Tuesday, April 28, 2009

“She was hysterical. Completely and totally hysterical……”BSC Mystery # 22: Stacey and the Haunted Masquerade

Memory Reaction

I may have actually thought this plot was kind of cool. It is completely preposterous and makes no sense, but I thought it was cool, nonetheless. I actually really liked Stacey in it. I was probably actually 13 by the time it came out, and wished I had her life. (As opposed to expecting I would have the life of the BSC girls, like when I was younger).

I DO remember being bothered by the premise that the school was having the first Halloween “masquerade” dance in over twenty years, because there had been like five Halloween dances in previous BSC books. I mean, it was the PLOT of several books, right? The phantom phone call one, the one with Mary Anne and the chain letter, the one with Kristy and a secret admirer…Or are they saying a “Masquerade” is different than a regular Halloween dance where you wear costumes?

Revisited Reaction

The school is having a “Masquerade” dance and it is a big deal, because they haven’t had one for a long time (again, whatever) and there are rumors something bad happened at the last one. Stacey joins the decorating committee because she wants to be more involved at school. She likes it and has a lot of good ideas and everyone except Cokie Mason likes them. Because apparently Stacey has a creative side too.

Meanwhile, a bunch of weird pranks start happening at school – funny announcements being made, things being written on the boards in classrooms, the school getting TPed, etc. It all starts the day after the new kid, Cary Retlin shows up, but no one wonders if it could be him. Cause, they are idiots, I guess. Anyway, these pranks bleed into sabotage of the decorations for the dance – posters get ripped up and someone strings up a dummy from the basketball hoop in the gym. There is also some old guy writing letters to the town paper about how the town should not spend money on school dances because of what happened in the past.

This gets the BSC to start looking into what happened at the dance 28 years ago. They find out that there was some prank that led to a black out, and a teacher had a heart attack and died in the panic that followed. But no one really knows the details of the prank, just that a girl left school after. The BSC manages to find out the name of the girl who left school and coincidentally, she lived in Charlotte Johanssen’s house. Imagine that! So, while baby-sitting, Stacey and Mary Anne manage to find an old note in the basement that this girl wrote revealing that she was in love with a guy….who has the same name is a new teacher at school, Mr. Rotham. Wow, can you believe the coincidences!

So, Stacey actually asks Rotham about it, and instead of telling her to mind her own business, the guy tells her the story. He was some football player and was playing some prank on a girl that involved asking the outcast to a dance and then laughing at her. Basically like Carrie, but without the pig’s blood. And he felt bad about it (but still did it).

No one has figured out who is sabotaging the decorations, but the dance goes on. It seems fine, and then suddenly there is this weird woman there with a cloak. Instead of seeing anything cool happen, we cut to the next day, and the BSC explaining what happened to Shannon: The woman was the person who was ‘wronged’ as a girl and had been in mental hospitals ever since. Rotham led her out of the dance and “got her help.” I don’t know how I feel about the idea that some chick went crazy because some losers made fun of her in eighth grade. I mean, they say she was “unbalanced” to begin with, but still. Oh, and Stacey figures out that Cary Retlin is behind the fun pranks at school.


  • Like I said, I like Stacey’s attitude in this. She is thinking of “couples” ideas for her and Robert to wear to the dance, but then decides if Robert doesn’t want to dress up, she’ll just go as Marilyn Monroe or Wonder Woman because she wants to go in costume.
  • Just because Dawn lives in California doesn’t make Mary Anne an only child….she still has stepsiblings even if they don’t live with her.
  • Stacey’s ideas for the dance decorations are to use red and purple instead of orange and black and to use the Aadams family as a theme. The red and purple is kind of different, but the Aadams family theme seems a little cliché.
  • Grace Blume outfit: “Thermal leggings and a blue plaid flannel shirt.” I totally had outfits like that in eighth grade.
  • Stacey says it is a miracle for Claud to have made five posters and only made one mistake (spelling-wise). I pretty much agree with that.
  • Oh, there is this stupid Ghostbusters theme, where all the kids are insisting on going on “ghost hunts” in their houses. It is lame, and I am not even going to bother thinking about if kids would really be into Ghostbusters in 1994ish. I don’t think so though. But anyway, this is the excuse to search Charlotte’s house.
  • I call bullshit on finding a note from the last person who lived in a house. I don’t care if it is in the basement/attic/etc. Don’t people clean?
  • Everyone shows their personality a little with their costumes:
  • Stacey: Mortica Aadams (Robert was Gomez)
  • Mary Anne: Dorothy
  • Jessi: Cowgirl
  • Mal: Ballerina (she and Jessi switched at the last minute)
  • Abby: Lucy Riccardo
  • Kristy: Amelia Earheart
  • Claud: A giant twinkie (seriously!)
  • The girls take a bunch of little kids trick-or-treating….I don’t know, maybe I was a dork, but I went trick-or-treating myself all through high school. My senior year we had a car and drove around to as many neighborhoods as we could.
  • Stacey and Claud talk about watching the movie Carrie….Um, isn’t that rated R?
  • When telling the story about this girl from the dance, they say she didn’t know her fairy princess costume was silly. But Claudia goes as a Twinkie. What sounds worse to you?
  • Cokie lies to the art teacher and takes credit for Stacey’s ideas to get to work on some special project. Grace backs her up, but no one bothers to ask Rotham (the advisor) or the other five people who worked on the committee. I guess, I liked Stacey in this book up until then when she stopped sticking up for herself, just because she liked the normalness of Cokie plotting against them.
  • I kind of like how the BSC doesn’t really solve this mystery. They find out what happened at the last dance, but they don’t figure out who is causing the damage, and they don’t stop the crazy woman from showing up. It is a lot more realistic than the ones where they have an impact on a police investigation.


