, Ages 8 to 12.
—Kathy Egner, Ph.D.
School Library Journal
Gr 3-5-The Herdmans are back and still causing havoc. This large family of ruffians has terrorized the community in the past by turning on the sprinklers and nearly drowning all the turkeys, spray painting kids, stealing cakes, and making kids buy back their own candy. This time, in an effort to avoid the inevitable Herdman-induced chaos of the Halloween activities, Principal Crabtree proposes that the celebration be held at the school, under the watchful eyes of parents and teachers. The kids are bummed because it will be a trick-or-treatless night, and they would rather face the Herdmans on the street than miss the candy. However, the Herdmans manage to turn the event into a disaster for the adults, and the best Halloween ever for the children. The writing is fast paced and funny, and the plot takes some unexpected if not entirely believable twists; for example, a trap door in the teachers' lounge leads to a boiler room filled with holiday candy stolen and stashed by the Herdmans over the years. This book will have a wide readership, particularly with fans of Robinson's The Best Christmas Pageant Ever (1972) and The Best School Year Ever (1994, both HarperCollins).-Lee Bock, Glenbrook Elementary School, Pulaski, WI Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.

Product Details

HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
Edition description:
Product dimensions:
5.37(w) x 8.00(h) x 0.60(d)
890L (what's this?)
Age Range:
8 - 11 Years

Read an Excerpt

The Best Halloween Ever

Chapter One

It was the principal's idea, but it was the Herdmans' fault, according to my mother.

"Don't blame Mr. Crabtree," she said. "It wasn't Mr. Crabtree who piled eight kids into the revolving door at the bank. It wasn't Mr. Crabtree who put the guppies on the pizza. It was one of the Herdmans, or some of the Herdmans, or all of the Herdmans . . . so if there's no Halloween this year, it's their fault!"

Of course the Herdmans couldn't cancel Halloween everywhere. That's what I told my little brother, Charlie. Charlie kept saying, "I can't believe this!"—as if it was unusual for the Herdmans to mess things up for everybody else.

It wasn't unusual. There were six Herdmans -- Ralph, Imogene, Leroy, Claude, Ollie, and Gladys -- plus their crazy cat, which was missing one eye and half its tail and most of its fur and any good nature it ever had. It bit the mailman and it bit the Avon lady, and after that it had to be kept on a chain, which is what most people wanted to do with the Herdmans.

I used to wonder why their mother didn't do that with them, but, after all, there weresix of them and only one of her. She didn't hang around the house much anyway, and you couldn't really blame her -- even my mother said you couldn't really blame her.

They lived over a garage at the bottom of Sproul Hill and their yard was full of what-ever used to be in the garage -- old tires and rusty tools and broken-down bicycles and the trunk of a car (no car, just the trunk) -- and I guess the neighbors would have complained about the mess except that all the neighbors had moved somewhere else.

"Lucky for them!" Charlie grumbled. "They don't have to go to school with Leroy like I do." Like we all do, actually. The Herdmans were spread out through Woodrow Wilson School, one to each grade, and I guess if there had been any more of them they would have wiped out the school and everybody in it.

As it was they'd wiped out Flag Day when they stole the flag, and Arbor Day when they stole the tree. They had ruined fire drills and school assemblies and PTA bake sales, and they let all the kindergarten mice out of their cage and then filled up the cage with guinea pigs.

The whole kindergarten got hysterical about this. Some kids thought the guinea pigs ate their mice. Some kids thought the guinea pigs were their mice, grown gigantic overnight. They were all scared and sobbing and hiccuping, and the janitor had to come and remove the guinea pigs.

All the mice got away, so I guess if you were a mouse you would be crazy about the Herdmans. I don't know whether mice get together and one of them says, "How was your day?" -- but if that happens, these mice would say, "Terrific!"

"So was that it, Beth?" Charlie asked me. "The mice and the guinea pigs? Was that, like, the last straw, and then everybody said, 'All right, that's it, the last straw . . . no Halloween'? Was that it?"

"I don't think so," I said. "I think it was everything else."

There had been a lot of everything else because Labor Day was late, so school started late. Parents had an extra week to buy their kids school shoes and get their hair cut; kids had an extra week to finish the fort or tree house or bike trail or whatever else they'd been building since June; and teachers had an extra week to pray they wouldn't have any Herdmans, I guess.... And of course the Herdmans had an extra week, too, to tear up whatever they'd missed during the summer.

That turned out to be a lot and, as usual with the Herdmans, it wasn't always things you would expect them to do.

The police guard at the bank said that he had seen them come in. "Can't miss them!" he said. "So I went right over and stood by the big fish tank. I figure, if I see a bank robber coming I'll defend the money, but if I see those kids coming I'll defend the fish." He shook his head and sighed.

"Didn't occur to me to hang around the revolving door."

