by Kashu Arashi

"Now remember what I told you." Quackers reached down and readjusted the witch hat perched between her daughter's ears. "Stick close to the little ones and don't wander off into the woods."

"I know, I know!" Baby Quackers sighed. Behind her Noodles and Doodles were arguing over who was the cuter bunny rabbit. "Can we go now? I want to get my treats!"

"With that attitude, you're lucky I let you go at all!" Her mother chided. "But yes, you may go."

"Yay! Come on you guys!" With out waiting for the two younger ponies, Baby Quackers picked up her pumpkin bucket and sprinted out the door. Just on the other side of the threshold she stopped and looked back impatiently. "C'mon! You're so slow!"

"Coming Kakers!" Noodles promised, picking up her little ghost bucket and trotting along. Doodles insisted on hopping, since she was a bunny.

Baby Quackers rolled her eyes at the antics of the younger ponies and, head held high, led them out into the black of night. Actually, it wasn't that black. The sun had just gone  down and its glow was still visible on the horizon. But it was dark enough for grand adventure, or so the baby ponies thought. "We have to go to Crumpet's LAST." Baby Quackers insisted firmly. "'Cause she's going to have the best stuff!"

"Cookies?" Doodles asked.

"Cupcakes?" Noodles added eagerly.

"AND hot chocolate!" Baby Quackers nodded. "She makes the best hot chocolate!"

"I wanna go NOW!" Noddles whined, bouncing up and down like the rabbit her sister was pretending to be.

"No!" Doodles scolded. "Save the bestest for lastest! Right Kakers?"

"Right!" Baby Quackers nodded. "So, we'll start closer to home. Let's try Sweet Tooth's first!"

The three little ponies raced off to gather their candy. As they went, they compared their loot. They all decided that Sweet Tooth was good, because she gave them all three candies apiece instead of the usual one. Scoops was another favorite. She only gave one cookie a piece, but they were big cookies and had extra sprinkles on top. Sugarberry was nice, but she gave them each a plain old apple (not even caramel dipped!) so they decided not to go back their next year. None of them found out what Mimic would have given them, since her vampire costume was so convincing, they all ran screaming before they could find out what she'd give them. Of course, the very realistic cemetery lining the way to the cottage, complete with cobwebs, huge plastic rats, and spooky voices saying "Beware! For the path you will take will lead to certain destruction!" had made them a bit jumpy.

"We should go back..." Baby Quackers looked back over her shoulder at the black plastic spiked gate across the path to Mimic's.

"Nuh-uh! It's SCARY!" Doodles protested, trying to hide behind her sister, which didn't work too well since Noodles was trying to hide behind her.

"'Sides, she probably didn' have treats!" Noodles added, obviously trying to sound brave. "Jus' tricks!"

Baby Quackers wasn't certain, but she didn't exactly want to go back through the cemetery on her own either, so she reluctantly agreed. "Okay...let's go to Crumpet's now!"

"Yay!" The twins jumped up and down a couple of times and ran off down the lane, both of them apparently forgetting about bunnies hopping. They both stopped dead at the edge of the little patch of forest between them and their final goal. Noodles looked up at their guide. "You don't think there's anything SCARY in there, do you Kakers?"

"Of course not!" Baby Quackers scoffed, tossing her head and nearly losing her hat as a result. "It's just the same ol' woods as always!"

"But it's Ha'o'een!" Doodles insisted, eyes wide. "There might be ghostses and goblinses!"

"Don't be silly!" With a light snort and a swish of her tail, Baby Quackers trotted off down the path. "I'M going to get cookies and cupcakes and hot chocolate! You scardy cats can stay there if you want!" The twins scampered after her, glancing around them as if expecting monsters to jump out at them the second they passed the first tree.

At first, it seemed like everything was going to be alright and the twins' fear was all groundless. About half way through the forest, however, the three of them heard a voice. It was a male voice, and quite familiar.

"That's Salty!" Noodles said sagely.

"Wha's he doing out here af'er dark?" Doodles asked, looking to Baby Quackers for an answer since, as the oldest, she was the holder of All Knowledge.

"I don't know." Baby Quackers blinked, slowing down. "What's he saying?"

"I will never bow to you, you fiend!" The voice declared.

Another voice, also lower, replied, chuckling evilly. "Oh ye' won't, won't ye'? We'll be seein' 'bout that, we will."

Baby Quackers blinked and whispered. "That sounds like Barnacle."

"But why is he being mean to Salty?" Noodles cowered against Doodles, who in turn tried to hide under Baby Quackers' black witch cape.

"Maybe he's been 'posstessded!"

"That's 'possessed' and I'm sure he's..." Baby Quackers' reply was cut short by the first voice again. It was starting to sound a bit uncertain.

"And just what do you think you're going to do to me, once you've bent me to your black and evil will?"

The second voice chuckled again, bordering on a cackle. "What? Oh, what indeed. Many, many things, me pretty. But ye' can be certain a' one thing...I'm goin' t' eat you alive."

That was enough for the three baby eavesdroppers. As one they screamed, broke, and ran, straight forward for the safety of Crumpet's house. When they got there, they pounded frantically on the front of the pumpkin door hanging, making it bounce and jiggle. It opened in fairly short order and a very surprised fairy Crumpet blinked down at them from behind her sequined mask. "Goodness! What's all the racket?"

All three babies started trying to talk at once.

"We were in the woods!" Baby Quackers started. "An we heard..."

"Salty's in trouble!" Noodles babbled. "Somthin's out there! 'Somethin'..."

"BARNACLE'S BEEN POSTESTED!" Doodles wailed, near to tears with fright. "HE SAID HE'S GONNA EAT SALTY LIVE!"

At the last proclamation, Crumpet's ears drooped. "...Going to eat Salty alive?"

"YES!" All three babies nodded vigorously.

Crumpet sighed. She winced. After trying to say something a couple of times, she stepped back out of the doorway. "Come in children. Have some snacks and some hot chocolate. Salty's going to be FINE. He and Barnacle are just..." Here she paused, wincing again, and Baby Quackers noticed she was blushing a little. "Playing...a game...that's it..."

"A Ha'o'een trick?" Noodles asked as she trotted into the snug, brightly lit safety of Crumpet's neat little cottage.

"Yes! Yes, exactly." Crumpet smiled, then coughed lightly. "So don't you worry about a thing. It's just...a trick." And as she turned to shut the door, Baby Quackers heard her mutter under her breath. "Why on earth am I the one dressed as a FAIRY tonight?"

The little pony witch opened her mouth to ask what the older pony had meant by that, but she was distracted by Doodles and Noodles proclaiming they were going to eat all of the goodies without her.