Original Publication Date: 1988
Halloween is coming, and Mary Anne find herself the recipient of a chain letter. She and the BSC dismiss it and she throws it out. But then she receives a bad luck charm that she must wear-or else.
Self-fulfilling prophecy being what it is, bad things start happening: poor test grades, forgotten babysitting job, kids getting into strange mischief. Then, after getting home from the school's Halloween Hop, Mary Anne finds a note instructing the BSC to meet at the cemetery Halloween night. The girls nervously plan to go and see what happens; they're afraid to disregard anything after the chain letter.
Then Mary Anne remembers that Cokie Mason commented on her bad luck charm...but she just learned from her dad that it's just a mustard seed. Cokie sent the charm! The BSC arrives early to the cemetery and sets up an elaborate series of ghost and monster effects. They succeed in terrifying Cokie, Grace, and their friends, all while Logan watches: he was supposed to see Mary Anne get scared and leave her and Cokie and Grace could have a chance.
So, it's all solved. But...who sent the original chain letter? (insert scary music here)
I think this and the second book might be tied for my favorite.
Established or continued in this book:
The Girls (and Logan):
Claudia candy: Tootsie Rolls in her desk drawer
Kristy doesn't like most boys. She and Mary Anne are still the two shortest.
Dawn has been upgraded from "not exactly pretty" to "pretty good-looking."
Mary Anne likes getting the mail. So do I.
Mary Anne isn't sure she knows 20 people (the amount she's supposed to send the chain letter to). So far I've counted 30 in her grade aside from the BSC.
Logan is excellent at keeping secrets.
Mary Anne keeps a trick-or-treater tally, like my mom.
This book is dedicated to the memory Ann M. Martin's Uncle Lyman. Maybe that's how she came up with the name for Logan's dad.
There's some nice continuity with the mentioning of the Rodowsky boys vacuuming their socks.
Sometimes Jessi and Mallory sit together because they're younger. I don't think we ever see that outside of the Pikes.
Ooh, first mention of Grace Blume and Cokie Mason!
SMS staff: Mr. Halprin (janitor)
PSA time: nothing special
Mary Anne, there are worse things than dropping a plate of food in the cafeteria. For example, you could faint in the busy cafeteria at college. Very busy, so there's plenty of people to stare at you when you come to. That's a fun way to wake up.
It was really smart of Dawn to vacuum after Jackie spilled all the sewing notions. It would be very easy to miss a needle while picking it all up.
One of my friends told me that when she sees a face-down penny, she rights it so that someone else can pick it up for good luck.
More Old Man Hickory exposition. I like that there's that running story in the background of these earlier books.
BSC Fights: 3
SMS Staff: 13 (2 6th grade, 3 7th grade, 4 8th grade, 2 elective, 1 vice-principal, 1 secretary)
Students: thirty 8th graders, six sixth-graders
Types of candy in Claudia’s room: 28 (bubble gum, butterscotch candy, a chocolate bar, cookies, Cracker Jacks, crackers, cupcakes, Ding-Dongs, Doritos, gumdrops, Gummi Bears, Hershey's kisses, Ho Hos, jawbreakers, licorice, licorice whips, Lifesavers, peanut M&Ms, regular M&Ms, marshmallows, Oreos (Double Stuf), pretzels, Ring Dings, root beer barrels, salt water taffy, Snickers, Tootsie Pops, Tootsie Rolls, Twinkies)
Crushes: Claudia-3 (Austin Bentley, Timothy Carmody, Trevor Sandbourne), Dawn-1 (Parker Harris), Mary Anne-2 (Alex, Logan Bruno), Stacey-4 (Toby, Pete Black, Scott Foley, Sam Thomas)