Rejected pumpkin ponders jack o’lantern fate

To be carved or not to be carved, that is the question. Whether tis nobler in the vine to suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous farm life, or to take arms against a sea of vegetables, and by opposing end them?

By Sam Hayward:

Graphic by Wendy Qiu:

To be carved or not to be carved, that is the question. Whether tis nobler in the vine to suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous farm life, or to take arms against a sea of vegetables, and by opposing end them?

Life here in the garden is miserable. Everyday I sit here in row 4, column 62 listening to the cabbage complain about his worm problems and the annoying squash whine about his life-long dream to be turned into some kind of soup. As for me, I’ve got my own issues too, but at least I keep them to myself.

For one thing, the farmer feeds me with a steroid-rich soil to enhance my growth and weight, but the extra chemicals only screws with my moods all the time. On top of it, I am a Cinderella pumpkin. All the human people only liked me in some make-believe movie; when it comes to real life I might as well be dirt. And yes, I do have gross, green bumps all over me and am more of a dark, icky orange color when compared with the rest of my pumpkin peeps.

As Halloween and Thanksgiving start to creep around the corner, the seeds inside me start to tremble. One by one my friends are handpicked to be carved into magnificent shapes and spooky faces, while a mysterious illumination makes them glow in the darkness of night. They are lined up along the entrance into the farmer’s house and put on a marvelous display for the whole world to see. The designs for the pumpkin are limitless: disturbing grins, cats on edge, one-tooth pirates or cryptic messages with curvy letters. And of course, the object of the night—to frighten the greedy short farmers in strange clothing carrying white, silky bags. These farmers make lots of loud shrieks and always line up at the door, and they do not leave until after their demands have been met.

However, there is a serious downside to the carving process. As an aged pumpkin with an observant eye, I know exactly what will happen this upcoming Halloween. The farmer will place his orange surgical tools out on the lawn. With the most intense precision, he will slice, chop and sever the chosen ones while the rest of us sit in watch in awe. Each of the pumpkin’s head will be scalped off and then his intestines are going to be ripped out and thrown away. There are years when the mess is too gory for me to watch, especially when the farmer cuts a dear pumpkin friend.

For so long, I have had the deepest desire to join my friends in this world-wide celebration of the candy god, Lord Butterfingers, known as Halloween. But at the same time, I am afraid of what dangers lay beyond the unknown and intense pain of a carving death. I certainly know that I do not want some farmer to bake me into a circle-shaped food with a white, creamy substance on top. But is there more to the life of a carved pumpkin? I suppose I will never know. I will always be left to wonder.

Since no pumpkin, of aught he is carved, knows what is’t to leave betimes, let be.

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