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"Mary-Kate? Ashley? Want to see something really creepy inside my backpack?" my friend Patty O'Leary asked.
Patty turned in her bus seat and opened the zipper on her pack a tiny bit.
"What do you think?" I asked my twin sister, Ashley. "Should we look?"
Ashley grinned. "It's only three days till Halloween. Why not?"
"What about you, Rachel?" Patty said to the girl sitting next to her. "Want to see what's inside my backpack? Or are you too chicken?"
Rachel's brown eyes opened wide. She bit her bottom lip.
"I-I'm not chicken," she told Patty.
I tried not to laugh. Everyone in our class knew that Rachel hated monsters and ghosts and hearing creepy stories -- especially around Halloween.
"Okaaaay," Patty said. "But don't say I didn't warn you!" Slowly, Patty unzipped her backpack the rest of the way.
Rachel peered into the opening. "There's nothing in there," she announced.
Ashley and I leaned over Rachel's shoulder. I didn't see anything either.
"It's way at the bottom," Patty whispered. "Look closer."
Rachel dipped her head lower. Her long, black ponytail fell in front of her face.
Then Eric Kramer reached over from his seat across the aisle. He jabbed his finger into Rachel's side. "Boo!" he shouted out.
"Yaaaaaaah!" Rachel let out a scream.
Patty and Eric laughed like crazy.
"We scared Rachel again!" Patty cried. Eric slapped Patty a high five. "That's the second time this afternoon!"
"I still can't believe we scared her with that stupid Jell-O she brought to the class Halloween party today." Patty laughed. "I mean, who gets scared bygrape Jell-O?"
"Why don't you two just leave Rachel alone?" I said. "It could happen to anybody!" Well, maybe it couldn't, but Princess Patty and Eric didn't have to embarrass Rachel that way.
Rachel's face turned a deep red -- almost as red as Patty's hair. Then she gave me a small smile. "Thanks," she whispered.
I glanced out the bus window. "Hey, everybody, check it out. You can see the top of the Ferris wheel from here!"
Ashley leaned across me. "Excellent! I can't believe it's finally the opening day of the Halloween Carnival."
Lots of kids from our fifth-grade class had volunteered to work at the first-ever Halloween carnival in our town. The carnival was scheduled to open today, Thursday, and run through to Sunday, which was Halloween!
Patty and Eric were in charge of the win-a-goldfish game. Rachel, Ashley, our friend Tim Park, and I were in charge of the ring toss.
We had spent all of yesterday afternoon at the fair grounds, putting the finishing touches on our booths. Now everything was ready to go!
"Our game booth is going to be great," I said. "And it's going to score tons of money for the animals!"
Besides being major fun, the carnival was raising money to help the Furry Friends Animal Shelter.
Tim turned in the seat in front of me. "I practiced my intro for about a million hours last night," he announced. He cleared his throat. "Step right up, ladies and gentlemen, and try your luck at the ring toss! We've got the coolest prizes --"
"No way!" Eric interrupted. "Patty and I have the coolest prizes. At our booth you can win real live goldfish. Right, Patty?"
"That's right," Patty answered. "My dad delivered the goldfish to our booth this morning. He said they were the best prizes anywhere."
Ashley rolled her eyes. I knew what she was thinking. Patty loved to brag. And her dad bought her anything she wanted. That was why we called her Princess Patty.
The bus stopped at the gate to the carnival parking lot. I jumped to my feet. "Let's go! This is our stop!"
We stepped off the bus. And we were greeted with the sound of shouting voices.
"Who's yelling like that?" I asked.
"It's coming from the carnival entrance," Tim added.
"What's happening?" Rachel asked.
"Let's find out!" Ashley said. "Come on!"
We all took off across the parking lot. At the carnival entrance, we found about ten people marching in a circle.
"Stop the Halloween carnival! Stop the Halloween carnival!" the people chanted.
"Huh? Why would anyone want to stop the carnival?" Eric asked me.
I shrugged. I had no idea.
"Hey, you," one of the marchers shouted to us. "Go away! You shouldn't be here!"
I gazed up at the marcher. He was tall, skinny, bald -- and he had a big wet spot on the front of his shirt. He held a giant-size hot dog in his left hand.
"But we're supposed to be here," Tim explained. "We're working at game booths in the carnival."
The man took a bite of his hot dog. A glob of mustard dripped out of the bun and landed on his shoe. Yuck!
"Don't worry, there aren't going to be game booths," the man told us.
"What do you mean?" I asked. "Why not?"
The man folded his arms across his chest. "Because there isn't going to be a Halloween carnival!"
"There isn't going to be a carnival? Says who?" Patty demanded.
The man handed each of us a sheet of paper. "I'm Byron Adams," he said. "That flyer I gave you has all the information you need."
I read the first line on the piece of paper. It said, "Join our fight! Become a member of OOH!"
"OOH?" I asked. "What's that?"
"It's the name of my group," Byron replied. "It stands for Organization Opposed to Halloween."
"What's wrong with Halloween?" Ashley asked.
"Halloween is noisy," Byron said. "It involves a lot of candy, which means a lot of sugar. Sugar is bad for your teeth. Plus it gives children nightmares." He flicked his hot dog toward us ...New Adventures of Mary-Kate & Ashley #31: The Case of the Giggling Ghost. Copyright � by Mary-Kate & Ash Olsen. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.