The path from the parking lot to the Haunted Hayride was rough and uneven. Maggie yelped as she tripped once again, grabbing at Henry's arm for support. Jasper swung the beam of his flashlight in front of her, illuminating the ground. "Jeez, Maggie, save the screams for the hayride," he said. She regained her balance and shoved him playfully.

"It's my shoes," she complained. "They're too tight." Jasper aimed the flashlight at her feet- she was wearing purple Converse.

"You got those this year, though," he pointed out. "How could you have outgrown them already?"

"I have big feet, alright?" He laughed, hopping over a vine from the nearby pumpkin patch. "Henry," she said, eager to change the subject, "you've celebrated Halloween before, right?"

"Hm," said Henry thoughtfully. "Day of the Dead, when we were staying in Mexico. But I don't think I've ever done Halloween before."

"You missed out on trick-or-treating?" she asked, frowning.

"What's 'trick-or-treating'?" he said, confused. Beside them, some enthusiastic kid dressed as a pirate brandished his "bloody" plastic knife to Jasper and grinned. Jasper slid closer to Maggie.

"It's a Halloween tradition where young children dress up in scary costumes and walk around their neighborhood begging their neighbors for candy," explained Jasper. Henry opened his mouth to say something, but Jasper cut him off. "No, it's not like when we go to Maggie's place to steal her M&M's."

"Hey," said Henry, "is that what those kids in the Snickers commercial are talking about?" Recently, Henry and Jasper had become obsessed with a Halloween candy ad in which two boys disguised themselves as a woman and tried to convince someone in their neighborhood to buy Snickers. They quoted it constantly, much to Maggie's annoyance.

"Yes," said Maggie.

"And," added Jasper, "that's also why Dad has been stockpiling candy."

"Which you've been stealing," Henry pointed out.

"Jasper," said Maggie, "you know what happens when you don't have any candy to give out." Last year Maggie had tried to hand out celery sticks covered in peanut butter instead of sweets ("It's a delicious, healthy snack!"), and her house had gotten TP'd.

"Except my house is safe," said Jasper, "because nobody wants to get in trouble with the dean."

"Not to mention that they're all afraid of Henry going all jungle boy on them," laughed Maggie. Henry glanced up distractedly.


"Nothing," said Jasper, jogging up to the end of the line for the hayride. "This is gonna be…" He looked at Henry. "Dopey."

"Yeah, it is!" he agreed. They waited in line for a long time, Jasper and Maggie dancing to "Monster Mash" and "Thriller" and Henry asking questions about fog machines and fake cobwebs and scarecrows. Finally, they reached the front of the line, had their tickets punched, and boarded the rickety wagon.

"So," said Jasper, "we're in agreement that, if any of the chainsaw killers come after us, we offer up Maggie?" She rolled her eyes and kicked him. The ride began, a man in a ball cap driving a tractor that pulled them along. A woman in zombie make-up was standing at the front, narrating the ride to the passengers.

"First, we'll be going through the old haunted graveyard," she said. "And remember, there's always a chance that something might… jump out!" Across the cart, a girl buried her face into her boyfriend's sweater. They passed through the graveyard, several Styrofoam headstones lit by a small bulb embedded in the ground and surrounded by fake smoke. Nothing happened. "I guess you're lucky tonight," said the guide. "Let's see if your luck holds out."

They traveled through the "slaughterhouse", the "voodoo lady's house", and "Farmer Henderson's cornfield," and nobody popped out to surprise them. Maggie was a little relieved, Henry was baffled, and Jasper was wondering if they could get a refund. Throughout the ride, the woman at the front became more and more agitated. They were almost finished with the ride when they all realized that something was wrong. No one was coming. The guide stopped the tractor for a moment and mumbled something into her Walkie-talkie. They all sat still, waiting, listening.

Suddenly, Henry stood up and leaned over the side of the wagon. "Sir," started the woman, but he shook her off.

"I hear something," he said.

"Bat ears," muttered Jasper. Henry was staring ahead at the dark forest.

"Somebody's out there!" Despite the zombie woman's protests, Henry swung over the side of the wagon and hopped down into the mud. As he crouched to catch his fall, a pale hand swiped out from beneath the wagon and grabbed his leg. Henry yelled and jumped back, sliding into the mud. A man covered in stage make-up stood up from under the wagon, laughing at Henry. Jasper and Maggie were cracking up, and Henry was flustered and mad.

"You see," said the zombie woman, helping him back up into the cart, "we take our 'keep your hands and feet inside the vehicle at all times' rule seriously here." Henry grimaced, apologized, and sat down between Maggie and Jasper.

"Sorry, Henry," said Maggie, still smiling.

"Yeah," agreed Jasper, "sorry you keep falling for it every time something like this happens to you." Henry rolled his eyes, leaned back, and resolved to just enjoy the ride.

A/N: Yes, yes, the awesome Snickers commercial gets a cameo.

Attempting NaNoWiMo this year for the first time, so there is a very, very good chance that I won't be updating fanfiction at all in November. If anyone else is also on there, buddy me! I'm Duck Life there, too.