Special thanks to Sherry for sharing her wonderful MCAT universe with me and for issuing the challenge.
Disclaimer: I don't own any of the characters in this story. The Magnificent Seven characters are the property of MGM and Trilogy Entertainment, darn; the original characters are Sherry's from MCAT. No money is being made from this story, it is purely for enjoyment purposes only. No infringements of these copyrights are intended, and are used here without permission.
Halloween turned into a very dark and stormy night, forcing the Larabee Seven to revise their plans from taking the kids trick or treating to attending a special Halloween party at the Tanner home instead.
The members of the Larabee Seven family were safe and warm inside the cheerfully decorated home while the storm raged outside. Everyone including the adults were wearing costumes, much to the delight of the children.
Their activities started with pumpkin carving. Vin and Walter had removed the tops and guts of enough pumpkins for each child, including the babies, to make one. Ezra offered to carve one for Trey while Vin carved Bren's.
Mallory leaned over to Kelli and Inez saying softly, "It's hard to tell who's having more fun, our men or our kids."
Barbara and Rain heard the comments and joined in the laughter, Rain adding, "The kids have all Seven of them wrapped around their little fingers."
"That they do," Nettie said knowingly when she, Max, Cait, and Casey joined the others.
"Your children seem to have that affect on all of the MCAT and Larabee Seven men. Walter would go through hell and back for any one of them," Max told the ladies. "You do know, they would for each of you too."
"We know," Inez agreed with the other ladies nodding. "We're very blessed."
Once the pumpkins were finished and a candle placed in each one, they were spread around the room adding to the festive decorations as they glowed brightly.
That activity done, they split up to bob for apples and play pin the tail on the donkey. Inez had made a piñata that looked like a ghost, she filled it with toys, balls, and some candy. The children all squealed with delight when Terrell, with the help of his Daddy, broke the piñata.
After they enjoyed a dinner consisting of spooky foods like bloody fingers and dragon eyes, mini wieners in ketchup and meatballs, they had a Halloween costume fashion show.
Caleb and Jason started off the show dressed as Buzz Lightyear and Woody from Toy Story. They outfits were cheered making the boys beam with pride at their selections.
Buck, Inez, and little Tannis were next. Her parents were dressed as Batman and Catwoman while their youngest was charming as Ariel the mermaid. Sarah and Maria followed the rest of their family. They were adorable in their fairy princess outfits, complete with wings and magic wands.
Vin and Kelli, each carrying one of their twin boys, followed the Wilmington's down the "runway" for their fashion show. They had chosen to go as Indians for the party. Trey and Bren looked precious in their little buckskin pants and moccasins. Andi waited for them to get to end before started down herself, making sure everyone was paying attention to how cute her Dora the Explorer costume was.
The Sanchez family let Andi have her moment in the spotlight before taking their turn. They went with a family theme of Wizard of the Oz. Joanne's smile was huge as everyone made a fuss over her Dorothy outfit; she carried a basket with Toto peaking out from it. Her other hand held the hand of her younger brother Adam who roared befitting his Cowardly Lion costume. Josiah and Mallory brought up the rear dressed as the Tin Man and Scarecrow respectively.
The Jackson's also chose a family theme, theirs was pirates. Nathan and Terrell looked dashing in their pirate costumes with the patch over one eye. Rain and Ronesha were perfect matches for them in their wench outfits. Ronesha giggling gleefully at the wolf whistles the men of Larabee Seven were giving her.
With a toddler and a baby to handle, Chris convinced Caitlyn to join up with the Larabee family. Chris and Cait were stylish in their 20's era gangster and flapper costumes. Instead of carrying a Tommy gun Larabee had Cody nestled in his arm, the littlest member of his family was a hit as a tiny Frankenstein. Grace kept a tight grip on her Daddy's other hand on one side and Cait's hand on the other. Her costume of the Littlest Angel, with the crooked halo had everyone cheering.
Nettie joined in with the Dunne family for their turn in the fashion show. Nettie wasn't much for dressing up but when Lilah and Daisy turned on their charm she couldn't resist. She went first, shaking her head as the others cheered her Bride of Frankenstein costume. Lilah and Daisy followed behind their great Aunt charming the family in their matching Ladybug outfits. JD and Casey brought up the rear dressed as Hans Solo and Princess Leia from the original Star Wars fame,
The children insisted that Ezra, Barbara, Max, and Walter also take their turn in the fashion show. Max and Walter went first dressed as Superman and Lois Lane. Ezra and Barbara were the last on the "runway" looking magnificent dressed as Anthony and Cleopatra. Ezra had taken some razzing from his brothers for the Anthony costume but it was worth it all to have Barbara on his arm, regal and stunning at the Queen of the Nile.
Buck insisted a Halloween party was not complete without ghost stories. He ignored the warning looking from Chris and asked everyone gather up in the living room.
Barbara asked Kelli if she could hold Bren, with the Tanner's agreement she sat next to Ezra. Bren was fascinated with Barbara's Cleopatra jewels, reaching for them while he giggled.
Rain sat next to Mallory with Nathan on the other side and Ronesha in her lap. Adam and Terrell were torn between sitting with their parents and the older kids. The lure of being with the big kids won out over the parents.
Josiah put his arm around Mallory, his deep voice whispering in her ear. "Our babies are growing up."
