The Mischievous Pumpkin
Georgia farmer brings home a very strange Halloween pumpkin that causes all sorts of trouble. Written by Julie Ann Wallo.
Duckett Barnes was known for growing the finest pumpkins in all of Mountain Creek, Georgia. They were the biggest and the brightest; and that was before a candle was placed inside.
The road leading to Booger Bear Hollow was lined with dense trees. The heavy limbs hanged low over the pot hole-riddled road. It was a place you didn’t want to be after sunset. The stark black branches from the surrounding trees formed a spooky silhouette against the orange glow of the setting sun. Just the sight of the long crawling branches sent a chill up the spine. But if you wanted one of Duckett’s pumpkins, this is where you had to go.
Well, Ottie Brown’s wife, known as “Miss Duella,” sent her husband to get one of Duckett’s pumpkins. It was Halloween. Miss Duella had been after Ottie for days and he had just about ran out of excuses. The truth was, the further he stayed away from Booger Bear Hollow, the better he liked it.
There was a buzzard sitting on the fence as Ottie backed the truck from the driveway. Buzzards were a bad sign and Ottie’s nerves were already frayed.
Driving down to Booger Bear Hollow was a test of bravery all in itself. Ottie never claimed to be a brave man. It was all he could do to keep his knees from knocking as he got out of the truck.
There was an old tin bucket hanging on a nail in a hundred year old oak tree. The pumpkins were paid for on the honor system. Just throw a coin or two in the bucket, choose a pumpkin and off you would go. As long as you were happy, Duckett Barnes was happy.
Ottie threw a couple of coins in the bucket, listening as the coins rolled round and round, then finally settling with a clank on the bottom of the rusted bucket.
Stepping in a hole and twisting his ankle, he sat down on the first pumpkin he came to and rubbed his foot. He did not put much thought into the pumpkin he chose. The one closest to the truck would do just fine. A pumpkin is a pumpkin he mumbled to himself.
He got out his pocket knife to cut the pumpkin from the vine. That was the toughest vine he’d ever cut. Carrying the pumpkin, he hobbled back to the truck and struggled to load it on the tailgate. Ottie noticed for the first time that while the other pumpkins were sitting straight, this one was a bit caddywompered. And the closer he looked he noticed this pumpkin was tinted an odd greenish color. You could tell this pumpkin came from bad seed; but there was no way Ottie Brown was going back into that pumpkin patch.
Ottie scooted, pushed and pulled the thing to the corner of the truck bed. He had never known a pumpkin to be so much trouble. He packed corn sacks and corn cobs tightly around it to hold it in place. If this pumpkin were to bust, Miss Duella would send him straight back to Booger Bear Hollow.
Ottie got in his truck and dabbed his forehead with his handkerchief. His nerves were already on edge when something caused the truck to backfire. Poor Ottie, he thought someone was shooting at him.
He mashed the gas pedal to the floor. As he sped off down the winding road he had to swerve to keep from hitting a squirrel that was sitting in the road. When he did the back end of the truck slid off into the ditch. Immediately he could hear the “hiss” of a tire rapidly loosing its air.
He pulled over, got out his jack to change the tire. He thought he heard someone laughing at him. He looked but no one was around. He knew it sounded crazy but the sound seemed to be coming from…the pumpkin!
As he was putting away the jack, W. T. Allen was racing down the road. Mardell must have sent him to Booger Bear Hollow too. No one would go there on their own accord. W. T. stopped to see if he could help. “No thanks, W. T. I’ve got it; you go on and get out of here before sunset.”
You didn’t have to tell W. T. twice. He was off before Ottie finished his sentence.
When Ottie Brown finally got home, Miss Duella was mad as an ole’ wet hen! Whatever took so long?
“Never mind you, Duella, next year we are planting our own pumpkin,” he said, and went to lie down on the couch with a cold rag on his head.
Miss Duella put her hands on her hips in disgust as she inspected the pumpkin Ottie had brought home. It was the bumpiest, most discolored, crooked thing she had ever seen. It was too late to do anything about it now, she reasoned. She would have to make do with what she had.
When Miss Duella cut the lid from the pumpkin, she could see the seeds inside were a slimy black. Black seeds in a watermelon, yes. Black seed in a pumpkin…well, she had never laid eyes on such a thing.
Miss Duella carved triangle eyes and a zigzag mouth. As the evening grew darker the expression on the jack-o-lantern’s face began to look…well, downright spooky!
Of all the pumpkins in Booger Bear Hollow, why did he have to pick THIS one?
With Ottie still recovering on the couch, Miss Duella struggled to get the pumpkin to the porch. Every time she tried to light the candle, the flame would go right back out. It was almost like that pumpkin was blowing it out itself. She must have lit that candle a hundred times.
No sooner than Miss Duella was in the house…the wind blew. The mischievous pumpkin rocked back and forth and then rolled over Midnight’s tail. ME-OW! MEOW! The cat cried. Midnight was Miss Duella’s cat and seldom did she hear a peep out of her.
