373Y: Black Ghost on Halloween and Adventures in the City

Here is what I remember: In the early 1970’s I read a book about a girl (possibly named Ginny?) and it was a young teen/adult chapter book.  The girl does a number of fun things, like making her own Halloween costume.  I think she called it a black ghost.  She dyed fabric black and made strips of fabric that flew out as she spun around.  In another part she goes to the “city” with her dad.  Seems like it was around the Holidays and she eats clams with spicy sauce and talks about how they slip down her throat.  I wish I could remember more!  I loved that book so much and have lately been craving books from my youth.  It would have appealed to girls from 5th grade on.  

13 thoughts on “373Y: Black Ghost on Halloween and Adventures in the City

  1. MamaSquirrel

    The clams are from Ginnie and her Juniors, also titled Ginnie ‘s Babysitting Business. Not the ghost, though–must be another book.

  2. Juanita K Bushman

    No, those are not the book. I will know the title when I see it. I am DESPERATE to find this book! You all know that feeling! I am not sure the gal was named Ginny, but I “feel” it was her name. I just remember her making her own Halloween costume and going to the city with her dad and eating some spicy clams.

  3. Gill

    Might it possibly be memories of two books, combined?

    The ‘black ghost’ costume (complete with rags), comes from the book ‘Honestly, Katie John’ by Calhoun, Mary; published 1963.

    However the clams, spicy sauce, dad, city and Ginnie originate (as MamaSquirrel and Ann post) from Wooley’s ‘Ginnie and her Juniors’.


    1. Juanita K Bushman

      Hi there,

      How can I find the description of this book? I looked it up online but cannot see what you are referencing. Maybe you know it from memory?


      1. MamaSquirrel

        Look for the book (under either title) on archive.org, click “borrow for an hour,” and use the search icon to look for “clams.” I don’t think you even have to borrow it to do the search. The lines I found sounded exactly like what you said.

        I agree that the costume story must be Katie John. Ginnie does improvise a Halloween costume in one book, but it’s a fancy dress from her mother’s closet. Katie John is the one who dyes fabric to make a ghost costume.

      2. MamaSquirrel

        Oh,hang on–the fancy dress may be Cathy, not Ginnie. But, either way, Katie John is definitely the “black ghost” girl.

      3. Gill


        If you scroll to my post on this thread, dated January 24th at 7:21pm, you will find a link to the ‘Katie John’ book. The link will take you to a partly accessible copy of the book.

        Once there, this Internet Archive web page comprises a scrollable column of search results on the left hand side, and associated pages of the book on the right.

        The search was on the three words/phrases ‘rags’, ‘halloween’ and ‘black ghost’, and these are highlighted in purple within the results column.

        Clicking on each highlighted result (there are 32 in total) will bring up that particular full page of the book on the right, allowing the researcher a chance to read more…

        Most of the ‘black ghost’ and ‘rags’ hits are towards the bottom of the results list.

        It is quite common for book memories to have changed and/or merged with others over the years, which is why sometimes both searchers and requesters can end up stumped or surprised.

        With two such specific recollections – black ghost costume with rags, spicy sauce with clams – and associated with a Halloween festival, that would usually be enough detail to help enormously. However the information keeps leading to two books, not one, both of the right time period, both mentioning Halloween, both containing important elements of the search, but not all. Hence the query about possible memory merging.

        If you have a look at the Ginnie book, hopefully the quandry becomes clear, for here is the city trip, spicy sauce etc, but no ‘black ghost’:


        There is, of course, the possibility of more books matching the search parameters, that are simply not findable with the tools available.

        I hope the ‘Katie John’ book might be the right one…?

  4. MamaSquirrel

    I checked the spicy clams, and they are in the dual-titled Ginnie book just as you quoted it. Sorry I wasn’t able to track down the costume scene; I did look through some other Ginnie books online, but didn’t see that.

  5. Juanita K Bushman

    I wish my query could have been solved. The bookseller has been stumped and needs to return my money. Thanks!


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