Trey sat nestled in Kelli's arm with one hand wrapped securely around Vin's finger. Caitlyn sat between Chris and Kelli, delighted with the fact that Cody was snuggling in her lap. Like Terrell and Adam, Grace didn't know if she wanted to sit with her Daddy or with Andi, finally deciding to sit with Andi.
JD sat next to Casey, keeping an eye on their girls who had joined Caleb, Jason, Sarah, Joanne, Maria, Andi, Terrell, Adam, and Grace on the floor in front Buck. Nettie sat with Max and Walter in the back of the room keeping an eye on all of their kids, the adults included.
Buck had turned out the lights, leaving the room aglow with the flickering glow from the pumpkins and the fireplace. He was in his glory with all the children gazing up at him with adoration. His story was tame and not very scary, causing all the adults present to relax. Buck was just going to tell the one story but when all the kids begged for another one he couldn't resist.
"Careful darlin', you're dealing with any nightmares your story causes," Inez whispered as he started his second story, "Things that go Bump in the Night."
Buck was building up to the exciting part when a branch outside broke free and hit the side of the house.
"Did you hear that?" Jason asked.
The kids huddled together a little tighter until Ezra laughed saying, "Mr Tanner you really must consider asking your Boss for a little free time to trim those annoying branches."
Ezra's comment relieved the tension, allowing Buck to carry on with his story. So wrapped up in his story Buck used his voice to create some suspense, his voice getting softer making everyone pay attention to him alone.
All except for one that is, Joanne Sanchez had an idea to scare the others like her Uncle Buck was doing. She waited for a pause and she screamed, "Boo!" laughing as all the kids jumped.
Unfortunately for Joanne she got more a reaction than she planned on when all the kids, except for Caleb and Jason started to cry and run for security. Grace threw herself into Chris's arms sobbing uncontrollable on his shoulder. Andi followed suit with Vin, Terrell with Nathan, Adam with Mallory and a firm grip on Josiah, Lilah and Daisy rushed to their Dad each claiming half of his lap.
Maria had tears streaming down her pudgy cheeks when she ran to her Daddy's waiting arms. Sarah turned the other direction and rushed to her Uncle Ezra, feeling safer as soon as she felt his arms wrap her in his warm embrace. Jason stood next to Caleb, both shaking from their scare.
"Not funny Joanne," Jason yelled over the crying.
Tears welled up in Joanne's eye before she turned to run into Josiah's arms, confused at what had happened. Caleb went to Buck's side, grateful when his Dad put an arm around his slender shoulders and pulled the boy into the safety those arms offered.
Vin knew that Jason felt he let his family down as he slowly made his way to their side. Resting his head on Vin's free shoulder the boy patted Andi on her back saying softly, "It's all right Andi, it was just a bad joke."
Pulling one arm free, the Texan wrapped it around his oldest son. Kissing his forehead he whispered, "You're right it was just a joke and it wasn't your fault."
Jason looked up at Vin, seeing the pride in his eye helped Jason to let go of the guilt he was feeling. The babies didn't understand what was happening but with all the other kids crying they joined in.
Vin gave it a few minutes for everyone to calm down a little and he let out a shrill whistle. Once everyone was looking at him he said, "Y'all know we won't let anything hurt you if we can stop it."
He waited for the kids to nod their agreement before adding, "Joanne didn't mean to scare you so bad, she was just teasing you and it got out of hand."
Jason left Vin's embrace to walk over to Joanne. He put a hand on her shoulder and said for all to hear, "I'm sorry I yelled at you. You scared me too."
Joanne pulled her head up from Josiah's broad chest to say in a quivering voice, "I'm sorry I scared you."
The two shared a smile and soon all the kids were saying they were sorry. Buck felt if the kids could say it so could he, the biggest kid of all said, "I'm sorry too, I got a little carried away with my story there."
"It's okay Daddy," Maria said loudly. "We still love you."
Andi looked up at Vin to ask, "But Daddy what about the ghosts?"
"A year ago I would have said, there ain't no such thing as ghosts," Vin replied. Giving Andi a wink he added, "But then we met Cowboy and Tracker."
"Cowboy my friend," Grace insisted.
"They were good ghosts Dad, like Casper," Jason said firmly.
"Yeah, they was good," Andi said then she slowly started to smile. "You're telling us not all ghosts are bad, huh Daddy."
"Yep, not all ghosts are bad, just like not all things that go bump in the night are bad either," Vin answered, pleased the kids had figured it out.
"Will we ever see them again?" Sarah asked.
"Just because you don't see them, doesnt mean they aren't here looking out for you," Chris said as he tweaked Grace's nose.
"Sarah, honey, how come you ran to Uncle Ezra?" Buck asked trying to hide his hurt she didn't run to him like his other kids had.
"Coz I had both of Uncle Ra's arms," Sarah answered as if that told all there was to tell.
"And Sarah knows Uncle Ra wouldn't let anything bad happened to her," Barbara added nodding at the little girl to tell her it had been a good choice.
Buck started to laugh. "I always knew I had smart kids."
"You know Tracker told me how the original Seven became a group," Ezra said. "Would anyone like to hear the story?"
At everyone's agreement Ezra began, "It started when two men made eye contact across a street...."