“Well, I’m not either,” protested Reddy. “I knew he was only trying to scare me.”
After the boys had carried the apples up to the house Mother Brown looked them over and exclaimed:
“They’re just what I want, such fine strong stems.”
THE FUN BEGINS
At about half past seven o’clock that night the boys who had been invited to the party began to arrive at the Brown’s home where they were met at the door by a figure in white. It had queer rabbit ears, made from tying up the corners of a pillow slip that had been placed over its head. The eyes were holes cut in the slip.
The large hall was lighted by many candles set in hollowed-out pumpkins which had queer grinning faces cut in them.
“Wow, but this is spooky,” giggled Fat, at which the other boys laughed.
Now the figure in white, which was really Toad, asked the boys to follow him as he led them to Father Brown’s study. Here they were met by Chuck, also in white.
“Good evening, Mr. Ghost,” greeted Reddy, bowing low.
“How do,” nodded the ghost and Chuck could scarcely keep from laughing as he added in a deep voice, “Put on these slips and hurry up,” pointing to a pile of them on the floor.
“Oh, I know who you are,” laughed Fat, “but I won’t tell,” and he hastened to scramble into a pillow slip, which he twisted around his head until he got the slits for the eyes in the right place.
“My ears are longer than yours are,” boasted Herbie, as he danced about.
“All the better to hear you, my dear,” laughed Linn Smith.
As all were now ready, Chuck led the queer looking party of long-eared figures into the library where they were met by Father and Mother Brown dressed in black gowns with tall witches’ caps on their heads. There was a large black pot hanging in the fireplace and Mother Brown began to stir something in it with a long iron spoon.
Fat walked directly over to the fireplace and peeped into the pot.
“If ghosts had noses,” he sniffed, “I’d say that smelt awfully good.”
Father Brown now went about, pinning a number on each boy’s back.
“What’s that for?” asked Hopie.
“Well, you all look so much alike,” laughed Mr. Brown, “that I can’t tell you apart. And,” after a pause, “there’s going to be a prize for this game.”
“That’s great,” shouted Herbie, “hope I get it.”
Chuck now left the room, returning a moment later with a huge pumpkin which he placed on a chair in the corner.
“Who’s number one?” he asked, at the same time lifting high into the air the stem of the pumpkin, which had been cut off close to its base.
[Illustration: “Keep perfectly still,” whispered Chuck as Hopie came toward them.]
“I am,” announced Hopie Smith from his place before the fire where he had been helping Mother Brown stir the contents of the great black pot.