Sweet Valley Kids #23- Lila’s Haunted House Party

Jessica, Eva and their friends are playing at the park and talking about what all of them are going to be for Halloween. Eva Simpson is going to be a turtle- cool idea, actually. Elizabeth wanted to be a headless horseman, but Jessica told Elizabeth that was too scary so Elizabeth is now going to be a tiger. Jessica is going as a genie. Halloween is going to be special this year. Lila’s dad rented a big house called Hathaway Manor, and Lila is having a big Halloween party there. If Lila lives in a huge mansion, I am not sure why Mr. Fowler had to rent a big house to have a party. There are rumors that the Hathaway mansion is haunted. Damn, Sweet Valley has lots of rumored haunted houses- the Hathaway mansion, the Mercandy house….  Lila says she is not scared because Lila doesn’t believe in ghosts. Eva says she does believe in ghosts and it would be cool to see the Hathaway mansion ghost, who is rumored to be a woman.

At dinner,  Jessica is saying how fun Lila’s Halloween party will be- she will have  a storyteller, spooky special effects and a haunted dungeon. Ned is wearing a tie with jack o lanterns on it.  Ned then says that Lila’s family is related to the Hathaways. There are no Hathaways left, so the house was turned into a museum and people rent it out to have parties.  Mr. Wakefield then says he thought he saw a ghost in the Hathaway house when he was a little kid. Elizabeth says there are no such things as ghosts.  Steven tries to scare the girls into believing there is a ghost in the house, and Mr. Wakefield tells Steven to stop, and that the only ghosts they will see are special effects. Jessica says that if Lila is related to the Hathaway family, than Lila is related to the ghost too. Elizabeth says that is silly as there is no such thing as ghosts.  Elizabeth kids and tells Jessica that if there is a ghost, she will protect Jess from it! Both girls laugh.

The moment Jessica and Liz walk into the Hathaway mansion, a skeleton drops down on them from the door!  Todd says through his astronaut costume that the skeleton drops down automatically whenever the door opens.  Lila is wearing an old fashioned dress and boots, and has on a really pretty gold locket on the end of a chain. Lila says it’s an antique and her dad said she could wear it.  There are real candles in candelabras on all the tables in the house, and cobwebs hanging from the ceiling.  Lila says the special effects aren’t that scary, when a ” ghostly man” comes out of a trapdoor! Lila screams and drops her parasol.  Ken laughs and says he thought Lila wasn’t scared of anything.  Elizabeth spots a painting on the wall of a young girl with light brown hair and green eyes  in an old fashioned dress that looks a lot like Lila.  Lila blushes and says the girl does not, and then tells the twins they don’t want to be late for the storyteller.

There is an old man sitting in a rocking chair who says the kids have probably heard a lot of rumors about the Hathaway mansion- and they are all true!  Laura Hathaway was an invalid who could barely walk. Her brother Michael took care of her.  Then the Hathaways fell on hard times, and Michael decided to head to Yukon territory to find gold.  Laura became very sick when Michael left and screamed in her sleep, ” Don’t go come back!!”  Michael never came back, and Laura’s spirit wanders around the house looking for Michael.  The old man then says Laura’s portrait is hanging in the house- the same way Elizabeth, Li and Jess saw!  Lila looks really scared when the old man says that.  The old man says that Laura’s room was on the second floor so whatever the kids do- don’t go on the second floor!

Jessica says the story was really scary, and Lila claims not to be scared but her voice is shaky. Then Dracula comes out and has fangs and blood dripping and scares the heck out of Lila and the twins. Well ” Dracula” is only Charlie Cashman, and he laughs about scaring Lila, Jessica and Liz.  Todd then says he saw the painting of Laura Hathaway, and she looks just like Lila. Jessica is all see Lila we told you so but Lila again denies it.  Charlie and Todd tell Lila to stand next to Laura’s painting so they can compare but Lila refuses and Charlie says Lila is too scared. Jessica then looks up the staircase to the second floor.  It is so dark she can barely see the top steps, and she wonders what is up there.  Lila says the party is only on this floor and there is nothing on the second floor.  Jessica agrees, but she is getting very curious about the ghost.

 A creepy looking witch with long fingernails cackles, ” this way to the dungeon.”  She says ” be careful my pretties or you will never come out.”  When Elizabeth touches the bannister in the ” dungeon” her hand gets covered in gooey slime.  Elizabeth then sees a small hole they have to climb through, and she is not sure how they will get through there.  The girls all go through the tunnel.  The tunnel suddenly slants downward and starts to shake! This sounds like a haunted house my boyfriend and I went to in Lake George.  The girls can hear screaming and wailing, and they see three witches stirring a brew and a man in chains asking for water.  Lila, Elizabeth and Jessica get out of there, and then go into a haunted graveyard. Jessica asks Lila if Laura could be buried there and Lila says it’s all fake. Then Elizabeth sees flickering lights on the third floor of the mansion and figures it’s another special effect.  Elizabeth points out the lights to Lila and Lila says there are no effects on the third floor- the party is only in the basement and first floor.  Elizabeth, Jess and Lila look up and don’t see any flickering lights on the third floor.  Lila looks nervous and says there is not supposed to be anything up there. Elizabeth sees Lila looks spooked and says maybe the lights were her imagination.  But Elizabeth KNOWS she saw a light. Elizabeth wonders if Lila is scared of the ghost.

