Tracey Corderoy’s Halloween Guest Post – Shifty McGifty and Slippery Sam: The Spooky School


Shifty McGifty and Slippery Sam don’t just make amazing cakes. These two brave bakers solve wacky mysteries too!

Halloween at St Spectre’s school brings out the cheekiest of ghosts! And who is to blame when the weather goes CRAZY? A power-grabbing red panda, maybe? Certainly not the raccoon gang fixing the museum’s toilets – they’ve got dastardly plans of their OWN!


by Tracey Corderoy

It’s funny how much you remember by smell. Wonderful memories of childhood. For me it was the salty tang of the sea, the smell of bacon sizzling in the pan and the playful aroma of a sunshine-yellow daffodil pinned firmly onto my Welsh shawl on St. David’s Day.

Another smell I vividly recall was carried to me by the first crisp nights of autumn. Suddenly it was dark by seven, scarves and mittens had been unearthed from drawers, and the smell of wood smoke lured us council estate kids into a rich, colourful kaleidoscope of crackling bonfires and sticky-sweet toffee-apples.

This was a time when the dull, wet grass acknowledged the occasion too; suddenly clothed in a patchwork quilt of reds, and oranges, and strong deep mustard-yellows. And I remember looking up at the night sky and seeing stars as if for the first time. Bright winking diamonds, filling the inky blackness.

And with autumn, of course, came Halloween and for the six year old me it was both scary and wonderful. Now magic  seemed to fill the air with a smell all of its own. And suddenly the impossible felt not only possible, but happening right under our noses! My friends and I were immediately bewitched, grabbing the magic with both hands and quickly weaving it into (I swear to you!) tales of mischievous ghosts round the back of the shed who made worms pop out of old planks, and bits of china unearthed from front gardens were now not the product of washing-up accidents, but certainly must belong to witches. Then potions were concocted out of mud and crushed leaves and puddles.

When I was writing ‘Spooky School!’ the first Shifty McGifty and Slippery Sam young fiction adventure for new readers, I felt that magic of childhood again; that sense that anything could happen, and I crafted three stories with all those smells, and tastes, and rich autumn colours in mind.

I want the children who dive into these stories to feel what the six year old me felt. I want them to not only giggle at the tales, full of adventure and fun, but I want to leave them filled with wonder too.

I still look for those diamond stars and get excited by bits of old china that pop up in my unruly garden.

And I hope I’ll never lose that magical smell of what if,  and what could be…


tracey6_400x400Tracey was born and grew up in industrial South Wales and now lives in a hidden valley in Gloucestershire with her husband, two children and an ever-increasing menagerie of devilishly-cute-but-sometimes-rather-naughty pets.

A trained teacher, Tracey has always had a passion for wonderful literature and began writing for children in 2006. Tracey’s head is happily crammed with countless ideas and stories and she’s loving the adventures that her characters insist they share…
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