Halloween Ghost Story Contest -- 2021
Elementary School Winners

Second Place

Our second place winner is fourth grader Olivia Reynolds, a homeschooled student from Marietta, Georgia taking a creative writing class with Myrna Kemnitz at Royal Fireworks Press.

Trick the Trickster

Olivia Reynolds

Trick the Trickster

Chapter One History of Pranks

Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow!

Jack, turn the alarm clock off please. Jack? Jack, get out of your closet! Don't you dare...” “It is not Christmas”, Jack retorted.

He emerged from the closet carrying a metal baseball bat. Ignoring his sister, he angrily raised the bat above his head and took aim at the alarm clock. There was a loud bang followed by the song screeching to a silence. All Lucie could hear was the heavy breathing of her little brother.

You are going to be grounded again just so you know”, she warned.

Well at least dad is an engineer and has worked on this clock before. Maybe he will fix it again. Anyway, today is Halloween, not Christmas!”

Lucie was slowly turning this over in her thoughts. If Jack is correct and today is Halloween, then I better hurry...

Lucie could not help but mischievously glance at her brother.

Tell mom and dad that I will be out in a minute.”

Fine”, Jack growled.

Oh, it is Halloween. No tricks for today”, Lucie said sternly.

What would Halloween be without tricks?”, he piped while stumbling out of the room.

She thought of the tricks her brother was responsible for over the years. While having dinner with friends, Jack pulled a string from under the table attached to a cup. The cup had been hung from the ceiling. Once tugged it tipped, dropping a hairy spider onto her head. That was not even the worst. Dad opened his briefcase at work only to discover his papers were not inside. A rat scurried out and across the desk, startling the office staff. Agitated still, dad walked to his meeting where another trick awaited him. Opening his presentation he found his slides had been replaced. Dancing jack-o-lanterns filled the screen, singing Spooky Scary Skeletons. She grinned thinking, today is the day we get him back.

Once the door was rudely slammed shut she clumsily climbed down from the top bunk and opened the window. Grabbing a big rock from her brother’s collection, Luice threw it out the window. It struck a low hanging branch of an old maple in the side yard. Four friends stepped out from behind the tree. The leaves crunched under their feet as they approached the window.

He doesn't suspect a thing”, she told them.

Great! We are going forward with the plan, right?.”

Yes, as a reminder, Nick and Joe coax him to the location. Andy and Piper will come with me. The sun going down tonight will be the signal to begin.”

She watched as her friends took off for the school bus down the street. Grabbing her jacket, she did the same.

Chapter Two The Game Begins

Lucie was tired after all of the school work she had done. She and Jack climbed out of the cramped bus when Lucie spotted their mom waiting for them across the street. That is odd. She rarely ever waits for us. I hope everything is okay.

Welcome back. How was middle school?” mom asked while rearranging the fake spider in the tree.

Boring, as always.” Jack responded with a groan.

I think school was pretty fun today even though it was tiring.”

I'm glad to hear it.”

Lucie felt a shiver run through her. The sight of the spider reminded her of Jack’s eight-legged trick over dinner last year.

Shaking the memory away she bounded up the brick steps to be greeted by loud banging coming up from the basement. Is dad working on yet another project? She stood at the front door puzzled for a moment before it registered what he was working on. All of the work at school today almost made me forget. I'm glad I did not! Hoping her friends did not forget, she crossed to the basement door and opened it to find her dad walking up the steps. He came out of the basement covered in dust and new holes in his worn t-shirt.

You need a shower and hurry before that dust falls off of you. We all had to clean the dust around the house for what seemed like years the last time you worked on a project.”
Jack quickly nodded in agreement. That does not happen every day.

All right.”
“You better hurry, it is getting late,'' added Lucie with a sly wink.

Dad walked down the stairs in his normal clown costume shouting,“let's get the traditional Uno game going!”.

As Lucie waited her turn the scent of mom's cinnamon candle filled the room with a wonderful smell. Mom was in the middle of placing the winning card when the doorbell rang.

Jack, will you go get that?”, mom looked at him with hopeful eyes.

It is always me.” Sighing he stumbled out of the room.

Jack opened the door and Nick’s and Joe’s voices could be heard. They were talking for a little longer than Lucie expected when finally Jack said something.

May I go with Nick and Joe to explore the abandoned “haunted” house?”

NO!”, mom exclaimed.

I glared at her like she was crazy. When she glanced at dad and me it seemed to hit her. “Oh, come on mom, please. I don’t want to be stuck in this boring house playing Uno,”Jack responded with a pleading voice.

