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Millie Muldoon


the Case of the

Halloween Haunting


Mary Vigliante Szydlowski

Text Copyright © 2018

Mary Vigliante Szydlowski

All rights reserved. This book or any portion thereof

may not be reproduced or used in any manner

whatsoever without the express written permission

of the publisher except for the use of brief

quotations in a book review.

To Nate & Drew

First there was one little goblin. Now there are two.

Happy 1st Halloween Drew.

You little guys are the best treats your

Grandma and Grandpa could have ever imagined!

Table of Contents

Chapter 1

Chapter 2

Chapter 3

Chapter 4

Chapter 5

Chapter 6

Chapter 7

Chapter 8

Chapter 9

Chapter 10

Chapter 11

Chapter 12

A Note From Mary Vigliante Szydlowski

About the Author

Chapter 1

Millie Muldoon's mom was sitting at the kitchen table holding her head in her hands. She looked upset.

"Is something wrong? Are you feeling OK?" Millie asked, concerned.

"I'm worried about Aunt Priscilla. She's seeing things!"

"Things? What kind of things?"


"That's not so unusual. It's almost Halloween. There are ghosts everywhere at this time of year. They're in the department stores and supermarkets. And just about every house has a ghost in the window or on the door. Hanging from a tree or decorating the lawn"

"I'm not talking about ghosts made of paper, cloth, wood, or plastic," she said. "I'm talking about real ghosts. You know…the spirits of the dead. The spooky kind! The ones that float in the air. And scare you to death when they go Boo!"

"Mom, you can't be serious." Millie looked shocked. "You've always said there are no such things as ghosts." Had her mother changed her mind?

"There aren't. That's what has me worried. It means your Great Aunt Priscilla Palermo is seeing things!"

"Oh," Millie responded, suddenly understanding. "You think what…that Aunt Priscilla is losing her marbles?"

"I didn't say that exactly. Aunt Priscilla is sharp as a tack. But either she's seeing things that aren't there, which means we should get her to a doctor fast or…someone is playing a cruel trick on her. And it isn't just Aunt Priscilla. Her neighbor Mrs. Lagunda has been seeing ghosts too. And so has Mrs. Fletcher next door."

"All three of them?" Millie asked in surprise. "Mom do you really think there could be ghosts haunting Aunt Priscilla's neighborhood?"

"I don't know. I've never believed in ghosts before. But with all three of them saying they've seen them, I'm beginning to wonder. Aunt Priscilla is so scared she's ready to jump out of her skin. She's afraid to stay in the house alone. And she's not just seeing them. She's been hearing them too. She's heard scratching, scraping, and metal clanging. And she swears she hears voices whispering in the darkness."

"Has she called the police?"

"No. She hasn't. Poor Mrs. Lagunda called them and the officers acted like she was crazy. They didn't believe a word she said. They told her they couldn't arrest a ghost. Or investigate a haunting. They said they couldn't help her. Those poor little old ladies," her mother said, shaking her head. "I wish there was something we could do to help them."

"Maybe there is. Tomorrow is a teachers' conference day so I don't have school. You could drive me over to Aunt Priscilla's after dinner tonight. It's only an hour away. I could stay with her tonight. Keep her company. Roger and I were already going to spend Friday and Saturday night with her, helping her set up and decorate for the big Halloween party on Sunday. All the cousins are meeting at her house Friday night. We're bringing our sleeping bags and camping out in her living room. We're having pizza, wings, popcorn, and ice cream. We're going to mix up some green and blue slim and fake blood for the haunted house and then watch scary Halloween movies. That way we can get an early start Saturday morning. We’ve got a lot to do before the party," she explained. "We need to arrange the gravestones in the cemetery. Place the skulls, skeletons, and bones between them. So it looks like they're climbing out of the graves. Set the vampires, mummies, and zombies out on the lawn. Hang the bats, ghosts, and ghouls from the tree branches. Cover all the bushes with spider webs and some really scary-looking spiders. And then we need to do the haunted house. It's going to be on the porch again this year. Only much scarier than last year. Aunt Priscilla has yards of black and white gauze. Lots of witches hats. And baskets full of rubber masks. She's been buying them at garage sales all summer. We can make decorations and costumes with them. Fill the haunted house with spooky spirits and monsters. We've got bloody swords and axes, and some severed heads, hands, feet, and fingers. I'm thinking we'll do something really creepy with those. I bought bags of rubber worms and eyeballs at the party store. I figure I'll cover the eyeballs with tomato sauce. So they'll look really gross. And the worms will be floating in bowls of pea soup. I even bought five brains. Two pink. Two purple. And one that's neon orange. They're made of gummy stuff, just like the bears. You can eat them. I'm going to serve them on platters. And I found this green goo that looks just like snot…"

