Original Publication Date: 1995
Ghostwriter? Yes, Ellen Miles
Stacey joins the decorating committee for the latest SMS dance: the Mischief Night Masquerade (held the day before Halloween, called Mischief Night in some areas). But while she and the committee are working hard, strange things keep happening. Some are harmless pranks, like switching the contents of adjacent lockers, while other are destructive or downright scary. A heretofore unknown group calling themselves the Michief Knights claims responsibililty for the harmless stuff, but not the rest. What is going on?
Stacey and the BSC decide to investigate. It turns out that the reason there hasn't been a Masquerade in almost three decades is that at the last one there was a stampede of panicked students and a teacher died of a heart attack during it. Further investigation reveals that the teacher who's advising the committee was at that dance with a date that he was dared to take as a joke. Only she didn't know it was a joke. When she found out, the lights suddenly went out then the fire alarm went off, causing the panic. Despite the concern, SMS goes ahead with the Masquerade as planned. But who should come to the dance but the jilted date herself, by now filled with a crazy obsession about that night. Fortunately she's taken to a mental hospital without further incident. The next school day, the Mischief Knights are back to their old tricks. Is the new student Cary Retlin behind the group?
Subplot: the BSC clients are obsessed with the Ghostbusters movie.
Established or continued in this book:
The Girls (and Logan):
Claudia candy: Twizzlers
Okay, everyone knows Claudia can't spell and Claudia herself acknowledges it. So tell me, when she's creating artwork for whatever activity, why doesn't anyone write out the correct spelling on a scrap of paper for her? Then she could make it all artistic and it still have the right spelling.
Stacey narrates that it's impressive how Abby not only remembers all the names of the Pike kids but something specific about each one. But with the triplets, she asks Jordan how his piano lessons are going, and just says what's up to Adam and Byron. Because Byron's personality is that he's sensitive and Adam's personality is that his brothers are Jordan and Byron.
The Club (and clients): nothing new.
Good continuity with teachers' jobs: Ms. Levine is still homeroom, and Mr. Fiske, Mrs. Simon, and Mrs. Hall are still English.
SMS's mascot is the Chargers. Horses, maybe? Cavalry?
Alan Gray shows a bit of maturity in this book. Just a bit, but it makes sense in retrospect if you've read the Friends Forever series (which I'll eventually get to for this blog).
New student: Cary Retlin (8th).
New teachers: Ms. Dwyer (art), Mr. Rothman (6th grade science). A substitute named Ms. Bryan also gets mentioned.
If you're trying to keep a rodent out of somewhere even temporarily, cardboard won't help you. Rodents have crazy-strong jaws.
This is the fifth Halloween Stacey and her friends have celebrated in her 8th grade year.
Starting 8th grade: 8
Halloweens in 8th grade: 5 (plus one in seventh)
Thanksgivings in 8th grade: 1
Christmases in 8th grade: 1 (Hanukkah is also mentioned, but no one in the BSC has celebrated it--yet)
Valentine's Days in 8th grade: 2
Summers after 8th grade: 8
BSC Fights: 10
SMS Staff and Faculty: 53
Students (other than the BSC): 177; 113 8th graders, 6 7th graders, 42 6th graders, 15 unspecified. Baby-sitters' Winter Vacation tells us that SMS has about 380 students.
Clients: 33 families
Types of candy in Claudia’s room: 116