Fine, just be careful and make sure you all stay together.”

Bye”, Jack called.

Inconsiderately he let the door slam shut in his hurry to leave. His family could not help but laugh and share assumptions about how he will react to the mischievous plan.

I can imagine his scared face when he sees the illusion.”
“He is going to jump out of his socks,” mom predicted.
“We better hurry to get started. Let the scare begin!” exclaimed Lucie’s dad.

Saying goodbye Lucie sneakily crossed the road. Knocking quietly on Piper's door small footsteps could be heard. She peeked out of a window before opening the door.

It’s time to go”, Lucie whispered.

Jittery excitement filled them while creeping to Andy's house. Piper rang the doorbell while Lucie rummaged through the backpack. Once outside Andy looked confusingly at the backpack.

What are you doing Lucie?” he whispered.

She pulled out a bag full of popcorn.

We need some for the show don't we?!”

He gladly took a handful of buttery popcorn from the bag spilling a few.

Chapter Three The Abandoned House

By the time the trio made it to the abandoned house the popcorn bag was half empty. Just in time Lucie spotted Jack, Nick, and Joe. They were talking while testing out their flashlights on the leaning porch. Fog clung in the air while ivy crawled through the cracked windows. The tall crooked house loomed over them with creaks splitting the silent night air. The wind blew, clearing the fog away to reveal the old house swaying slightly. Thickly spun cobwebs found themselves in every corner.

We have to go around to the back so they won't see us.” Lucie whispered pointing at Jack. “Aren’t there a lot of spiders back there?” Piper whispered, looking questioningly.

Umm… let's just not think about them,” Lucie could not help but shiver.

Trying to take cover among the bare trees they tiptoed to the back. When they got there they searched for a door but one could not be found.

We should go through the broken window,” suggested Andy.

I don't think we should do that, but I'm pretty sure that's the only way.”

Andy and Piper carefully hoisted themselves up through the window, then it was Lucie’s turn.

Making her way towards the window her breath got heavy. She stared at the jagged glass like it was the mouth of an awaking lion. She was almost through when she tripped. Her heart was in her throat as the sharp glass quickly inched closer to her face. Lucie was suddenly yanked, dodging the glass. She tumbled to the floor gasping for air.

Th...thank you Andy.”

They made their way to a spiral stairway. Staring upwards Lucie felt dread sink into her bones. The crooked stairs were rotting and draped with old worn red carpet.

Well, umm... just don’t fall. Watch your step and don’t look down,” she suggested in a shaky voice.

Andy and Piper could only node. “Bang! Bang! BANG!”

Everyone wide-eyed starred up when they caught a glimpse of a falling piece of wood striking the rails directly above Piper’s head.


Lucie flew at her, desperate to reach her in time. Jumping on her friend, Lucie pushed her out of the way. They both tumbled and slid until Piper hit the post. Using her hands to slow herself down she came to a stop just before hearing the wood strike the floor.

I’m glad you were there Lucie,” Piper said while slowly making her way onto her feet.

Lucie nodded and climbed to a stand staring worriedly at the winding stairs. Without any words she crossed to the first step and gently put her foot on it.

Be careful Lucie. We will be right behind you,” Piper whispered.

I will.”

She slowly put one foot in front of another. Every creak made her eyes widen. Then hearing someone trip she quickly turned back. Cracks formed around us while Andy stumbled to his feet.

Hurry and run!”

Andy trailed behind as they started to run. The creaks were becoming louder and dust flew off the old stairs. Then Lucie turned her head to see that a section of the stairs looked like cracks in ice. Theyl came to a sudden stop.

I'm starting to think risking our lives for your dad’s trick is not worth it,” Andy said in between gasping breaths.

Well we have gone too far to turn back,” Piper glared at Andy.

Then the cracked part of the stairway slowly sank down. It's going to fall! How have they not noticed yet?

Guys look over there!” Lucie said pointing at the sinking stairs. They turned their heads to look at the sight.

We better hurry up, the whole staircase might not have the supports to stay in place when that falls,” Piper whispered shakily.

Hey isn't that the attic door and the end of the stairway?” Andy said questionly.

We turned around and there it was.

We must have been so fixated on other stuff that we did not realize that it was there!”

Lucie walked up the remaining stairs trying not to think about the dangerous state they were in.

Come on guys I will need your help to get the attic open.”

They creeped up the remaining steps. Each of them supported one of Lucie’s feet so she could reach the thin piece of string hanging down.

I’ll go first,” Piper said confidently.

