There was a very smart girl. Named Becky. But she was also quite a dreamer. When she wasn’t getting straight A’s in school, she was immersed in the land of “could-be.” She believed in all manner of wonderful things: elves and fairies, the Easter Bunny; but most of all she believed in The Great Pumpkin.
The day was coming. All the other kids talked about how much candy they would get trick or treating. Becky didn’t give a fig about candy. She was waiting, as she had every year that she could remember, to see The Great Pumpkin. So far, she had fallen asleep on All Hallows Eve at some late hour: 12 or 2 or so, and when she awoke the next morning, she knew at once that she had missed him. The evidence was clear: small shavings of pumpkin stalk on her windowsill. Her mother said it was dust. Becky knew better.
This would be the year. It had to be. She was ten now, double-digits, and she could stay awake all night. She went to bed but immediately sat up and watched the pumpkin-shaped clock on her wall. The hands were witches fingers. 10, 11, 12. Her eyes fluttered, but no – she was determined. 1, 2, 3. Now her spirits sank. Where was he? Could she have been so wrong?
4, 4:30. At 4:45 Becky heard something. She lay very still. The wind blew through the open window but she heard another noise. It was a low cackle, a moist clicking – hard to describe but she was fully awake now.
Somehow, through the small opening, the most immense pumpkin rolled through. He had piercing, staring black eyes and a snaggletoothed grin that covered half of his pumpkin face. He was terrifying but Becky was brave.
“Are you The Great Pumpkin?” she said, keeping most of the quaver out of her voice.
He squinted, then glared at her. “WHO DARES TO ASK?”
“I dare,” said Becky. Her knees were knocking under the covers, but she spoke clearly.
“EH? YOU?” The Great Pumpkin looked so menacing but then, with his spindly arms, he lifted up his stem and reached inside. He put two heaping handfuls (and those hands were bony and gnarled) of the most beautifully gilt-wrapped candy anyone had ever seen – on her bed.
He then rolled back up to the window, turned and said, “Happy Halloween, Becky.” His grin was all that remained, hovering over her until she fell asleep.