The Halloween Hoax

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The Halloween Hoax Page 1

by Carolyn Keene

  It’s Halloween in River Heights! The girls can’t wait to go trick-or-treating and are busy getting their costumes ready. They also can’t wait for the Halloween special of their favorite TV show. They even get the chance to visit the TV studio while the show is being taped! But soon after they arrive, Nancy is spooked. With all the scary noises the Clue Crew keeps hearing and the creepy shadows that seem to be lurking, it seems like the studio is haunted! Is it just Halloween jitters . . . or are there really such things as ghosts?


  See inside for a free activity


  Simon & Schuster, New York

  A Ready-for-Chapters Book

  Cover designed by Lisa Vega

  Cover illustration copyright © 2007 by Macky Pamintuan

  Ages 6–9

  Is this ghost for real?

  The girls were too scared to scream. They were too frozen with fear to run.

  “Woof!” Chip barked. She jumped out of Dr. Funk-n-Stine’s arms and ran straight to Nancy.

  “G-g-good girl!” Nancy stammered.

  She scooped Chip up and ran with her friends out of the TV station. Mrs. Marvin’s car was waiting for them.

  “That was him,” George said as they raced to the car. “That was Dr. Funk-n-Stine!”

  “He said he would be back,” added Bess.

  Nancy hugged her puppy tight. She didn’t want to believe in ghosts. But seeing was believing. And she was pretty sure she had just seen the ghost of Dr. Funk-n-Stine!

  Join the CLUE CREW & solve these other cases!

  #1 Sleepover Sleuths

  #2 Scream for Ice Cream

  #3 Pony Problems

  #4 The Cinderella Ballet Mystery

  #5 Case of the Sneaky Snowman

  #6 The Fashion Disaster

  #7 The Circus Scare

  #8 Lights, Camera . . . Cats!

  This book is a work of fiction. Any references to historical events, real people, or real locales are used fictitiously. Other names, characters, places, and incidents are the product of the author’s imagination, and any resemblance to actual events or locales or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.


  An imprint of Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing Division

  1230 Avenue of the Americas, New York, NY 10020

  Text copyright © 2007 by Simon & Schuster, Inc. Illustrations copyright © 2007 by Macky Pamintuan All rights reserved, including the right of reproduction in whole or in part in any form.

  ALADDIN PAPERBACKS, NANCY DREW, and colophon are registered trademarks of Simon & Schuster, Inc. NANCY DREW AND THE CLUE CREW is a trademark of Simon & Schuster, Inc.

  Designed by Lisa Vega.

  The text of this book was set in ITC Stone Informal.

  First Aladdin Paperbacks edition August 2007

  10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1

  Library of Congress Control Number 2007921782

  ISBN-13: 978-1-4169-3664-0

  ISBN-10: 1-4169-3664-5

  ISBN-13: 978-1-4424-5912-0 (ebook)












  The Halloween Hoax

  Chapter One

  TV Trouble

  “Hey, Nancy,” George Fayne said, cracking a smile. “Your tail is ‘dragon.’”

  Eight-year-old Nancy Drew glanced back. The tail of her dragon costume was hanging over the bench and dragging on the floor.

  “Dragging. Dragon. I get it.” Nancy giggled.

  Bess Marvin reached down to tie her ballet slipper. She was dressed as a ballerina in a pink tutu.

  “What could be better than wearing our Halloween costumes four whole days before Halloween?” Bess asked.

  The tin cans on George’s homemade robot costume clanked together as she moved. “Wearing our Halloween costumes and being on the Dudley the Science Dude show!” she said.

  Nancy high-fived her two best friends. The girls were sitting in a real live TV studio with the rest of their third-grade class. Their teacher, Mrs. Ramirez, had gotten them surprise tickets for Dudley’s special Halloween show. Dudley was a cool scientist who performed awesome experiments on TV.

  Nancy looked past the TV cameras and lights at Dudley’s laboratory. The set looked just like it did on TV. The counter was filled with test tubes and microscopes. Jars were stuffed with animal teeth, shells, and rocks. There were maps on the walls and computers with science information flashing on their screens.

