All the little kids are excited that Mr. Fowler decided to throw a big Halloween party for them at Hathway Manor, a supposedly haunted house. Lila doesn't seem quite as thrilled as everyone else, and even though she's shaking in her shoes, she refuses to say that she's scared of ghosts. It turns out that the ghost who haunts the house is Laura Hathway, who was an invalid and once lived there.
The day of the party arrives, and everyone shows up. They find a portrait of Laura, and it turns out that she looks just like Lila. Lila dresses up an in an old Victorian costume, and she acts just as scared as she did before. Elizabeth goes as a tiger cat, Jessica goes as a genie, and one of the other kids dresses up like a turtle.
The party only takes place on the first floor, but some kids sneak away. They head back downstairs, go through a haunted room, and wind up outside. Elizabeth looks up and sees a light in the window, which everyone thinks is the ghost. They decide to sneak up stairs and check things out. Once up there, they hear a strange noise and run away in fear.
Lila realizes that she lost her necklace, and she has to go after it because she promised her dad she wouldn't lose it. They manage to find an old bookcase that slides open to reveal a hidden doorway. It turns out that Charlie and Jerry went through the doorway and couldn't get out. They were the ones making the weird noises.
The two boys act like big heroes until Todd points out that they got saved by some girls. The twins stick around after the party so Alice can talk to Lila's dad and thank him for throwing such a great party. When they go outside, they see a light flickering in the upstairs window. Elizabeth realizes that it was the same light she saw earlier, which means that the house really was haunted.
*It's actually kind of cute to see the characters acting like real kids. Elizabeth, Todd, and Winston are playing a game in the beginning where they pretend that a florescent light up toy is an alien ray gun.
*Is it bad that when I looked at the cover, I knew the genie was Jessica because it was the slutiest of the costumes?
*There's a mention of the twins dressing alike one day and how they don't always do that, but the SVT books make it clear that they always dressed alike until sixth grade.
*Lila's necklace was a family heirloom, and her dad didn't want her to wear it, which was why she freaked out when it went missing.
*The reason Mr. Fowler rents the house is because his wife was somehow related to the family. Yeah, that totally makes sense. She ran off and left when Lila was a baby, had no contact with her for years, and yet he thinks it's a good idea to expose Lila to that crap.
*There's a picture of the house at the end of the book, and I'm pretty sure that I wouldn't take one step in that house if I was in second grade.