It’s fall. Around here that’s like a party wrapped in fresh-baked cookies wrapped in a surprise package in the mail. We’re kind of giddy with happiness. It also means the three-year-old is home alone with Mommy while the big kids go off to school all day. That means lots of “Tell me a story, Mommy, not a book, tell me a story wif your mouf.” Which leads to me desperately casting my eyes around the house and seizing inspiration from whatever fall decoration I see. Which leads to the following series of fall-inspired stories made up on the fly (read: short and of questionable sense). This one turned Halloween-y without my even planning it. But it kept her happy. Or at least, happy enough to nod in approval and immediately ask for another story.
Once upon a time there were three little pumpkins, picked with love and placed in a row on the front porch. The first pumpkin was bumpy and lumpy and bigger than the others. He liked to brag that when he was carved up, he would be the scariest pumpkin that ever was seen on Halloween night. The second little pumpkin was short but fat with a twisty stem on top. He liked to brag that when he was carved up, he would be the silliest pumpkin that ever was seen on Halloween night. The third little pumpkin was little and smooth and perfectly round. She didn’t like to brag because she didn’t know much about Halloween night, but she was sure that she could never be very scary or very silly. She was only good at being little and smooth and round and cute. The other pumpkins smiled and nodded and said they were sure she would be a very nice pumpkin, if not as wonderfully scary and silly as they were.
Carving night finally came, and a wonderful night it was. The three pumpkins were picked up by their three children, who quickly set to work. The first little pumpkin got his wish, as his boy carved him into a terrible, scary face. He had jagged teeth and horrible eyes, and when he was finished and a candle placed inside him, even the boy who carved him felt a little scared and went inside and left him alone. The first little pumpkin chuckled but he also felt a little lonely to be left all alone.
The second little pumpkin got his wish, too, as his boy carved him into the silliest face you ever did see. He had a crookedy mouth and a wacky nose, and when he was finished and a candle was placed inside him everyone laughed and laughed, and even people walking by on the street pointed and giggled. The second little pumkin chortled with pride but he also felt a little embarrassed with everyone laughing at him.
The third little pumpkin didn’t know what to wish for as her little girl carved her face. She got a sweet little smile and a button nose, and when she was finished and a candle placed inside her, she was the cutest little pumpkin you ever did see, and her little girl loved her and insisted on placing her by her bed as a nightlight every night. The third little pumpkin smiled to herself and tried to glow as brightly as she could.
When Halloween night came the three pumpkins were proudly displayed on the front porch again. Soon children began to come, children of all sizes and shapes, in costumes that were scary or silly or cute. The big, bold children would come up on the porch, slightly bored and wondering if they were getting too old for playing dress up. Then they would see the first little pumpkin’s terrifying face and shiver as a little fear ran down their spines and think maybe they weren’t so very grown up after all. The excited, racing children would dash up on the porch, rattling their bags of candy, anxious to be done with this so they could get home and start gobbling it up. Then they would see the second little pumpkin and double over with laughter and be reminded how much fun it is to walk around and be silly in the near-dark with your friends. The littlest children, trick-or-treating for the first time would come shyly up on the porch, clinging to parents’ hands and feeling embarrassed to ask for candy. Then they would see the third little pumpkin glowing so sweetly in the darkness and feel a little bit of courage glow in their own hearts.
So it was that the three little pumpkins sat in a row on the front porch long into the night on Halloween, casting their scary and silly and sweet light out over the front lawn, each so different but each thinking the same thing. What a wonderful Halloween it had been.