  “Where is Dudley, anyway?” Andrea Wu complained. Andrea was dressed as Little Bo Peep. Her best friend, Kayla Bruce, was dressed as her sheep.

  Quincy Taylor’s caterpillar costume crunched as he wiggled on the bench. “By the time the show starts I’ll be a butterfly!” he groaned.

  “Dudley will be here,” Shelby Metcalf declared as she stood up. She was dressed up like Dudley, in a yellow lab coat and blue goggles. “In the meantime—who wants to join my Dudley the Science Dude Fan Club? We’ll meet at my house every week and do one of Dudley’s experiments.”

  “The gross ones?” Peter Patino asked.

  “For sure!” replied Shelby.

  Some hands shot up. Shelby looked at Nancy, Bess, and George. “Don’t you want to join my club too?” she asked.

  “Thanks, but we already have a club,” Nancy admitted.

  “It’s called the Clue Crew,” added George.

  “We solve mysteries,” Bess explained.

  “Oh, that!” Shelby smiled as she remembered. “But solving mysteries can’t be as fun as growing a fungus on dirty gym socks!”

  “Eww,” Bess said, making a face.

  Deirdre Shannon’s pointed princess hat shifted as she tossed her hair behind her shoulders. “How do we know Dudley is a real scientist?” she asked. “He’s probably just an actor who plays one on TV.”

  Shelby’s eyes flashed. “Sure he’s a real scientist,” she insisted. “Last week he turned a penny green. An actor can’t do that.”

  A woman holding a clipboard walked over. “Hello, kids,” she said. “My name is Valerie, and I’m a producer. That means I help Dudley plan all his shows.”

  The class sat at attention as Valerie spoke.

  “There are four studios inside Station WRIV-TV,” Valerie explained. “You’re in the studio that tapes Dudley the Science Dude every week.”

  Next Valerie introduced the crew. Mike, Fran, and Bill were stagehands. They set up Dudley’s experiments and props. Sam was the director. He chose which scenes the people at home watched on TV. He also made sure the show went as planned. The stage manager’s name was Lisa. “Lisa’s job is to tell Dudley when to start talking and when to stop,” Valerie explained.

  “Maybe Lisa can tell Peter to stop talking in class,” Marcy Rubin snickered.

  “Very funny,” Peter muttered.

  “Now here’s someone you all know,” Valerie announced.

  Excited whispers filled the studio as Kirby Kessler ran over to Valerie. Kirby was Dudley’s ten-year-old helper on the show. He usually wore jeans and a T-shirt. But today he wore a long black cape for Halloween.

  “These kids must be in third grade,” Kirby said.

  “How did you
know?” Valerie asked.

  Kirby turned to show a hump under his cape. “I had a hunch!” he joked.

  A few kids laughed. A few groaned. “Good one,” George said with a chuckle.

  “It’s him!” Shelby shouted. “It’s Dudley!”

  The kids cheered as Dudley suddenly ran across the studio toward the audience. His lab coat was decorated with a spider design for Halloween.

  “Did you know a handshake is science too?” Dudley asked as he shook Shelby’s hand. “I just passed hundreds of germs from my hand to yours.”

  “Oh, thank you,” Shelby gushed. “I am never going to wash this hand again. Ever!”

  Next, to get the audience excited and because Halloween was on the way, Dudley held a screaming contest. Everyone got a chance to give his or her best scream. Bess’s scream sounded more like a squeak. Kevin Garcia gave a good scream until his fake vampire fangs fell out. But when Nadine “the Drama Queen” Nardo screamed, everyone covered their ears.

  “We have a winner!” said Dudley. He snapped his fingers. Kirby ran to Nadine, handing her a Dudley button as a prize.

  “Mr. Dudley? Mr. Dudley?” George called. “Can you sign my sneaker, please?”

  “Sure,” Dudley said. He snapped his fingers again. Kirby handed a pen to Dudley. He quickly scribbled his name on George’s sneaker.

  “Wow!” George exclaimed as Dudley walked over to the cameras. “I’m never going to wash this sneaker either.”

  “Since when do you ever wash your sneakers, George?” Bess said with a sigh.