"Yuck," her mother interrupted, making a face. "That sounds revolting!"

"Don't worry. It'll be great," Millie assured her. "And wait till you see the sidewalks and stairs. They're going to be covered with rats, roaches, spiders, and other creepy crawly things. There's a lot of work to be done so I'm sure Aunt Priscilla won't object if I come a day early. I feel awful for her. She loves Halloween. It's her favorite time of year. This shouldn't be happening to her!"

Aunt Priscilla hosted a big costume party every year the Sunday before Halloween. It was a huge event filled with family, friends, and neighbors. Aunt Priscilla, Mrs. Lagunda, and Mrs. Fletcher always dressed up as witches with long black dresses, pointy hats, and brooms. And there was a big bubbling cauldron placed in the front yard. It was fun. Everybody looked forward to it. Millie didn't want the ghosts, or whatever they were, to upset her aunt and ruin her party.

Millie thought about her cousins. They were all younger than she was. There were the blonde, blue-eyed Konitski brothers: Richard and Christopher. The Rossi boys: David, Peter, and Vincent. They had dark hair and brown eyes. And lastly, there were the redheaded Larabees: Brian and whiny Tom. The boys were annoying! And sooooo immature! Most times, she didn't want anything to do with them. Especially when she was working on a case. And this was definitely a case!

Something was going on at Aunt Priscilla's house and Millie intended to get to the bottom of it. She was a good detective…considering she was only 10 years old! She'd solved a lot of cases: missing science projects, disappearing violins, stolen lunch money, lost pets. But this was the first ghostly haunting case she'd ever worked on. And it wasn't just Aunt Priscilla that was being haunted by spirits. It was Mrs. Lagunda and Mrs. Fletcher as well. Three old ladies that lived in three old houses next door to each other. All of them suddenly developing a case of ghosts. Highly unusual, to say the least! Since there were three separate houses involved, did that mean there were three ghosts? Probably not. Millie didn't believe in ghosts or haunted houses either. She didn't think they existed any place but in scary stories and movies. If she was going to figure out what was going on, she'd need lots of eyes keeping watch over the three houses. That's where her cousins came in. They drove her crazy. Always asking stupid questions. Constantly following her around. Shadowing her every move. But she had to admit they could be useful at times. When they weren't bugging her or driving her nuts! At the moment though, they were the best she could do.

And then of course, there was Roger…her pesky little brother. He was plenty annoying too, but she had no choice…she was sure her mother would make her take him with her. She almost always did. Roger tried to be helpful, holding her magnifying glass and her pad and pencil. But how helpful could a six-year-old be when you were working on a case? He could barely read and was always stomping on her clues or interrupting when she was trying to think. Oh well, she'd just have to make the best of it. Something was wrong at Aunt Priscilla's house and it was up to Millie to figure out what!

Chapter 2

Great Aunt Priscilla Palermo looked like she was ready to cry. She sat in her rocking chair, sniffling while she petted her cat Fluffy. "I don't know what to do. I'm afraid to live here anymore. I'll have to move. But where will I go?"