Okay, good luck. Hope you live,” Andy said dramatically. “This is no time to tease Andy.”

I wasn't teasing for your information”

Don't listen to him.”

Chapter Four Command Center

Piper made her way to the top just when a motion-activated light turned on.

Wow, your dad must have put a lot of energy into this room,” she said in a shocked voice. They both climbed up and Lucie nodded in agreement, shocked herself. I did not know dad was this talented. It feels like we're in a ufo. There was a metal counter running across the circular wall aligned with futuristic buttons and levers. There was a bright, but subtle, blue light shining through the gray black walls. It feels like we’re on another planet.

We should get to it. That over there looks like a cubby, did you notice that?”
Piper walked to the cubby and gripped her fingers around a small stick of wood that was hanging out.

It won't budge. There has to be some way to get it open.”

There must be a secret button somewhere, but where and why would he waste time like that?

Look around the room there must be something to unlock it.”

Andy replied with a hint of laughter in his voice, “why don't we try those buttons on the metal counter?”.

I know my dad well enough to know it would not be that obvious.”

He only glared at Lucie like she was insane.

They had been searching for awhile and still found nothing. Andy insisted they try the buttons on the metal counter.

I think it is here. On the face of the cabinet. It feels rounded and pushable,” Piper said excitedly.

It is probably a spot he forgot to sand down or something like that,” Andy said barely paying attention.

Dad never misses details like that. “He is not someone who does anything halfway.’’

He sighed and shook his head. Once Lucie had looked it over, they decided to press it to see if anything would happen. They chanted, “three, two, one”. She pressed the button and it flung open into her face sending her flying back. She toppled to the ground in stinging pain. When Piper turned around her eyes grew so wide Lucie thought they would pop out.

Chapter Five The Tricks

Lucie, are you ok?!”

She did not respond because her face felt numb. Every time she opened her mouth to speak she was greeted with discomfort. After wiping at her now bloody nose, they were able to inspect what was in the cabinet.

A tv?!”

Lucie could tell Andy was trying hard not to yell, “this was just a big waste of our time.” Piper started to search behind the back of the tv hoping there was something hidden, but there was nothing. Andy quickly found another button on the counter and pressed it.


The friends covered their ears from the sudden piercing sound. Once it stopped the tv screen blinked and came on. It read, “Warning, they have entered the building”.

That was perfect timing,” stated Piper.
“Let’s press this one. It has the number one on it, so it may be the first trick.”

That is your first good idea Andy,” remarked Piper while walking up to the counter.

The tv suddenly showed a screen of various camera recordings. Each one labeled with a trick like spider, ghost, worms, and reveal?. The first camera in the top left corner lit up and read, “press button one”.

I guess you were correct,” Piper said.

He glanced around as though suddenly nervous, then he pressed it. Hearing Jack’s voice our attention was drawn back to the tv.


Lucie, Andy, and Piper snickered and watched a labeled camera that read spider. They could see Jack and the others in the foyer. The front door had been shut behind them. The room was flooded with spiders. Lucie saw Nick and Joe running across the room with scrap pieces of wood held in their hands if a spider crawled too close. Jack was stuck in place yelling and hitting at the spiders that crawled up his legs.


Jack ran as fast as he could to the far corner of the room. There was a small door made of old wood. It was covered with caution tape. They ignored the signs and went through. Soon after box number two lit up.

Find a button with the number two and hurry,” Andy said.

Andy, look at your hand,” Piper said, almost laughing.

Oh, um, well let's press it.”

Once he had pressed the button they watched the second camera that was labeled ghost.

Lucie was intrigued by what was going to happen when she finally saw it. Fog came down from the walls filling the room to a point that they could just barely make out what was in the room. After the fog stopped pouring out of small holes in the walls, the small door that Jack and the others entered through closed. It banged shut, startling Jack and the others. The distinctive sound of the door locking from the other side could be heard. They were trapped. Jack whimpered in fear while making his way too an old couch in the center of the room to sit. A holographic ghost appeared and danced along the room. The slender and elongated shape had an evil laugh. Dark red eyes stared out of an empty face. It made Lucie’s skin crawl.

How did your dad do that? It’s like wizardry.” Piper said.

I think I know. You remember how he worked for Disney World on the Tower of Terror one time right?”

Yes. We all do and it still is my favorite ride,” Andy said.

Do you recall the part when the elevator is traveling up and a ghost appears without warning? My dad's idea was to create a ghost that unexpectedly came into view. He put two mirrors at a certain angle to each other. Then he positioned a projector to shine on the first mirror. It reflected onto the next that focused it into the middle of the room. I think he did the same thing here.”


