The Happy Little Jack-O-Lantern©

By J.B. Lester 

Jackson walked through the giant Halloween pumpkin patch looking at all the wonderful pumpkins with his mom. “Come on Jackson, pick one,” his mother said with her cart already full of pumpkins and gourds for her Halloween porch display. Jackson got to pick his own pumpkin this year and he wanted just the right one to carve into a jack-o-lantern. 

There were tall pumpkins with little stems and short fat pumpkins with tall stems. He walked and walked through the rows of hay bales until he finally saw one special pumpkin in the very corner of the patch. He picked it up and turned to his mother, “Here it is, I want this one.” His mom took the pumpkin from his hands and held it up. “This pumpkin is weird, and covered in some sort of spider webby stuff.” She said as she tried to wipe it off, but the spider web pattern was part of the pumpkin’s skin. “I think it has some sort of disease.” She started to put it back down on a hay bale. “No, I want that pumpkin,” said the six-year-old, reaching for his strange looking choice. His mother reluctantly put the weird pumpkin in the cart with the other Halloween items. Jackson smiled and patted his pumpkin on the stem as his mom paid for them. 

Later that day, Jackson and his grandfather sat on the front porch with carving tools and newspapers ready to create some wonderful jack-o-lanterns. “What do you think of my pumpkin?” Jackson asked his grampy. His grandfather stroked his beard and keenly inspected Jackson’s pumpkin. “Well, it’s not your everyday pumpkin,” he said running his hand over the spider-webby skin of the pumpkin. “But I think we can make something of him.” Together they took turns carving Jackson’s pumpkin. Grampy did the zig-zagged mouth and one of the eyes. “Now you do the nose and the other eye,” he told his grandson handing him the carving tool. The young boy struggled a bit but cut into the pumpkin and pulled out the nose and then the eye. He stood back to admire his efforts. His grandfather smiled at Jackson. “Well that eye is a bit smaller than the other one and the nose is a little small and crooked, but I think it looks pretty darn good,” he said while Jackson smiled with pride. 

The other jack-o-lanterns sat next to Jackson’s. Each one perfectly carved and designed by Jackson’s mom and grandmother. As darkness fell, Jackson and his grandfather put candles in the jack-o-lanterns. They began to glow in the darkness. Jackson’s pumpkin glowed the brightest and no one noticed his weird looking skin. His different sized eyes and little triangle nose made this jack-o-lantern very special and certainly stood out from the other pumpkins. Jackson called his mother and grandmother out to the front porch, where Jackson and his grampy stood on the walk starring at the jack-o-lanterns. The perfect jack-o-lanterns sat in the shadow of Jackson’s pumpkin because it glowed the brightest. 

“Jackson, you have created the best jack-o-lantern ever,” his mom said in amazement. “He just needed someone to love him,” Jackson said. His mother looked over at grampy with a tear in her eye. “You are a very special young man Jackson,” his grandfather said. “Happy jack-o-lanterns glow the brightest,” said his grandmother. “Your pumpkin must be very happy.”

Later that night, Jackson came home with a bag full of Halloween treats. He walked past the jack-o-lanterns on the porch in his Green Lantern costume. He stopped and grinned at his pumpkin, still glowing the brightest on the porch. As Jackson turned to walk in the door, he could swear he saw his pumpkin wink at him with his weird smaller eye. Jackson smiled and winked back.