Ghouls Explore the World of Ice Cream

Video ghouls don't scoop ice cream

Unraveling the Mysterious Employee at Burger Doodle

Authors: Debbie Dadey and Marcia Thornton Jones

Illustrator: John Steven Gurney

There’s something peculiar about the adults in Bailey City. In “Ghouls Don’t Scoop Ice Cream,” the Bailey School Kids embark on a thrilling adventure to uncover the truth behind the new worker at Burger Doodle. With her pale complexion and melancholic eyes, could she be a ghoul spying for a vampire family? Let’s join the Bailey School Kids as they dig deeper!

“Scout said she works for a family,” Liza mentioned nervously. “Maybe it’s a whole family of vampires.”

“You really think a whole batty family is going to descend upon Bailey City once they find the perfect hideout through their ghoulish spy?” Eddie scoffed.

Howie’s eyes lit up. “Mrs. Jeepers must be bringing more vampires to Bailey City.”

Eddie rolled his eyes. “That’s a load of nonsense. After all, ghouls don’t scoop ice cream.”

“The Bailey School Kids” is a young adult horror series, slightly lesser-known than Goosebumps, but just as captivating. Geared towards a younger audience, these books are short and feature illustrations to enhance the reading experience.

Each book revolves around four main characters: sensible Melody, intelligent Howie, fearful Liza, and the ever-annoying Eddie. Together, they find themselves surrounded by peculiar and eerie adults who may or may not be supernatural creatures.

Is the art teacher, with her unusual appearance and braces, an alien trying to drain Earth’s colors? Could the lunch lady, bearing a striking resemblance to Bette Midler, actually be Cupid serving love potions for Valentine’s Day? And what about Mr. Jenkins, the energetic camp counselor with a penchant for rare burgers and nighttime walks—is he a werewolf?

The fascinating aspect of this series is that the children can neither prove nor disprove the existence of monsters, ghosts, aliens, or any other mysterious beings they encounter.

The only recurring character is their teacher, Mrs. Jeepers, a redheaded Eastern European woman who loves polka dots. Rumored to be a vampire, she is said to possess magical powers through a green brooch on her collar, enabling her to walk in sunlight.

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This series gained quite a reputation due to its outrageously entertaining book covers from the original print run. The shocked expressions on the kids’ faces piqued readers’ curiosity.

While I used to own several of these books, I eventually passed them on, deemed too old for such tales (my mom was not pleased when I purchased one from Barnes & Noble during my middle school years). However, I recently reacquired “Ghouls Don’t Scoop Ice Cream,” as it was one of my favorites. I couldn’t resist reliving the nostalgia and appreciating the original cover art.

[Wing: That cover is adorable. I’ve never read any of these books, so I’m excited to see what this series brings to the table.]

In this particular adventure, Eddie, Melody, Liza, and Howie find themselves burdened with a hundred math problems for homework. Liza, disappointed that her evening of reading will be postponed, suggests they visit Burger Doodle for milkshakes to lift their spirits.

(Even the name “doodlegum shake” sounds unappealing. I’m with Howie on this—math problems can be fun.)

As the friends make their way to the local burger joint, Eddie complains about the excessive homework. Howie remarks how other third-grade students don’t have the misfortune of having Mrs. Jeepers, their possibly vampiric teacher. Despite their suspicions, the kids have never been able to confirm Mrs. Jeepers’ true nature. Her supposed ability to withstand sunlight is attributed to the magical powers of her green brooch.

Upon arriving at Burger Doodle, they are taken aback by the appearance of Scout, the new employee. With her pale complexion, dark hair, and bloodshot eyes, she exudes an air of perpetual exhaustion. Wearing a nametag that identifies her as “SCOUT,” she proceeds to take their order with a slow, almost lethargic demeanor. The kids settle in a booth and start discussing the enigmatic Scout.

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Liza believes there’s something off about her, while Eddie dismisses her peculiar appearance and attributes it to sickness. However, the friends are taken aback when they witness Scout indulging in an unconventional snack—a single scoop of red ice cream drenched in dark red syrup. Strangely, she doesn’t use a spoon, instead opting to drink the concoction directly from the bowl.

The kids can’t help but feel repulsed by her unorthodox table manners, and Liza is horrified by the resemblance of the dripping syrup to blood. Just as they’re contemplating Scout’s behavior, Carey, the wealthy classmate, enters Burger Doodle and joins them at their table. Carey shares details about her family’s new house on Olympus Lane, boasting of its size and proximity to a cemetery.

(The idea of living next to a cemetery excites me. Imagine the eerie beauty of it all!)

Suddenly, Scout drops an ice cream scoop and eagerly questions Carey about her new neighborhood. Mentioning the nearby cemetery and scarcity of houses excites Scout, as it aligns with what her employers—a mysterious family—seek in a new home. Scout retreats behind the counter and starts speaking into a small tape recorder, leaving the kids bewildered about her true intentions.

The next day at school, the kids discuss their encounter with Scout. Liza fears for Eddie’s safety, suspecting Scout may target him for information about Ruby Cave—an ideal location that Scout believes aligns with her employers’ preferences. Eddie, unmoved by the potential danger, believes Scout is just an odd ice cream worker, not a fictional ghoul.

Howie, however, affirms Liza’s suspicions, suggesting that Scout works for Mrs. Jeepers’ vampire family. Eddie protests and reminds them that they often jump to conclusions, assuming everyone they encounter is a monster.

Melody playfully chides Eddie, remarking that if their assumptions were true, they would have caged him long ago. Eddie retorts, and the banter ensues.