The fog slowly dispersed to reveal that the “ghost” had disappeared. The three friends where standing motionless clearly shocked from what they had just seen. Once all of the fog disappeared we could see that the room had a few tattered couches, chairs, and an old leaning coffee table.

W...we need to find a way out,” Jack said.

Agreed,” whispered Nick.

What about over there?” Joe pointed to a large hole in the wall.

Jack stood up and without a word ran towards the hole and climbed through.

It does not lead outside. It is ANOTHER ROOM!”Jack yelled worriedly.

Nick and Joe stared at each other with nervously before standing and heading towards the jagged hole. The two climbed through it just as the light for the third trick turned on in front of Piper. That's odd. The third trick is showing two screens from multiple cameras this time.

Press the third button Andy and hurry,” Lucie said excitedly.

He nodded and pressed it. They all stared at the screens labeled “worm camera”. They were then watching Jack and the others make their way through a black and white checkered floor room. One of the black pieces of the floor dropped with Jack on it. He hollared as he dropped five feet before landing in something squishy, worms.


His friends run to his aid, but did not make it very far before dropping themselves. “EWW, FIND A WAY OUT!”.

The screen from the second camera showed the boys laying in the pool of worms. They made sickening sounds as slimy worms wiggled between their fingers. All of them struggled to stand up. Joe pointed out a ladder. They made their way to it, picking up their feet in odd ways to avoid as many worms as they could. Finally each of them made it to the ladder and climbed out of the room.

Chapter Six The Ending or a New Beginning

The tv in front of Lucie switched from the cameras to a recording of her dad. He says, “It's time to reveal yourselves. I will raise a side of the cabinet. There will be a slide, follow it down to find a door. Then you can join Jack.”

After the tv shut off a side of the cabinet raised up, opening to a spiraling slide.

It must go down to the room they are in,” Lucie guessed while dropping onto the slide. Andy and Piper were right behind her. Zipping down was exciting at first, but the constant turns were starting to make her dizzy. Finally light could be seen as the slide came to a stop, not in a room, but on the outside of the old house. They sped off the end into the backyard landing in a pile.

How did we not see the slide when we were in the back?” Andy asked.

All of the ivy growing on the house covered it,” Lucie responded.

Just then Jack, Nick, and Joe came out through a door hidden by the thick ivy.


He turned around so suddenly and charged towards Lucie, looking relieved. I wonder if he is truly happy to see me or he is just glad to be out of that place.

LUCIE! You don't know how happy I am to see you!”

Maybe I do,” she laughed while her brother hugged her tight. “I hope you didn't kill too many spiders.”

He stepped away gaping at me. “ knew. How?!”

Hmm, as a matter of fact I did. Everyone was in on it! We were growing tired your tricks. Dad did the engineering. Nick and Joe coaxed you here. Andy, Piper, and I activated the tricks from the attic.”

His shock faded into anger as he turned on his heel and stomped off.

Lucie couldn’t help but taunt him by calling out, “Hey, I think I have a new nickname for you, Worm Juice!”.

Lucie, look at the trees,” Piper interrupted urgently.

She looked over to the woods in curousity then saw what Piper meant. How? The trees where swaying in beat with each other, but there was no wind. The few leaves on them suddenly shriveled up and ripped themselves into pieces.

T..that’s not possible. We need to get out of here guys and I’m talking now!”

Everyone was frozen speechless until a scream of terror arose from the direction that Jack had stomped off.


Lucie did not think twice about running into the mysterious woods after her brother. NO, NO, NO where is he? Wait, shoe prints are in the mud over there. The trail of prints ended too suddenly.


She could hear the rushed feet of friends behind her, but she did not dare to look back.

Jack is this another prank!” Nick yelled.

No you guys, this is real,” Lucie said, holding back tears of worry

The sound of a tree falling and the branches braking filled the dreadful night air. Lucie walked towards the noise even though she did not want to. Please brother don’t be where the tree has fallen. She made it to a small bald patch of trees, perfectly circular. Staring up it was clear to see the moon was full and blood red. Today was not supposed to be a full moon nor a blood moon. Fog rolled in and quickly disappeared again to reveal the one thing in the moonlit grass. A torn note sat resting on a rock. Lucie ran to it with little hesitation and opened it. Leaves crunched under the feet of her approaching friends but she did not look up from the note. This can’t..How? No, no, no! This has to be a dream!

Continue to the 1st place story

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