Nobody got hurt and everybody got out all right, but they had to call the fire department to take the door apart, and they had to close the bank till they got the door back up.

The fire chief said he never saw anything like it. "Two kids," he said, "maybe even three kids might go in that door at the same time to see what would happen, but this was eight kids! What you had was one section of a revolving door full of kids. Couldn't move the door forward, couldn't move it back, had to take it down... unless, well, you couldn't just leave them in there."

This was supposed to be a joke, but most people thought it would have been a great opportunity to shut the Herdmans up somewhere, even in a revolving door.

It would have been a great opportunity, except that by then it wasn't Herdmans in the door. It was eight different kids, including Charlie.

"Why?" my father asked him. "Why would you follow the Herdmans anywhere, let alone into a revolving door?"

Charlie shrugged and looked up at the ceiling and down at the floor and finally said he didn't know. "It was just that they were all around," he went on. "There were Herdmans in front of us and Herdmans in back of us, and then Ralph said, 'Let's see how many kids will fit in the door,' and so . . . " He shrugged again.

The bank manager was mad because of his door, and the bank guard was mad because he picked the wrong thing to guard, but nobody blamed him. How could he know what the Herdmans were going to do? Most of the time, I don't think even the Herdmans knew what they were going to do.

The Best Halloween Ever. Copyright © by Barbara Robinson. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

Meet the Author

Barbara Robinson has written several popular books for children, including My Brother Louis Measures Worms, The Best School Year Ever, The Best Halloween Ever, and the enormously popular bestselling novel The Best Christmas Pageant Ever, first published in 1972, which was made into a classic TV movie and on which this book was based. The play The Best Christmas Pageant Ever is produced annually in theaters, schools, and churches all over the world. Ms. Robinson has two daughters and three grandchildren.

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Best Halloween Ever 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 24 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The Herdman are who make the story soooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo hilarious and make u laugh you head off!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I love this book. It is very funny.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Really funny awsome book! Try the Christmas book. It's even funnier! :)
donna turner More than 1 year ago
It was so good. I really enjoyed it!
Audrey Salgado More than 1 year ago
this book is so cool.omg.i love it,the herdmans.it is great
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The Best Halloween Ever By Barbara Robinson The Best Halloween Ever is a fiction book for all ages. The main characters are the Hermans, the Herdmans go to Woodrow Wilson School, and get into a bit of a mess. The Herdmans love taking candy from kids on Halloween so, Woodrow Wilson School decided no Halloween this year. Maybe the Herdmans will learn there lesson in the end of the book? Mr. Crabtree Woodrow Wilson School principle decided to cancel Halloween because of the Hermans taking kids candy, spray painting them, and taking anything that's not nailed down. "But they can't just cancel Halloween" everyone said. So, the mayor decided to have a little Halloween party at Woodrow Wilson School. "Should I go? Will it be a disaster? Will the Herdmans show up? What should I do?" Everyone pondered about. Do you think the Herdmans will show up? The Best Halloween Ever takes place in Woodrow Wilson School in America in the present. I wasn't fascinated with the story because it wasn't very descriptive. The book was written in 1st person and they didn't tell me their name. I connected to this book because the students in this book love Halloween, and I love Halloween too. Another way I connected to this book was if I was in the students place I would be wondering what would happen at the Halloweens party. Another book I have read is twelve, and it relates to this book because it tells you how students struggle through school. Well, I'm not going to tell you much more about this book. You'll have to find out what happens at the end for yourself.
Guest More than 1 year ago
No tricks only an enormous treat in this performance by acclaimed Broadway actress Elaine Stritch. She of the gravely voice who won a Tony for her one woman show, and is also a four-time Tony nominee. Look out, it's almost Halloween and the Herdmans (a family of six rowdy, trouble making kids) are on everyone's minds. They've created such chaos in the past that this year the mayor's going to totally erase Halloween from the city calendar and the principal of Woodrow Wilson School has decided that they'll have a celebration at, of all places, the school. Who can have fun surrounded by parents and teachers? Not to worry the Herdmans aren't easily foiled. They outwit the adults and show the kids 'The Best Halloween Ever.' The fun is in hearing Elaine Stritch telling how it was done. Youngsters in grades 3-5 will love this. - Gail Cooke
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Amazind and awesomiy e
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This was the best book EVER
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Blah Blah Blah is this book woth my mony i have a nook but its brook this is my moms I LOVE houlseva but it is not too be made fun or the supernacherl will seen and destor you will be draged intoo the vamps den ooooooooooooohhhhhhhhhh
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Is this book worth the money?
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Guest More than 1 year ago
It's near Halloween as you can see by the date and I got this book out from my library. This book is awesome!!! It is very detailed. I loved it. This is a great read for kids near Halloween.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The best book ever in the world !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!yay yay yay yaya !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Like it