Caught In Costume

Pumpkin is weird. At first, he liked the smell, but now he hated it. Who’s idea was it anyway? Cotton couldn’t remember, all he noticed was how heavy, slimy, and stinky the Jack O’Lantern became as he sauntered down the street with his head inside. He didn’t care about candy, he didn’t care about his friends, he cared about getting his head out of this thing. “Get it off of me!”

His friend laughed at him. They couldn’t help it. Cotton dropped his bag of treats and got both hands on the sides of the orange fruit. He pushed up on it with all the strength his spindly arms had. It slid up his neck to his chin, and that was it. It was stuck. He dropped his arms to his side, hands balled in fists. His skin itched anywhere the flesh of the pumpkin left its juices. “Argh!”

“Ah, Cotton, chill out. Trick or treats over at eight, and then we will get you out.”

“Easy for you to say, Buster, your costume isn’t stinky and doesn’t make you itch.” Cotton felt a little whiny, but what he said was true. Buster’s costume was lame, some horns, a red cape, eyeliner mustache and goatee, and a cheap plastic pitchfork. He tried to push the pumpkin off again. This time Buster came over to help. The pull on his head hurt a little. Even with both boys tugging on the gourd, it didn’t budge. They both gave up. The smell was getting worse, and the itching was too. “Let’s just go home.”

Cotton could see his half-full bag of goodies on the ground. Well, if he was going home early, gosh darn it, he was taking those snacks with him. He bent forward to pick up his bag and plop, fell square on his pumpkin-stuck head. The pumpkin was now way down his neck, and his eyes misaligned with the holes they cut in the Jack O’Lantern. “Aww, man! Buster, help me up, and can you grab my candy.”

Buster helped his friend up. But no matter what they tried, pulling, pushing, twisting, spinning, twirling, and finally punching the pumpkin, the eyes wouldn’t line up correctly. “Here, grab my arm, I’ll walk you home, maybe your mom or dad will be able to get this off.”

The pumpkin-headed Cotton and his friend Buster started back to Cotton’s house. Slimy as the pumpkin was Cotton didn’t feel it anymore. The burning itch went away. When it did, the smell did too. Weird, he could see now, out the eyes of the Jack O’Lantern. Cotton stopped, “Hey Buster, I’m good. Let go get some more treats.”

“You sure, you were like crying about it for the last half hour?” Cotton’s whining annoyed Buster so much, he secretly hoped to ditch him. A grumble from Cotton’s stomach interrupted Buster. “Dang, your stomach is loud. You hungry?”

Buster dropped his bag when he saw Cotton. The eyes and mouth of the carved pumpkin now each had a blue flame burning in them. “Tricked you! You’re my treat!”

Buster let out a scream as the mouth of the Jack O’Lantern on Cotton’s shoulders opened wide with the blue flames shooting out surrounding him, and with a single bite swallowed the boy dressed as the devil whole.


Published Author at Anatolian Press. Debut Novel "Life Is In The Blood" out February 6, 2023.

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