"Don't worry Aunt Priscilla. I'm sure it won't come to that. There's got to be a logical explanation for what's been going on here." If so, Millie didn't know what it was!

The way Aunt Priscilla explained it, the ghostly spirits started visiting the neighborhood two weeks ago. They spent the first few days at Mrs. Lagunda's house. Creaking and shrieking and carrying on. They were seen on her lawn after midnight, three nights in a row. Each time they circled the house then disappeared. Strange lights glowed in her windows in the wee hours of the morning. The lights were accompanied by scratching and shuffling sounds. Poor Mrs. Lagunda was so terrified she ran from the house screaming.

A day or so later, the ghosts decided to visit Mrs. Fletcher's. She also fled her home. Afraid of what the spirits would do to her. She complained about the noise the ghosts made. She heard scratching and scraping coming from the basement, walls, and attic. At first she thought it was rats or mice or maybe even bats. She hired a company to set out traps and get rid of them. But when the workmen arrived…they found nothing. They thought she was just hearing things. And even if she wasn't, the house was old and creaky. They told her it was nothing to worry about. Easy enough for them to say! They didn't have ghosts running around their yards in the middle of the night!

After scaring the daylights out of Mrs. Lagunda and Mrs. Fletcher, the ghosts turned their attention to Aunt Priscilla's house. They stomped. They clomped. They rattled the windows and shook the walls. They'd made the poor old dear a nervous wreck.

It had gotten so bad that the women refused to be alone in their own homes. Especially after dark. Every night they'd gather at one of their houses to spend the night together. They thought there was safety in numbers. They'd sleep on couches and chairs. Wherever they could. Just so long as they weren't alone.

"Have you all seen the ghosts?" Millie asked the three elderly women gathered in the living room.

They all nodded their heads.

"How many ghosts are there?"

"I saw three," said Mrs. Lagunda.

"I only saw two," offered Mrs. Fletcher."

"Three of them I think. It's hard to tell," Aunt Priscilla explained.

Poor Roger looked terrified. His eyes darted to the window looking for any sign of ghosts. He didn't see any, but he wasn't taking chances. He jumped out of his seat and squeezed in beside his sister on the couch.

"Do they actually float through the air?" Millie wanted to know.

"No. I haven't seen them float. The ones I saw were on the ground," Mrs. Lagunda replied.

"I've only seen them on the lawn," Mrs. Fletcher said.

"Me too," Aunt Priscilla chimed in.

"So none of you have ever seen the ghosts flying around? Floating a few feet off the ground or above the trees and rooftops?"

They all shook their heads.

"Really? So they walk around rather than float?"

"They don't really walk," corrected Mrs. Lagunda. "They glide."

The other ladies nodded their agreement.

"Glide? Like they're on roller skates or a skateboard or something?"

The ladies looked at each other. "Yes sort of like that," Mrs. Lagunda answered, the others nodding.

Roller skating ghosts? That's weird, Millie thought, scratching her head. She always did that when she was thinking hard. "Tell me, what color are the ghosts?"

"Sort of a glowing, greenish white," Mrs. Fletcher answered.

"Are they short or tall?" Millie wanted to know.

"Both," Mrs. Lagunda replied. "Two of the ones I saw were tall. The other one was short and sort of funny looking."

"Funny looking?" Millie asked. "In what way?"

"He was crooked. Like someone had cut the bottom of him off at an angle. One side of him touched the ground. The other side was a foot or so shorter."

"I saw the short one too," said Mrs. Fletcher. "But he didn't look crooked to me."

"He didn't look crooked to me either," Aunt Priscilla said. Then she remembered something. "You know. Now that you mention it. Part of him was dragging on the ground. It was in the back. I remember thinking it must be a girl ghost, because it looked like a train. The kind a bride would wear."

"Mrs. Lagunda, where were the ghosts exactly when they disappeared?"

"I can't say for certain. I was running from room to room. And window to window. Trying to see what they were doing. But it seems to me I always lost sight of them on the dining room side of the house."

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