I feel bad for the pumpkin jack-o-lanterns that dot our street. Gouged by overzealous parents, their vegetable mouths have already started to pucker. Life in the natural world is kind, though. Tossed out like garbage and abandoned in land fills, those Jacks will return to the earth. Eventually.
I exchange laughs with the great big fat ones across the street. Their owners use electric candles that blink like strobelights. We place a bet for which kid will fall down in a seizure. It happened once years ago but I'm the only one who remembers. My plastic memory last longer than my batteries.
Quiet! A little girl approaches.
I flash my lights a little brighter. I take pride in being a good performer.
She gingerly takes a step. She's dressed as Little Red Riding Hood.
I wonder where her parents are and make out a disheveled shadow standing back on the sidewalk, hands glued to his phone.
I shine my light a little brighter. Some kids need more encouragement than others.
"Daddy?" the little girls squeaks.
Daddy keeps staring at his phone. It casts a ghostly pall on his already pale face.
I hear a grunt. We both take this as a yes.
The little girl crouchs over her candy pail, making herself small. She looks around the dark entryway. My owners usually go overboard with the holiday and turn the whole front yard into an animatronic scarefest. The porch would normally be lit up like a dozen Christmas trees haunted by ghosts and goblins and sometimes my owners disguised as scarecrows waiting to pounce.
They're getting divorced this year. All my Halloween friends languish in storage, their fates unknown. A plate of candy on a chair and I are all that's left to tell the world this household is celebrating.
The clouds advance quickly, smothering the moon. It's dark. I suck out more juice from my batteries and glow brighter.
The little girl looks behind her and sees her daddy still looking at his phone. He looks up, we can both sense his scowl in the dark.
"C'mon, we have the whole block left," he bellows.
She nods bravely.
A small hand reaches out for the candy dish. I shine as bright as can. My owners should have change my batteries. I will forgive them more than they've forgiven each other.
The little girl grabs the first piece of candy she can and runs back to her father. In her rush she stumbles down the stairs, taking me with her. As she hits the pavement, so do I.
My light goes out.
Face down I can still hear and feel the ground beneath me. A rush of heavy footsteps is followed by gruff words. I see the little girl out of the corner of my eye being lifted up and away.
A sneakered foot kicks me away.
At least now I can gaze up at the stars and wait. I wonder where my owners will carry me off to.
Without change, Matilda and her mother Linda would put my family members in front of their home for what the humans call "Haloween". Every year, Linda would bring Matilda and they would walk around and pick the largest pumpkin they could find. I realize that this may seem crazy to humans, generally you sorts don't eagerly anticipate your death. I saw a human die once. He was hit by a car right next to my pumpkin patch. He squirmed around as if he was in bed with an invisible lover.
Pumpkins are much more dignified. To be chosen for this ritual is an honor, it is seen as the final right of passage. Matilda and her mother picked me this year, I could finally count myself among the lucky pumpkins. I could see the jealous glances from my cousin, Theodore (I call him ass-hole for short).
The car ride home was painfully long. They seemed to stop every hour or so. Eventually, they returned home. They both were quite tired from their excursion to my patch of the woods, so they went to sleep.
The next day, they eagerly discussed what I would become. They ran through all sorts of ideas. The first was to have me become what they called "Frankenstein". I thought my cousin Theodore would serve as a more suitable visage of pure and grotesque horror. However, they did not seem able to hear my protest, so they began shaping me.
At first, they cut a hole at the very top of my body, they then removed a sizeable piece of me and emptied my insides. It smelled sweet and sickly, I could hardly keep from fainting, however, I allowed them to continue. Then, they took a knife to my face. Oh, the pain remains indescribable it continues to refuse to subside. They then continued the barbaric and disgustingly cruel ritual by placing a small piece of wax inside of me.
This feeling is that of pure and violent violation. They placed me outside where I could see that I was not special. My entire patch was placed in front of me, each one suffering a fate as unfortunate as mine. I could hear some crying aloud some, however, had already succumbed to the pain.
Later on that night, children came. We shrieked and cried out, however our begging fell on deaf ears. We were truly alone that night. I will never forget that feeling of betrayal. My story ends as all of my fathers' have. Alone and scared.
My fellow pumpkins, do not allow this plague to come to your patch. Fight Haloween, it does nothing but bring pain and misery to your homes.