Unfazed by Eddie’s skepticism, Liza proposes that they return to Burger Doodle to gather more information about Scout. After school, they make their way back to the restaurant, ensuring they behave inconspicuously. To their surprise, they spot Mrs. Jeepers, who hands Scout a small notebook before leaving. Eddie questions the odd connection between Mrs. Jeepers and Scout, while Melody wonders why a trusted teacher would need a spy.

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Melody suggests that Mrs. Jeepers wouldn’t require a spy since she already knows everyone in Bailey City. However, Liza speculates that Scout may be working for an entire vampire family, not exclusively Mrs. Jeepers. Eddie skeptically ponders the likelihood of vampires suddenly descending on Bailey City.

Howie believes that Scout’s role is to locate a suitable home for more vampires to infiltrate the city. Eddie decides to confront Scout directly, intending to drink her red syrup as proof that she isn’t a ghoul but merely a bizarre individual.

Melody warns against approaching Scout as it may escalate the situation, but Eddie presses on. He boldly asks Scout about the family she works for, to which she cryptically responds that their identity is a secret. They seek a house with stone walls, no windows, and no neighbors—a cave-like dwelling, essentially. Eddie playfully mentions Ruby Cave, a local landmark, catching Scout’s attention.

As Scout reaches out towards Eddie, the kids swiftly pull him away from the Burger Doodle, running until they find themselves in the nearby cemetery. Liza questions their actions, and Eddie insists there’s nothing wrong with asking innocent questions about house hunting. Howie suggests that ghouls don’t abide by human laws, adding to the tension.

Eddie mocks the idea of Scout being a threat until Liza covers his mouth, fearing for his safety. She believes Scout would love to have Eddie for a snack.

(Eddie: All lives ma- / Liza: NO)

Eddie arrogantly claims that Scout’s happiness isn’t his concern. Liza empathizes, contemplating the melancholy life of a ghoul. Eddie continues with his jokes, even as Melody reminds him how difficult it can be when one is sad and lacks friends. Eddie retorts, stating that no one feels sorry for him, despite him being surrounded by crazy people. Liza points out that Scout hasn’t smiled since they met her.

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In that moment, Howie proposes a brilliant plan!

Howie ventures alone to Burger Doodle, leaving his friends confused about his intentions. He reveals that he knows how to save Bailey City, much to their surprise. Melody expresses concern, fearing that if Scout is truly a ghoul, their approach should be to run away, not head straight toward her. What could they possibly do to scare off a vampire’s ghoul?

Howie agrees with their concerns but asserts that it’s time for “Operation Eddie.” Eddie mistakes the name for some invasive medical procedure, given Howie’s aspirations of becoming a doctor. The kids are perplexed until Howie explains that they will unleash Eddie’s comedic prowess to charm and ultimately scare off Scout.

Howie explains that ghouls abhor laughter and all things amusing, focusing solely on doom and gloom. [Wing: But … but why?] Eddie, the class clown, is the perfect candidate to accomplish this mission. The group rushes home to prepare their grand plan, reconvening at Burger Doodle in half an hour.

Arriving at Burger Doodle, the first to enter are Howie and the girls, all dressed for the occasion.

(They truly look ridiculous—almost as if they’re auditioning for a circus act.)

Scout, however, remains unfazed by their peculiar attire. She greets them with her usual stoicism, asking if they would like another shake. Melody responds by bursting into song, while Liza and Howie dance their hearts out. They perform exaggerated dance moves, flapping their arms and even using rubber chickens. Scout maintains her poker face, uninterested in their shenanigans.

(Even the sight of these wild antics fails to crack a smile from Scout.)

Eddie takes center stage, standing on a nearby table, and launches into a series of jokes to provoke a reaction from Scout. However, all he receives are dismissive nods and shrugs. Undeterred, Eddie brings out his heavy artillery—a chocolate syrup ladle and a whipped cream hose. Chaos ensues as Eddie inadvertently drenches himself in syrup and cream, unable to control the hose. The kids become covered in sweet toppings as well.

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But then, something unexpected happens.

Scout’s lips curl upward. Oh my goodness, she’s starting to giggle! Eddie seizes the opportunity to tell one final joke before using the whipped cream to mimic Jim Belushi from “Animal House.”

Right at that moment, Mrs. Jeepers enters Burger Doodle and finds herself in the line of fire.

The sight of her face covered in whipped cream causes Scout to lose all self-control, breaking into laughter.

(Even her nametag looks shocked.)

The following day at Burger Doodle, the kids discover that Scout is no longer there. Instead, a pimple-faced teenager named Skip mans the counter. Liza confesses her fear that Mrs. Jeepers would harm Eddie after the incident. Eddie insists that he didn’t mean any harm and got carried away. Although the kids had to clean up the mess they made, Howie is relieved that their plan worked and Scout is now gone.

Melody, curious about Howie’s reasoning, asks how he knew it would be successful.

Howie grins mischievously. “Don’t you know how to cheer up a blue monster?”

Perplexed, his three friends shake their heads. Howie bursts into laughter. “You make it laugh!”

(Liza promptly shuts Eddie up.)

So, was Scout truly a ghoul working for Mrs. Jeepers’ vampire family? Or was she simply an unhappy young woman trying to make ends meet in an unfortunate job?

Regardless, her fate remains uncertain. If she was, indeed, a ghoul, one can only speculate on the consequences of her laughter in front of Mrs. Jeepers. Alternatively, Scout may have been fired for allowing the kids to turn the Burger Doodle into a sticky mess.

Oh, kids, what have you done?

[Wing: And that is why kids are terrible. The end. Although I prefer to think that Scout decided to pursue a different line of work—one that doesn’t involve getting drenched in whipped cream against her will.]

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