It was a cold, crisp morning with the white frost glistening off the large leaves in the pumpkin patch when Jacky-jack began to wake up with a shiver.
Then he bounced out of his soft dirt pile and shouted, “It’s Halloween!” Jacky-jack is of course a jack-o-lantern, not just a pumpkin mind you. And he was made for Halloween, among other things.
The gardener came out to see what all the racket was about, and she saw Jacky-jack, the only pumpkin awake in the whole garden, and at 3:30am!
“Jacky-jack, what’s the matter?” whispered the gardener.
“Nothing” Said Jacky-jack, “I’m just excited for Halloween tonight, that’s all.”
“I understand you’re excited Jacky-jack, but it’s just too early. Go back to bed, and get some rest. We’ll have a lot to do before the trick or treaters come tonight” Said the gardener quietly.
“Okay” whispered Jacky-jack. He couldn’t sleep because he was too excited, but he closed his eyes anyway.
Pretty soon morning (more like 7 o’clock in the morning) arrived, and Jacky-jack was ready to start the day. There was lots of work to do, eat a bag of dirt, setting up decorations, eating another bag of dirt, and practicing his scary face, and one more bag of dirt for good measure. Pumpkins eat a lot of dirt you know.
“I’m going to be a SUPER scary jack-o-lantern, huh?!” stated Jacky-jack.
“Oh sure” Said the gardener, “We might not even give out any candy because you’ll scare all of the kids away”
Jacky-jack smiled to himself as he imagined how he would surprise the trick or treaters when they came.
At last it was night time, and the first set of trick or treaters were arriving. Jacky-jack hid behind a bush that was near the door.
As the kids approached, Jacky-jack jumped out from behind the bush, “Boo!” he said in a loud voice.
But to Jacky-jack’s despair, nobody was scared at all, instead they all laughed and said to each other look at that cute, little pumpkin! Great costume little guy!
Jacky-jack was mad. He didn’t want to be cute, he wanted to be scary! Wasn’t that what Halloween was all about? As he sat there stewing, and growling to himself about how he should have yelled louder, he heard footsteps approaching; it was another set of trick or treaters, a boy and two girls, probably his younger sisters because they were smaller.
Jacky-jack hid by the bush again. “BOOO!!!!” He yelled much louder this time, but again the only response he got from the kids was “How cute! What an adorable little pumpkin!”
Jacky-jack was really mad now. “By golly, I’m not going to let tonight get away as being just a cute pumpkin, I’ll scare the next set of kids, or I’ll bite them! But I will NOT be called cute again!”
Too late, he didn’t even have a chance to hide because two more little kids just showed up, an older sister and a younger one.
“RHAAAAAAWRRRR!!!” Screamed Jacky-jack.
“Whoa!” Said the older girl, “What the heck is wrong with that cute, little pumpkin?”
“That does it!” Thought Jacky-jack to himself, and he bounced over and bit her shoe!
“Ouch!” Said the girl, “What the heck in the world did you do THAT for?”
The gardener had brought the candy to the door, and saw the whole thing. She gave the girls some candy, apologized for Jacky-jack’s behavior, wished them a Happy Halloween, and sent them on their way.
As the girls left, there was an awkward silence as the gardener stared down at Jacky-jack, sad and disappointed at his behavior.
“Jacky-jack, what’s the matter?” she asked, “This isn’t like you.”
“Everyone keeps saying I’m cute, and I’m not, I’m scary! But…” Jacky-jack couldn’t think of what to say…..
“I’m sorry I broke my promise I made yesterday. I promised I was going to be the nicest little pumpkin ever, and the very next day, I bit someone.” he said quietly, feeling ashamed.
“But why did you bite that girl?” Asked the gardener
“Because nobody thought I was scary at all, and this is Halloween! I’m SUPPOSED to be scary!” Exclaimed Jacky-jack. “I guess I just let myself get mad, I’m sorry”
“Jacky-jack, you’re not ‘supposed’ to be anything but yourself. Some people think that Halloween should be scary, but I’m afraid you’re just too little to be a scary pumpkin. You’ll wear yourself out trying to be something that just isn’t you.” Said the gardener.
“Well you got that right! I AM worn out!” Said Jacky-jack, “Maybe I just wasn’t meant for Halloween like I thought I was”. Jacky-jack started to cry.
“Now Jacky-jack” said the gardener, “Of course you are meant for Halloween, you are a pumpkin, and a jack-o-lantern! You may not be scary, and that’s okay. Halloween isn’t really about being scary anyway, it’s about having fun, and you are good at that. Why not just have fun tonight!?”
Jacky-jack began to feel better, “You’re right gardener” Said Jacky-jack, “Thank you for helping me with this, I WILL have fun tonight! And I’m sorry I bit that girl’s shoe, I am going to do better at controlling my temper so I won’t do mean things like that anymore, and I know that I still want to be nice because it feels good.”
“That’s the spirit Jacky-jack! Now let’s have a fun night!” Said the gardener.
As they finished their conversation, they could see a couple more trick or treaters approaching, “Now’s my chance” thought Jacky-jack, “What should I do that would be fun?” he wondered.
“Trick or Treat” said a boy and a small girl. Jacky-jack was so busy thinking about what to do, that he forgot to jump out from the bush like he did before, but he didn’t let that stop him.
“TRICK!” Said Jacky-jack, and he spat a pumpkin seed at the boy’s leg. The boy laughed and said, “Well…That is the LAST thing I ever expected!” he smiled at Jacky-jack, and asked “Who are you?”
“I’m Jacky-jack, the world’s largest pumpkin! I just dressed up as small Jacky-jack today so I wouldn’t scare the kids”
The kids and the gardener laughed, and then she gave the boy and the girl some candy, I guess they got tricks AND treats tonight.
Jacky-jack smiled to himself, pleased with how well things went when he just tried to have fun. He looked up at the gardener and asked, “How’d I do?”
“Just fine” said the gardener, and she gave him a bowl of dirt to snack on while he waited for more trick or treaters. It was a fun night for Jacky-jack, and having fun was so much easier than trying to be scary, he decided that he was just going to have fun every year for Halloween from now on, and the only thing he was going to bite would be a piece of Halloween candy.
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