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How to Scare a Zombie


Read this spine-tingling story from A Year of Mini Mysteries with your girl, then visit us on Facebook or Instagram to tell us your best “whodunit” theory!


“WANT . . . BRAINS,” moaned Charlotte in her zombie voice, stomping stiff-legged across Brooklyn’s bedroom.

“People don’t usually give those to trick-or-treaters around here,” quipped Alex, who was dressed as a mermaid and painting elaborate tiger stripes on Brooklyn’s face.

“BRAAAAINS!” repeated Charlotte.

“I’d give you Dale’s brain, but he hasn’t got one,” said Brooklyn, inspecting her reflection approvingly. “I can’t believe he planned a sleepover for the same night I did!”

“Dale’s not that bad,” laughed Charlotte, resuming her normal voice.

“Yep. He’s worse,” Brooklyn replied.

“We’re still going to have an amazing night!” Charlotte assured her. In two years of living abroad, she’d missed Halloween a lot. And the Patricks’ house was the perfect place to spend it, she thought later as she and her friends stepped into the twilight, where jack-o’-lanterns winked from porches and costumed creatures prowled the sidewalks.

The girls trick-or-treated until their buckets were almost too heavy to carry, and then lugged them back to Brooklyn’s.

“That was awesome!” said Charlotte, admiring the pile of treats on the kitchen table.

“Beyond awesome,” Brooklyn agreed.

“Yum! Peanut butter cups!” A giant furry paw reached over Brooklyn’s shoulder.

“HEY!” she cried, looking up to see a werewolf leaning over her. Dracula and Frankenstein stood behind the werewolf, staring hungrily at the candy.

“Hi, Dale,” said Alex. “Hey, Max. Who’s that?”

Dale’s friend Lucas slid the Frankenstein mask up to his forehead and dropped into the chair next to her. “Whoa, good haul!”

“Best ever,” said Brooklyn proudly. “Bet you wish you’d trick-or-treated instead of going to that costume party.”

Dale sat down next to Charlotte. “Can I have a piece of bubble gum?”

“Okay . . . sure,” she said.

Charlotte usually felt shy around Brooklyn’s big brother and his friends, and tonight was no different, despite the costumes.

“Hey, if you’ll share your candy, we’ll let you watch a scary movie with us.”

“Excellent!” said Alex.

“What movie?” asked Brooklyn suspiciously.

Looking Glass,” said Max. “These kids do a séance and invite this spirit named Prudence in through an old mirror.”

“I’ve been wanting to see that!” Alex exclaimed.

“What do you say, Char?” Dale grinned at her. “You’re the tiebreaker.”

“Um, okay,” Charlotte stammered. “I guess I can leave the room if I get scared.”

“That’s the spirit,” Dale beamed. “Get it? Spirit!”


To Charlotte’s relief, the movie wasn’t too creepy. The boys’ jokes after every jump-scare made it seem almost silly. Even Brooklyn laughed in spite of herself.

“See? Your brother’s not so bad,” Charlotte said later as they headed to the second-floor bathroom to get ready for bed.

“Trust me, he is,” Brooklyn replied.

Alex was reaching for the knob when the door burst open and all three boys piled out.

“Go ahead . . . if you dare,” Dale said with a sly smile.

“What do you mean?” asked Alex.

“Nothing,” said Max mysteriously.

“Did you put soap on my toothbrush again?” Brooklyn demanded.

Dale shook his head.

“My hairbrush?”

“I didn’t touch your stuff,” said Dale.

“He’s always doing weird things with soap,” Brooklyn explained.

“If you must know, we were holding a séance to try to make Prudence appear,” Dale said.

“But no luck . . . so far,” Max sighed. Then the boys burst into laughter.

“Night-night, ladies,” said Lucas, shutting Dale’s bedroom door.

The girls brushed their teeth and scrubbed off their Halloween makeup. But the zombie patches Alex had given Charlotte were still stuck to her arms.


“Could I take a shower?” she asked. “Otherwise, I’m not sure this stuff will come off.”

“Sure,” said Brooklyn. “Towels are in the cabinet.”

When her friends left the bathroom, Charlotte climbed into the antique claw-foot tub. The room was warm and steamy, and the hot water felt good on her shoulders. Still, the creaks of the old house sounded eerie to Charlotte, who was used to her snug, modern apartment.

“Don’t be scared,” she whispered to herself as she wrapped up in a towel and pushed the shower curtain aside. “Brooklyn’s family spends every night here and nothing creepy ever happ—AAAGHHH!!!!”

Brooklyn and Alex heard Charlotte’s scream and raced to the rescue.


Charlotte pointed a trembling finger at the fogged-up mirror. In its center was a ghostly message: Let me out! Prudence.

“The door was closed the whole time!” Charlotte wailed.

Who wrote the message and how did Brooklyn know?


Visit or americangirlbrand on Instagram to tell us your theories!


Excerpted from A Year of Mini Mysteries: 29 Tricky Tales to Untangle by Kathy Passero.
© 2017, 2018 American Girl. All American Girl marks are trademarks of American Girl.

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