Boy-genius Starflyer Stevens is tired of living in the shadow of his overprotective parents. He isn't allowed to go to school with other kids, he can't be outside after dark, and worst of all, he is forbidden to go trick-or-treating every Hallows Eve night in a town that's always October. His only friend in Hobble is Botty, a homemade robot.
When strange things start occurring in town, Starflyer's curiosity leads him to investigate the truth about the hermit of Critchfield Mansion—a man rumored to have been dead for fifty years. Soon, Starflyer begins to suspect that the hermit's ghost may have something to do with the recent vanishings of the town's children. But the boy's suspicions lead to dangers beyond his wildest dreams. All the while, Starflyer and Botty must carry on their investigation without his parents finding out about their secret adventure.
In the end, Starflyer discovers there is something far more wicked taking place in Hobble than anyone ever could have imagined.