  George stuck her tongue out at Bess. Sometimes Nancy couldn’t believe they were cousins.

  “Ready to tape,” Lisa shouted.

  “This is it,” Nancy whispered excitedly.

  The lights on the ceiling flashed brighter. Lisa turned to Dudley and began to count down: “Five . . . four . . . three . . . two . . .”

  “It’s Dudley the Science Dude’s Halloween show!” an announcer’s voice boomed. “Kids, give it up for Dudley!”

  Everyone cheered as Dudley ran onto the set.

  “Happy Halloween, you guys,” he declared. “In our audience today we have kids from River Heights Elementary School, and they are ready for some creepy and fun-tastic experiments!”

  “Yeah!” Nancy’s class shouted.

  “And wait till we check out those pains in the neck, our friends the bats!” Dudley went on.

  Excited whispers filled the studio.

  “But what would Halloween be without a bubbly witch’s brew?” asked Dudley. He held two bottles over a bowl. “The secret recipe is baking soda, vinegar—and a dash of spooky glow-in-the-dark green paint!”

  Everyone watched as Dudley poured the green-colored vinegar and baking soda into the bowl. The mixture began to fizz and foam until—

  “Whoa!” Dudley cried as he jumped back. The fizzy brew was oozing out of the bowl and across the counter!

  “Neat!” Kevin laughed.

  But Nancy noticed that Dudley wasn’t laughing. When the cameras stopped rolling, he stared at the icky green puddle on the floor.

  “That wasn’t supposed to happen,” Dudley said. “I measured the right amount of ingredients before the show.”

  “Some scientist,” Deirdre muttered.

  Shelby heard Deirdre and jumped to her feet. “Yay, Dudley!” she cheered. “That experiment was truly awesome!”

  “Let’s move on to the next one,” Valerie suggested.

  “Three . . . two . . . one,” Lisa said. She pointed to Dudley, and he smiled into the camera.

  “Did you ever try to squeeze an egg into a bottle?” Dudley asked. “I know it sounds weird, but it can be done!”

  Dudley picked up an egg and—crack—it smashed in his hand. “Huh? What’s going on?” he said. He sounded puzzled.

  A door flew open. Sam the director marched into the studio. “That egg was supposed to be hard-boiled,” he said.

  “It was,” Bill, one of the stagehands, said. “I boiled it myself this morning.”

  Nancy didn’t get it. Dudley’s experiments never went wrong.

  Her thoughts were interrupted by one of Nadine’s prize-winning screams. Nadine’s hand shook as she pointed up to the ceiling.

  “B-b-b-b-,” she stammered.

  Nancy and her classmates looked up.

  They screamed too. Fluttering near the ceiling were at least a dozen real live bats!

  Chapter Two

  Spirit on the Set!

  “Bats get stuck in your hair!” Madison Foley cried.

  “Bats suck blood,” Kevin said. “Cool!”

  Dudley tried to keep everybody calm. “Bats are very helpful creatures!” he babbled. “Did you know they can eat up to six hundred mosquitoes in an hour?”

  “How many kids can they eat?” Quincy asked.

  The stagehands chased the bats with nets.

  “I know I put the lid on the bat house,” said Fran, swinging a net. “What happened to it?”

  Mrs. Ramirez ran into the studio. She had been sitting in a waiting room, watching the show on a monitor.

  “I’m sorry, Mrs. Ramirez,” Valerie said. “We’ll have to stop taping for the day. There are too many problems.”

  “Can we come back another time?” Shelby asked.

  Mrs. Ramirez shook her head and said, “I don’t think so. This TV show doesn’t seem safe for children.”

  “Awwww!” the kids groaned.

  “Sorry, kids,” Dudley called. He gave a nervous chuckle. “I guess the studio must be haunted or something.”

  Mrs. Ramirez led the class out of the studio and into the hall.

  “Look,” Bess said. She pointed down at Nancy’s dragon tail. “You dragged your tail through Dudley’s brew puddle on the way out.”

  “Yuck!” Nancy said, lifting her drippy tail.

  “You’re so lucky, Nancy,” Shelby said, her eyes shining. “Now you’ll have a souvenir from Dudley’s show.”

