ATTACK OF THE JACK-O’-LANTERNS by R.L. Stine โ€” ๐ŸŽƒ

Twelve-year-old Drew Brockman loves Halloweโ€™en. Too bad it keeps getting ruined by local bullies, Tabby and Lee, whose idea of a perfect All Hallowsโ€™ Eve consists of playing mean-spirited pranks on Drew and her friends. Drew vows that this Halloweโ€™en will be different, though, having spent the better part of the year coming up with the perfect trick to play on the tween tormentors โ€” one that involves her friends, twins Shane and Shana, dressing up as particularly ghastly pumpkin-headed figures. The siblings seem to get too into their spooky roles, however, and the joke quickly gets out of hand, threatening to ruin yet another Halloweโ€™en. Only this time Drew fears that it may be for good….

โ—‹

Itโ€™s not a proper spooky season in this house until I pick up a ๐˜Ž๐˜ฐ๐˜ฐ๐˜ด๐˜ฆ๐˜ฃ๐˜ถ๐˜ฎ๐˜ฑ๐˜ด book or two. Itโ€™s one of the traditions I look forward to the most. I never read the books as a kid, but I did watch some of the show, and so I consider these precious, goofy books time capsules, allowing me a brief glimpse back to a time for which I am exceedingly, embarrassingly nostalgic. I am a โ€˜90s kid, what can I tell you?

Iโ€™m still working my way through the series (should read more than a couple a year, maybe), so Iโ€™ve only read a handful of the books. ๐‘จ๐’•๐’•๐’‚๐’„๐’Œ ๐’๐’‡ ๐’•๐’‰๐’† ๐‘ฑ๐’‚๐’„๐’Œ-๐‘ถ’-๐‘ณ๐’‚๐’๐’•๐’†๐’“๐’๐’” did not turn out to be a favorite, but it is a very solid entry. The characters are annoying as anything, sure, but in that charming ha-ha-all-kids-are-maniacs kind of way that Stine is so good at portraying. Itโ€™s set on Halloweโ€™en. It features pumpkin-headed monsters. I donโ€™t need much to enjoy a ๐˜Ž๐˜ฐ๐˜ฐ๐˜ด๐˜ฆ๐˜ฃ๐˜ถ๐˜ฎ๐˜ฑ๐˜ด.

One of the episodes of the TV show I remember the most was called โ€œAwesome Antsโ€ (curiously not adapted from any book of the original series, but from a later short story instead). It featured a memorable and preposterous ending that had โ€” uhh spoilers I guess โ€” an entire suburban neighborhood enclosed in glass, with gigantic ants towering over the new human vivarium. It stuck with me because it played into some of my more particular anxieties: of being perpetually stuck in a singular space; of being intensely creeped out by North American suburbs consisting of countless identically bland houses. The climax of ๐˜‘๐˜ข๐˜ค๐˜ฌ-๐˜–’-๐˜“๐˜ข๐˜ฏ๐˜ต๐˜ฆ๐˜ณ๐˜ฏ๐˜ด involves a similar setting and situation, and I appreciated the skeeved-out feeling it gave me.ย 

I watched the television adaptation of this for the first time last year and it was perfectly terrible.

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