Lisa said...

Thanks so much for this recap! I came across this in an elementary school classroom when I was like 11, but I never got the chance to read it and I always kind of wondered what it was about.

Maybe the difference between a "masquerade" and a Halloween dance is that at a masquerade (a real-life one, anyway) everyone is supposed to be masked no matter their costume, so the guests can have fun trying to guess who's who. Often there's a grand unmasking at midnight as well.

I trick-or-treated up through my senior year in high school too! My friends and I didn't drive around, but our neighborhood had a lot of ground to cover. (And sad as it is, I knew kids in 6th grade who had already seen R-rated movies, so the Carrie thing isn't all that surprising to me.) 8-)

Devika said...

Haha omg! I think I was over BSC when this book came out, but I'm going to have to find it! It's weird too, because my boyfriend and I wanted to be Morticia and Gomez Addams for Halloween this year! I'm surprised Stacey and Robert didn't go as Lucy and Ricky Ricardo, considering she's the world's biggest "I Love Lucy" fan or something...

Anonymous said...

I readily admit to trick-or-treating through college. Though in college it turned into beer-or-treating.

And I don't find it that odd to find crap from previous owners in one's home. I recently came across a whole mess of paperwork from the folks I bought my house from. Apparently their ne'er-do-well teenage daughter was not only failing several classes at her conservative Christian high school, she was also sleeping with three or four guys, two of whom are now deployed overseas ...

HelenB said...

The thought of a giant twinkie just makes me hungry. It also makes me want to say, "On anyone else it would have looked unappetising, but on Claudia it looked totally delicious."

SJSiff said...

I trick-or-treated through junior year of high school. Free candy? I'm there.

nikki said...

LOL at HelenB's comment!

Yvonne said...

First: I love this blog!

Other stuff: I think the last year I went trick-or-treating was in 9th grade. I had some awful bleached hair at the time, found an awful pink dress at the Goodwill, and went as Courtney Love. Seriously.

Also, when I was a kid (elementary age) my favorite movies were "Halloween" and "Nightmare on Elm Street," both rated R. Maybe that's the root of all my psychological problems... ;)

Kathryn said...

This was my favorite BSC mystery when I was a kid... seconded only by Stacey and empty house mystery...

My mystery solving skills haven't improved much as I've aged, either.

Love your blog much :)

Mouse said...

Y'know I wasn't much of a Stacey fan but I lost count how many times I read this mystery. I loved this mystery so much even if in real life, even now, I would have pissed my pants when faced with something like this.

maria said...

Helen B. HILARIOUS comment! :)

I haven't read this one yet.

I recently found about 30 BSC books at a used book store. Jackpot!

Oh, and I also read the first book in the Friends Forever series. Heartbreaking. I won't say why so I don't spoil the book for you guys.
I think I read this book when I was still a tween and into BSC. I didn't think I had, but it all sounded so familiar to me as I was reading it. I'm thinking the contents of this book were too much for my 11 yr old mind and I unconsiously blocked them from my memory.
Change is bad. BSC forever! LOL

BSC Snarker, aka Kristen said...

Maria, I haven't found any Friends Forever books yet...although I have a feeling I'll be heartbreaking reading them too.

sweetsapphire83 said...

Helen B.- Looong overdue, but LOL!

This is in my top five favorite mysteries. I constantly reread this book because no matter how many times I've read it, it never gets old. Gigundoly awesome revisitation.

Amanda Blanchette said...

Am I the only one uncomfortable at how friendly Stacey and this teacher are. Seriously she is one step away from sleeping with her teachers. I don't know I don't like Stacey...though I do appreciate her standing up for herself. I just had a problem with the teacher student thing.