Mom comes home to a disaster in her kitchen — flour, peanut butter, red food colouring, corn syrup ...
“Oh, the plan!” she says, clapping her hands. “Can I help?” I get her to empty packages of Mentos into a bowl.
Jessica comes home. “What’s with all the pop?” she asks. “Can I take some to the party?” Jessica’s too old to go trick-or-treating this year, but she’s going to some party. It’s all she talks about.
“No,” Mom says. “It’s for William’s plan.”
“Where’d you get that thing?” Jessica asks, sneering at the life size Quatchi on the kitchen chair.
“The Olympics. Where do you think?” I say. She rolls her eyes. I smear more blood on QZ, that stands for Quatchi Zombie. We got Quatchi from that gift shop in the Village. Dad convinced the guy that having an old mascot covered in Cows ice-cream and dust is bad for business. Told him we’d bring it back all clean, like new.
“Well,” Jessica says, “I’m going to my room to get ready for the party.” A couple of seconds later she yells, “William! What are Miga and Sumi doing on my bed?!”
“They want to go to the party,” I say. Mom smiles. The deal with the guy was that we had to clean all the mascots.
Mom picks up the jar of peanut butter, sniffs QZ’s wounds. “Is this safe?” she asks in a screechy voice. “I mean, with kids’ allergies these days ...”
“Who’s going to be dumb enough to eat it?” Dad asks.
“Don’t say dumb,” Mom says. Dad puts a bottle of coke in my back pack and puts it on QZ. Then we go outside to duct tape QZ to the zip line handle bar.
“I hope nothing goes wrong,” Mom calls out after us.
“What could go wrong?” Dad calls back.
“William, you weirdo!” Jessica must have found Mukmuk in the bathtub.
The door bells rings. Our first trick-or-treater! I come downstairs as fast as I can in a cardboard box. I’m going as Creeper. Mom opens the door and it’s Jeremy, dressed like a zombie. Dad’s taking us around Tapley’s for an hour, and then we’re coming back to scare trick-or-treaters with the plan.
“I saw Quatchi Zombie in the tree,” Jeremy says. “It’s gunna be awesome!” He’s licks his finger. “I can’t wait to meet a real zombie.”
“Zombies are just a figment of your imagination,” I say, remembering what mom told me.
“I’ve never had a fig mint,” Jeremy says. “What do they taste like?”
“Like mentos, but not as good,” I say. Jeremy smacks his lips. They’re all red. Ah, so’s his finger.
“Oh, no!” Mom says. “Are you allergic to peanut butter?”
“Sort of,” he says. Mom tells me and dad to go ahead and start trick-or-treating while she rushes Jeremy home, next door. When dad and I get to Easy Street, it starts to rain. Pretty soon Jeremy catches up. He must have spent more time on his costume because he looks way more like a zombie. In fact, it doesn’t look like Jeremy at all. But then, I can’t see much out of this box.
Ghost sounds come from inside houses, skeletons hang from trees and there seem to be a lot of zombie costumes this year. I think Jeremy’s scared because he’s not saying a thing. It doesn’t help that he actually believes in zombies. He says that Halloween is the one night a year when dead people get a day off from being dead and they roam the earth. He Googled it. I don’t believe it, but I am glad it’s still light out. By the time we get back to our yard, it’s almost dark and the rain is really coming down. “I’m going to put my candy inside, Jeremy,” I say. “It’s time for the plan. Jeremy?” He must have gone in.
Dad and I get all ready. Dad is on the ladder against the tree. The zip line goes from the tree in the backyard to the basketball hoop in the driveway. Tied to the hoop is a bag of flour that will go poof and make smoke when QZ hits it.
Here come three ninjas and a crayon. A parent in a slice of bacon costume hangs back. Smart move, Bacon. I hit ‘play’ on the CD player for screaming sound effects. That’s dad’s signal to drop Mentos in the pop and let QZ go. Here comes QZ, dripping with blood, exploding with pop, zzzzzzipping past the trick-or-treaters. They scream and run off. QZ hits the bag of floor with a whump. Not poof. Whump. The rain has turned the bag of flour into a bag of dough, and it’s so heavy, that it pulls basketball hoop right over.
“My eye!” Dad groans from the backyard.
“Ha, ha! Good one, dad!” I holler. Last year, if you remember, we played a trick with a fake eyeball. I head over to bust him, but the zip line is pulling the tree down. Dad falls off the ladder, the tree hits a power line and lands on our house. Jessica and mom come running out the front door. The power goes out in the whole neighborhood.
“I hope the party’s still on,” Jessica pouts.
About an hour later, only a few trick-or-treaters are out. The rain has stopped, but the power is still out. So are the fires, but the smoke hangs in the air. It’s quiet, dark and kind of spooky. The tree broke only a window, good thing. Jeremy comes across the front lawn in his pyjamas, rubber boots and ski jacket. We stare at QZ, pinned under the basketball hoop, mucky with red peanut butter, gooey with flour, and sticky with pop.
“How’s your dad?” Jeremy asks.
“Mom took him to the clinic.” We nod.
Then Jeremy says, “My mom’s buying me candy tomorrow. Half off.”
“More candy? But we scored.”
“Maybe you did. I’ve been in bed the whole time. ‘Cause of the peanut butter.”
“Yeah, sorry ‘bout that,” I say. “Wait a second. If you were in bed, who was—?”
Jeremy shrugs. He smirks.