‘Tis the season for ghosts and goblins and jack-o-lanterns, trick-or-treaters, and all the candy corn you can eat.
But for my family, the Halloween season holds a special “tradition of terror”—The Glowing Orange Pumpkin of Doom.
The Glowing Orange Pumpkin of Doom usually first appears in late September, in someone’s front yard. Soon, as if on the ends of an ever-growing invisible pumpkin vine, he starts popping up in yards and on front porches all over town.
The pumpkins are, of course, those plastic illuminated lawn ornaments that you can get at any department store. Over the years, it’s come in several designs—sometimes with a big, friendly face, sometimes with spooky eyes and a jagged sawtooth grin.
My daughter was maybe six or so when we first cast those illuminated pumpkins as something insidious and evil. Every time we would see one, we would pretend it was the same one keeping pace with our progress as we drove along, popping up here and there.
“Oh no!” we would cry in mock horror and dread. “The Glowing Orange Pumpkin of Doom!”
“He’s laughing at us,” my daughter would say, interpreting the pumpkin’s smile as the grin of an evil genius ready to spring a trap on us.
But there would be some nights that we’d go out and drive around to look for Glowing Orange Pumpkins the way we’d look at outdoor Christmas lights in December. Each time we’d see a Glowing Orange Pumpkin, we would pretend we had to make a quick getaway before he used his horrible powers on us.
After all, the Glowing Orange Pumpkin of Doom can spit pumpkin seeds at our eyes to blind us. He can breath fire from the candle that’s inside all jack-o-lanterns. He can reach after us with its gripping vines.
My son has been in on the act for the past few years, and he loves pretending to be just as terrified as his sister and I.
A couple years ago, we got a Glowing Orange Pumpkin of Doom for ourselves. We never put it out until the beginning of October and only after we’ve seen someone else put out theirs. After all, we don’t want to be the ones responsible for unleashing evil upon the world.
If I’m out in the evening, my son will make sure our Glowing Orange Pumpkin of Doom is lit up to meet me when I come home.
And while I’ll feign horror as we always do, I’m actually glad to see the Glowing Orange Pumpkin. Like a bright orange beacon in the night, it lights my way to the front door and the people in the world I love the best. That’s the season’s best treat of all.