Whenever there's a gathering that usually indicates a party. Everyone getting together to have a good time is the first thing that comes to mind whenever people get together and that's what the author made it sound like was about to happen.
Why are the boys collecting stones? It's obviously important enough bc the author wouldn't just include that for no reason. What's the reason behind it?
Bill and Tessie were the last two people left with unopen papers and as soon as Bill opened his everyone knew Tessie had to have the black dot.