Elizabeth, Li and Jess join the other kids. They are playing pin the tail on the black cat, bobbing for apples and eating candy eyeballs.  Jessica asks where Charlie and Jerry are, and Ken says they were in front of the staircase to the second floor, and Jess gets all spooked. Elizabeth says Jerry and Charlie always go off by themselves. Maybe Jerry and Charlie like playing doctor a lot???  Todd says that Jerry and Charlie did say they may go upstairs, and Lila says she is not going to look for them. Todd says Lila should as it’s her party.  Then Todd and Elizabeth say that all of the kids can go the second floor together so it won’t be as scary. Winston asks Jessica if she is scared, and Jess says no. 

The second hall floorways smell dusty and dirty ( dust smells?) and both doors on the second floor are shut.  The kids try to open the doors but all of them are locked.  Lila wants to give up, but Elizabeth says they have to keep looking for Charlie and Jerry. Then they all hear a loud thump! Winston says it must be another special effect but Lila says there are no special effects on this floor. The kids then hear another LOUD thump and then oooooooohhhhhhh sounds. All of them scream and run downstairs.

Jessica notices that Lila has lost her locket. Lila freaks saying she begged and begged her dad to wear the locket even though he warned it could get loose really easily.  Lila then realizes she lost the locket upstairs, before they all ran down.  Jessica and Elizabeth agree to go back upstairs to help Lila look for her locket and to try to find Charlie and Jerry again.

The girls link their arms together so that it can give them protection and they won’t be as scared.  The girls hear more thumps and bumps. The noises are coming from the attic and Elizabeth speculates that maybe Charlie and Jerry are making those noises.  Elizabeth screams ” are you up there Jerry and Charlie”? ( like they would say it was them!) and they just hear more screams in response. Lila then finds her locket in a bunch of dust, and sees footprints that Li seems to think only a ghost could make.  Lila, Liz and Jess try to find a secret door, as Li says the footprints look like they go into the wall and only ghosts can walk into walls.  Elizabeth said the footprints look like sneakers, so she still thinks it’s Charlie and Jerry but Lila disagrees. Then all of a sudden,  the panel opens into a hidden hinge, and Lila topples backward into the dark!

Lila, Jessica and Liz have found a secret passage!  Elizabeth, Jessica and Lila close the door and head up to stairs that are in the passage. They see a light is on, and all wonder aloud if it was the ghost.  Then Elizabeth hears a noise and says who’s there!! And they see that Charlie and Jerry are hiding behind a box in the attic! Gee, what  a shock!  Jerry explains that they closed the secret door and got stuck in the attic.  Elizabeth deduces that Charlie’s flashlight was the light she saw flickering, and she asks if the boys were up there trying to scare the girls and they pretty much admit it was them.  Elizabeth, Li, Jess, Charlie and Jerry brag about finding the secret passage and Winston makes fun of Charlie and Jerry saying GIRLS had to rescue them and Charlie retorts that Todd and Winston were too chicken to go upstairs with the twins and Lila. Well, the party is done and Mr. and Mrs. Wakefield are there to pick up Jess and Liz. They thank Mr. Fowler for inviting the whole class, and Mr. Fowler says he hopes none of the kids were too scared. Lila says she sure wasn’t scared and Jessica snickers.  As the twins leave, Jessica swears she sees a light flickering in the attic again. Mr. Wakefield says it was probably moonlight but Jessica doesn’t think so- and if it’s not moonlight or Charlie’s flashlight…. 

Two days later, Jessica is still sure she saw a light in the attic, and Elizabeth says it was Charlie’s flashlight.   Ellen Riteman says ” Hi identical twins” to the girls because Jessica and Liz are dressed alike- well in SVT Book 1 claims Jess and Liz dressed alike until 6th grade- but yeah Sweet Valley Kids insist they dress alike  ” sometimes. ” Jessica jokes to Ellen that the twins may have a TRIPLET- their cousin Kelly looks just like them, and she’s visiting soon so Ellen will see the resemblance. And that introduces the next book… ( which I don’t own).

Hope you enjoyed my Halloween treats of the Haunted House and Lila’s Haunted House Party!! Next week I hope to recap both Choosing Sides ( SV Twins #4) and a Unicorn Club book.  After that, look for some Fabulous Five and Taffy Sinclair books, another Sweet Valley Twins book, and BSC Little Sister #15- Karen’s in Love!

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One Response to “Sweet Valley Kids #23- Lila’s Haunted House Party”

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