It’s the eve of All Hallows’ Eve. Chris picks up Makani and Ollie from the hospital early in the morning to drive them back to the Larsson house. Ollie and Makani hold hands in the back of the police cruiser as Chris gives them the latest scoop: David hitched a ride with a second truck driver who took him as far as Troy, a town just outside of Osborne. This driver didn’t recognize David, either. Makani is worried—Alex lives near Troy.
All Hallows’ Eve is just a fancy way of saying Halloween. This is a horror/thriller book, so it follows that things will ramp up on this especially spooky night. Note that David Ware fled town—but he never ventures too far outside Osborne. Something continues to draw him back to his hometown. Another important detail here is David’s ability to fool truck drivers into giving him rides: he can get these rides because he’s so unremarkable and ordinary that nobody recognizes him, even though his photo has been plastered all over the news.
Back at the Larsson house, Makani and Ollie seek shelter from the cold autumn air by bundling in sleeping bags on Chris’s bedroom floor. Makani finally feels secure enough to sleep. But her dreams are haunted by memories of David’s recent attack on her. While Chris, Makani, and Ollie sleep, tourists and drunk college students pour into town to visit the Martin family’s corn maze. The Sweeney Todd cast make up for their cancelled show by performing as monsters in the now “haunted” maze. One college student excitedly tells a reporter that knowing David is on the loose makes the maze experience scarier. Meanwhile, the National Guard arrives to patrol over the football game.
While the support of one’s community can be a positive thing (like when Makani’s friends helped her forgive herself for mistakes she made in Hawaii), community can also be a negative thing. Here, the crowds of tourists who travel to Osborne in search of chills and thrills devalue and mock Osborne’s very real, painful trauma. Additionally, the tourists’ glib attitude toward the murders looks critically at society’s inability to confront painful subjects like death and trauma directly—it shows that often, people make light of and mock the things they’re perhaps too scared of or uncomfortable with to confront seriously.
Chris’s phone rings that evening and wakes everyone up. It’s work. There hasn’t been another attack, but Chris will need to go in soon. He needs to go to Troy, where David was last seen, so he and Ollie and Makani leave in separate cars. Later, when Ollie turns on to the highway to drive to the hospital, he and Makani are shocked to see bumper-to-bumper to traffic. The street is packed with out-of-towners eager to experience this year’s particularly frightening corn maze. Makani is disgusted that people would make a game out of their tragedy.
The bumper-to-bumper traffic visually underscores how disrespectful these tourists are being to the community of Osborne. Suddenly, what ought to be a mournful and contemplative time for the town has become a spectacle that resembles a tailgate or carnival. The book frequently uses corn to gauge Makani’s emotions, in that the corn reflects how she’s feeling about her life in Osborne at that given moment. Here, she looks at the corn maze and feels disgust and disappointment at the way people’s gossip and morbid fascination with David Ware have made a mockery of the real tragedies her town has suffered.
Just then, Makani gets a call from Alex. Her parents are making her play with the marching band for today’s football game, and she’s having a panic attack. David was less than a mile from her house last night, and she’s scared he’s after her. Ollie and Makani head to the stadium to pick up Alex.
This scene is a great example of just how good of a friend Makani really is, despite her doubts after the Hawaii incident. She doesn’t hesitate before rushing to save Alex from a scary situation, and it’s obvious that Makani is not the bad friend she’s long considered herself to be.
Makani and Ollie reach the football stadium around dusk. It’s packed. Bright lights illuminate the stands and field, while children dressed in Halloween costumes squeal and run around. Alex spots Ollie and Makani. She hops into the car and orders them to move—now. Makani asks if Alex will get in trouble for ditching the marching band, but Alex says that nothing like that matters anymore. Makani’s phone starts to ring. It’s Darby, calling them on speakerphone—he’d been on his way to the stadium to get Alex. Makani tells Darby to meet them in the hospital parking lot.
By and large, Osborne has decided to continue on as though there isn’t a vicious killer on the loose: kids dress up for Halloween as they would any other year, and the town assembles at the stadium to watch football like it’s just another game night. The town’s decision to pretend everything is fine speaks to the difficulty of handling difficult situations like death and trauma. It suggests that people don’t really know how to make sense of senseless things like violence and suffering, so they pretend these things don’t exist.
The friends meet at the hospital parking lot and thoroughly investigate their surroundings. Once they’re satisfied that the coast is clear, Makani breaks the silence to say that she’s tired of waiting around for David. They need to do something. She doesn’t share what she’s really thinking: “he might be looking for me.” Alex agrees with Makani: the time between David’s killings has diminished each time. He’s likely going to strike again, and soon. For the millionth time, they wrack their brains for some pattern to David’s brutality. Each of the victims had belonged to a different clique. Had David felt left out?
Makani’s call to action contradicts the stance Osborne has taken toward the murders up to now—basically doing nothing outside of symbolic (but ultimately meaningless) displays of solidarity. Her proactive attitude reflects her character’s journey: she now knows that a person can’t run away from their problems—they have to face them if they want the problems to go away.
Alex thinks that David is picking the school’s most ambitious students—“people who stand out.” In contrast to them, David is “inferior and invisible.” Everyone agrees with Alex’s theory. They brainstorm other exceptional students who could be David’s next victim. Then Ollie remembers the tasteless joke he made yesterday, about Rosemarie Holt needing to watch out after winning the barrel race at the state fair. Everyone realizes that Ollie was probably right.
It seems, perhaps, that David resents students who are more successful and who “stand out” more than him and thinks that killing them will make him feel better about himself. But eliminating other people doesn’t address whatever personal insecurities have led David to resort to violence.
Ollie calls Chris and tells him his theory. Chris listens but then hangs up abruptly—apparently, the police just received a call from another trucker who picked up David and only recognized him in hindsight, once he returned home and turned on the local news. The trucker told the police that he’d dropped David off on the opposite side of Osborne. They think he’s headed to the stadium to conduct a “blitz attack.” Makani doesn’t think that sounds like something David would do. The group decides to take things into their own hands and drive to Rosemarie’s house, which is located near the Larsson house, on the opposite side of the cornfield. They get into Ollie’s cruiser and speed into the night.
That the truck driver only recognized David after he returned home and watched the local news reaffirms how truly forgettable and normal David is. It also shows how ineffective his killing spree has been at making a name for himself. Even as a full-fledged serial killer, people continue to overlook and forget him. Cornfields function as an important symbol for emotions and drama throughout the book, so it’s fair to guess that something big will happen as Makani and her friends make their way toward the cornfield.