Pumper was a character I created when I was 10 years old. It was a school assignment to write a Halloween story while I was in Fifth Grade. The original story was my exploration in character development and early chapter books.
Pumper’s first adventure is a bit strange, with the loss of his entire family due to high school bullies that smash them in the middle of the night. Thinking that was too scary, I took that out as an adult, and came up with a quest adventure to replace some of the previous ideas.
Here is an excerpt from the beginning of Pumper the Pumpkin:
Once upon a time, there was a small pumpkin left in the pumpkin patch on Halloween Eve. All the other pumpkins had been picked and given good homes. But Pumper the Pumpkin was the only one left of all the pumpkins that had been before.
He wanted to be a Jack-o-Lantern. It was his one wish, to be all lit up on Halloween night, bright and shiny, so all of the Trick-o-Treaters could say “Hi” and not be afraid.
He was feeling rather sorry for himself when he heard some crying out in the distance.
Who could that be? He was the only one left in the patch? Or was he?
He headed off slowly in the direction of the crying. He slid over drying vines and dead leaves. There were holes and ditches where all the pumpkins had been on display.
He went up, and then down. He went sideways, and around. And then he arrived where the crying had started.
It was a girl pumpkin, all alone. She sniffed when she saw him. “Who are you?”
“My name is Pumper. What’s yours?”
“Nice to meet you.” He nodded and asked, “How come you are all alone in the pumpkin patch?”
“Because no one picked me for their pumpkin. All I want to be is a Jack-o-lantern. It means so much to be lit up so all the Trick-0-Treaters will say ‘Hi’ and not be scared.”
“Wow! I thought I was the only one. I thought I was all alone in the pumpkin patch.”
“Me too,” sniffed Mirabel.
“Maybe we can work together to find someone to make us into Jack-o-Lanterns.”
So off they went to look for someone that could turn them both into Jack-o-Lanterns.
They went up and down, around and between drying vines. Then they spotted a maze of corn. The farmer had cut paths throughout the cornfield. Maybe someone was still exploring their way out. After all, the sun wasn’t down yet.
So they went into the maze. They went around and down through husks of corn. They went slow and fast until they found the middle. In the middle was a scarecrow.
“Hello Mr. Scarecrow,” said Pumper. “We’re trying to find someone to carve us for Halloween. Could you carve us please?”
“I should think not,” said the scarecrow. “My job here is to make sure the crows don’t get any of the corn in the maze. There is still plenty to do, and I don’t have time to do any carving. What you need is a nice boy or girl to carve you. There might be one or two still left at the other end of the field. The sun isn’t down yet, and many people look all the way until it is dark.”
“Thank you friend Scarecrow,” said Mirabel. “We’ll go see what is at the other end of the field.”
And off they went, up and down, and all around, until they reached the other end of the field. There they found a crow.
A Note on the cover art: I drew the cover and used GIMP to complete the project. My husband, Keith, helped with final touches. The drawing of Pumper was developed when I was 10. Each year, I would carve him from my chosen pumpkin with the same eyes and face. One year I got creative and used paper to create his facial features. He lasted until Thanksgiving that way. Now Pumper will live forever in this Halloween Tale.