  “I told you Dudley wasn’t a real scientist,” Deirdre scoffed. “He can’t even boil an egg.”

  “Dudley is a dud!” Peter laughed.

  “I don’t want to join his fan club anymore,” Kayla said to Shelby.

  “But it wasn’t Dudley’s fault,” Shelby insisted. “You heard what he said—the studio is haunted.”

  “Prove it,” Peter challenged.

  Shelby’s eyes darted around as she thought. Suddenly she pointed at Nancy, Bess, and George. “I can’t prove it,” she said. “But I know the Clue Crew can!”

  “What?” Nancy cried.

  “Class,” Mrs. Ramirez called. “Keep walking double-file with your partners.”

  Shelby ran next to Nancy. Bess and George walked right behind them.

  “We can’t prove Dudley’s studio is haunted, Shelby,” Nancy whispered. “We don’t even believe in ghosts.”

  “You don’t have to believe in them,” Shelby said. “You just have to find the ghosts who messed things up.”

  “We’re detectives,” George said. “Not ghost hunters.”

  Shelby’s big brown eyes filled with tears. “Thanks a lot,” she muttered. “Now nobody will join my fan club.”

  Nancy’s heart sank. The Clue Crew liked to help others by solving mysteries. And Shelby needed their help. So . . .

  “No problem, Shelby,” Nancy said. “We’ll do it.”

  Shelby brushed a tear from her cheek and smiled. “Thanks, you guys!” she said. “But don’t do it for me—do it for Dudley the Science Dude!”

  Shelby skipped ahead slightly.

  “Why did you say yes, Nancy?” George asked.

  “Don’t worry,” Nancy said. “Shelby will forget about everything once we don’t find any ghosts.”

  “What if we do find ghosts?” Bess asked.

  Nancy stared at Bess. “Don’t tell me you believe in ghosts too,” she said.

  “Anything is possible,” Bess said with a shrug. “Especially around Halloween.”

Nancy wasn’t worried. She knew they wouldn’t find ghosts in Dudley’s studio. After all, they were the Clue Crew—not the Boo Crew!

  It was a cool sunny Saturday as Nancy sat in the kitchen eating a bowl of Squirrel Nuts cereal. Hannah Gruen stood at the kitchen sink, scrubbing Nancy’s dragon costume.

  Hannah was the Drew’s housekeeper. She’d been helping out Mr. Drew since Nancy was three years old. That’s how old Nancy was when her mother died.

  “I couldn’t get the green stain out,” Hannah said. “But at least it matches the rest of your dragon costume.”

  “Thanks, Hannah,” said Nancy.

  Mr. Drew walked into the kitchen. He was wearing corduroy pants and his favorite Saturday sweatshirt, not the usual suit he wore to his lawyer job during the week.

  “Can you breathe fire yet, Miss Dragon?” Mr. Drew asked with a wink.

  “Still working on it, Daddy,” Nancy said.

  “Maybe I should cook my famous spicy barbecue meatballs,” Hannah joked. “That should do the trick.”

  A car horn honked outside. It was Mrs. Fayne in her catering van. She had agreed to drive the girls to the WRIV-TV station so they could look for clues.

  Nancy gave her dad and Hannah a good-bye kiss. She had told them all about her new case the night before.

  “Why don’t you just ask the others at the TV station if they think it’s haunted?” Mr. Drew asked. “Wouldn’t that be easier?”

  “Sure,” Nancy said. She took one last sip of her milk. “But it wouldn’t be as much fun!”

  Nancy ran outside and climbed into Mrs. Fayne’s van. As she squeezed between a stack of platters and her friends, she noticed that the van smelled like pickles.

  “Good morning!” Bess said cheerily.

  Nancy’s eyes widened when she saw Bess. Her friend was wearing a weird-looking pair of goggles. The lenses made Bess’s eyes look twice their size!

  “What are those?” Nancy asked.

  “They’re ghost goggles I built myself,” Bess said. “Now I’ll be able to see ghosts in the dark.”

  Nancy smiled. Bess loved to fix and build things more than anything.


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