The Zombie Pumpkin

That may or may not be the ill-fated gourd.
Some time around my 10th year of life my local Cub Scouts den was holding its annual pumpkin carving contest at its Halloween shindig. Yes, costumes were involved and I think I went dressed as "some guy in a cape" because I liked capes and that was that. Capes and top hats, for some reason.

Anyways, we had been tasked with carving the scariest pumpkin face for a chance to win some stupid prize, and I was all over this. We got our pumpkin carving kits, the little saws and knives, and the book of scary faces to trace, and I took home my pumpkin intent on owning that competition. I hacked my way through this thing, gutting it and scooping up all that orange puke and seeds and went to town with the tracing paper and whatnot. Then I just let the thing sit out for two weeks.

After the first week, I began to notice how the cover didn't fit as well as it did the first night, and then how the eyes were getting all soft and soggy, and then how oblong the thing got, like it had been sitting under something. A few days later, there were dark spots on the inside, and gray spots on the outside, and I just figured "Well, maybe nobody will notice." By the time I was set to bring this Jack-O-Lantern to the contest, it was barely holding itself together. One wrong move, and it was just going to smoosh down into moldy, green and orange smelly mush... green of course, being the mold. Apparently I was supposed to refrigerate it or something.

So like a dork I brought it in anyway and sat it down next to all the other entries looking store-bought fresh by comparison, thinking "oh well, there's no way I'm winning this one." If anyone asked me which one was mine I'd just point the one next to it. So I went about the Halloween party jumping on the stacks of folding tables, getting yelled at for jumping on the stacks of folding tables, and doing whatever else so that I could ignore the putrid oozy mush ball at the front of the room. When it finally came time to reveal who had won the pumpkin carving contest, I may have taken a short retreat to the bathroom just so I wouldn't have to be seen lugging my smelly, moldy, wilted, zombie of a pumpkin off the stage like a double loser.

They awarded 3rd place, 2nd place, and lo and behold, tagged that last big blue ribbon on the side of none other than my smelly decrepit mush of a hollowed-out gourd. Now I swear to you, the whole place just nodded their heads in agreement, for surely, that thing was the scariest one indeed. And when I went up to accept my stupid prize, I learned a valuable lesson about what being a Boy Scout is all about: being prepared. I may have told one or two people that I did it on purpose, and that it was supposed to be a "zombie pumpkin," as in, "from beyond the pumpkin grave," but I only wished I came up with something that ingenious on purpose. Either way, I went home that night with a swell of pride. The pumpkin went in the trash on the way out the door.

P.S. - For disaster relief in the wake of "Frankenstorm," this former Boy Scout asks you to consider a donation to the American Red Cross to assist people struggling in New York, New Jersey, and affected areas. Thank you.


  1. WOW! That's awesome! =P I wonder if anyone ever noticed what it really was. =P