Miss Duella came to the door to see what was happening. When she opened the door, Midnight jumped up with her hair raised and her back arched. She hissed and extended her claws toward the jack-o-lantern. Meanwhile, the mischievous pumpkin had rolled right back in place.
The first trick-or-treaters to arrive were dressed as a ghost, a witch, and a scare crow. They walked up the stone lined walkway crunching leaves and twigs with every step. As soon as they stepped onto the porch they heard a whisper…coming from…the pumpkin?
“Black cats, bats, and spiders galore,
Adding to the Halloween lore.
Shadows dancing in the night
from the candle’s light.”
All Miss Duella heard was high pitched shrills and the sound of children running away.
By the time she rushed to the door, everything LOOKED to be normal. It must be the squeaky shutters or the rustling of the leaves she thought.
Then she saw Midnight.
“Midnight!” she scolded. “Did you scare those little trick-or-treaters? You naughty, naughty cat!”
Midnight meowed trying to explain herself but Miss Duella scooped her up and carried her in the house.
The next trick-or-treaters were dressed in cowboy boots and hats. They had blue and white bandanas tied around their necks. They were the twins, Joshua and Jacob, from down the road.
What happened next made the mischievous pumpkin laugh his evil laugh. Just as he began his chant…
“Boo to you and all of your kind
The frights tonight are mine all mine…”
…the little cow pokes hollered and took off running as quickly as their little boots could carry them! Jacob snagged his britches on a thorn from one of Miss Duella’s rose bushes. He was running so fast he left a patch of his pants flapping in the breeze.
Miss Duella hastily untied her apron and raced to open the screen door. She called after the twins to see what happened. All she could hear was “the pu, pu, pumpkin!” and they kept on running. She was at her wits end. What was frightening the children? She had spent all morning and afternoon making candied apples and popcorn balls. She loved Halloween and only wanted the children to have fun.
The pumpkin found great delight in scaring the children. The more trouble he caused the brighter he glowed.
He rolled his way to the barn. As he entered, the mischievous pumpkin grinned even bigger. He wondered what trouble he could stir up here.
The mischievous pumpkin caused a terrific fright. He sneaked up behind Bessie the cow and shouted “BOO!” When the pumpkin said BOO she said MOO-O-O!…kicked up her heels and sent the milk bucket flying. It ricocheted from the rafters to the walls. The bucket knocked the lucky horse shoe upside down draining all of its good luck. When the bucket finally came to a rest, it was sitting on top of Bessie’s head. Her brown eyes, big as saucers, could barely peek beneath the rim of the bucket.
The goats were baahing, the chickens were clucking, and poor ole Bessie let out an exasperated “moo.”
Miss Duella ran to the barn with a pitchfork in one hand and a lantern in the other. She had no idea what was upsetting the animals. But she was determined to put a stop to it.
Entering the barn she could see Bessie with the milk bucket on her head.
“Oh, my poor Bessie,” she couldn’t help but chuckle. “What in the world have you gotten yourself into?” She gently worked the bucket off of Bessie’s head. She rubbed Bessie’s nose trying to comfort her.
Miss Duella spotted the jack-o-lantern trying to roll away.
“YOU!” exclaimed Miss Duella, shaking her finger sternly towards the pumpkin. “You are behind all of this! Well, I will fix you!”
And fix him she did. The next evening the sweet smell of warm cinnamon and spices filled the kitchen.
After supper, Miss Duella placed the most delightful pie on the table. And for the very first time ever, the mischievous pumpkin was good…really good! And Mr. and Mrs. Brown gobbled it all up.
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9 Responses to “The Mischievous Pumpkin”
Love the creativity! Julie Ann Wallo actually puts you into the story with them! Thanks for sharing with us! “The Moonlit Road” is a fun and refreshing website!
What a refreshing festive tale! We need more writers like Julie Ann Wallo that can weave creative wholesome stories. I look forward to reading more of her work which takes us back to simpler times. Thank you for this hidden treasure The Moonlit Road!
Not spooky, but kinda cute.
Mary Ann Pierce:
Julie Ann Wallo is a wonderful storyteller! I thoroughly enjoyed The Mischievous Pumpkin and look forward to many more stories!
this story is pretty good but not very scary
I loved this! It was delightful and enchanting! Exactly the sort of exciting adventure that children need! You did a fantastic job, Julie Ann!
This is a good story.
The writer has used her creativity to the fullest , to carve out such an interesting and new story.
BUT, this is not at all spooky!!!
Halloween Stories Pumpkin - RunningMan:
[…] The Mischievous Pumpkin – Southern Ghost Stories … – Tags: Georgia, Halloween Story. 8 Responses to “The Mischievous Pumpkin” amylee dire: Love the creativity! Julie Ann Wallo actually puts you into the story with them! […]