With yellow porch lights casting an eerie glow and Mrs. Bridwell answering the door in a witch's costume, David's trick-or-treating promises to be shivery enough. Then his friends dare him to ring the doorbell of ""the Old Mother Witch,"" reclusive Mrs. Oliver next door, and on her porch he stumbles against a body--Mrs. Oliver dead!--and runs home panicked. Of course it turns out that she isn't dead after all and David can take credit for her getting to the hospital in time. In retrospect David admits that his experience makes ""all that Halloween scary stuff"" seem silly, but his jarring return to reality has a touching, and humanizing, coda--both David and Mrs. Oliver are too embarrassed by what happened to meet each other face to face. A story that might have been tastelessly didactic is softened here by that mood of gentle sobriety at which the Carricks excel.