Pumpkin Dreams – a Halloween Tale

It was a beautiful Halloween morning, sunny and warm for a Fall day. Wiley, a girl in her early teens, had already finished her chores around the farm and was eager to start decorating their home for tonight’s event. Her family will host the annual Halloween party, inviting all nearby friends and neighbors. There was lots of work ahead, and the entire family was busy doing their part to ready the farmhouse for guests.

Next on her agenda were the pumpkins. Earlier this year, Wiley planted a patch in a small area of the farm designated by her dad. She was able to grow and harvest around a dozen pumpkins, and yesterday, had placed them on a long table in the barn.

In addition to the worktable, the barn housed tools and equipment needed to run the farm. It was also used to store seeds, young plants, and saplings. Wiley stood at the table examining her pumpkins while trying to decide the sort order. She made a decision; from right to left, the pumpkins were arranged from smallest to largest. Satisfied with the order, she said out loud: “Yeah! The biggest one will be the centerpiece on our buffet table.”

Her dad, sitting on a small tractor, drove into the barn, parked it, then shut off the engine. “What are you doing Wiley?” he asked. Wiley explained that she just arranged the pumpkins and will be decorating the house, starting with the smaller ones. She grabbed the first two smallest pumpkins and headed out of the barn. Her dad grabbed a few more and said, “Here, I’ll help you.”

After several more trips, only the two largest pumpkins were left on the table. They were the most perfect having the classic pumpkin shape, very few scars, and with deep, rich orange coloring. The pumpkin on the left was just slightly larger than the other.

In the quiet of the barn, the bigger pumpkin spoke and said: “At long last, after many months on the vine soaking up sun, water, and air, I have grown in strength and size. I have safely endured an onslaught of savage animals, including our nemesis – the rodents. And after having been poked and prodded, and finally harvested, I am hardened, I am ripe, and I am ready. I am a mighty pumpkin – strong, solid, flawless. I am Halloween personified. All will gaze at me in awe as I inspire visions of ghosts and goblins. I will bring pride to our farmer family as the grand All-hallows Eve centerpiece. This is, after all, my dream.”

“This, too, is my dream,” said the smaller pumpkin but only half-heartedly. This pumpkin did not originally have any aspirations as the All-hallows Eve centerpiece. In fact, the thought had not crossed its mind until the bigger pumpkin explained its dream. But since it was mentioned, the smaller pumpkin felt jealousy toward the other pumpkin. “I have suffered and survived the season through the harvest, with my sole purpose of bringing joy to all through fright and fear. But you are larger – you, who grew on the strongest vine, who received more sun and water, who was carefully protected from our savage nemesis – you were groomed to be perfect. I, on the other hand, struggled to not only to survive, but to grow and be a contender for the grand Halloween ornament. Here I am today, a large, round pumpkin, yet slightly smaller than you – so not quite perfect, but no less deserving.”

“Do not sulk or be agitated,” responded the bigger pumpkin. “You can sit by my side, but below me. You can shine and scare, but not as well as I. They will gaze at us both but will only attain fright upon witnessing my presence. I, and not you, have that honor.”

The smaller pumpkin, irritated at the other pumpkin’s response, would not stand at being second to his neighbor. His jealousy grew. He thought for a minute and said, “That will not do. I am perfect and more deserving.” The smaller pumpkin with all its might violently pushed the bigger pumpkin off the table. The pumpkin fell, shrieking all the way down. Upon hitting the ground, it exploded, leaving behind a splatter of broken orange flesh and gooey seeds. “Now I am the perfect one,” gloated the remaining pumpkin.

Wiley’s elder sister, Greta, came into the barn. “Ah,” she said. “There you are,” pointing to the remaining pumpkin on the table. She lifted the pumpkin and turned around to head back to the house. Wiley came in and saw Greta, the pumpkin in hand, and the remains of another pumpkin on the floor being nibbled by mice, then said: “Where are you going with my pumpkin, and why did you trash the other one?”

“No idea how that one ended up on the floor,” said Greta. She continued, “But I need this one for mom and the buffet table.”

Inside the kitchen, Greta, her mom, and several others were busy preparing and cooking food that would be featured in the buffet table. Greta roughly sawed at the top of the pumpkin. It was a slow process given her use of a dull, serrated knife. Having removed the top, she began scooping its insides with a spoon, digging, and scratching deeply into the flesh. After cleaning the interior, she grabbed a sharp kitchen knife and sliced the pumpkin into small cubes, carefully separating the flesh from the outer skin. Throughout this ‘preparation’, the pumpkin screamed in agony, feeling each slice, cut, and scrape. But its wails and screams were unheard as they were audible only to itself. “This will make a delicious pumpkin soup,” said Greta’s mom.

Four of Cups

The day before, Wiley went to various neighboring houses to invite them to the Halloween party. She stopped at the nearby Tarot Reader’s house with the same invitation. Curious, she asked the Reader how the party will go. The Reader asked Wiley to draw a card. She chose one and turned it over. It was the Four of Cups in reverse.

“That’s an odd card,’ said the Reader. “It doesn’t directly address your question. What it does say is that the ‘grass is greener on the other side.’ The card depicts a person with three cups sitting at their feet, and a fourth being offered. The person is uninterested in any of the cups, yet stares in earnest at the distant horizon. It signifies aloofness – taking matters for granted, and a yearning for things that are not within their grasp. Coupled with the reverse aspect, any action taken may result in unwanted consequences.”


This is Dante P Ramon, your host and author of The Dark Reading, scary stories inspired by Tarot cards. I invite you to listen to our podcast regularly, and visit us on the web at TheDarkReading.com. And please feel free to share The Dark Reading with your friends.

I just picked the Death card, so good night for now.


Season 1 Episode 9.

©2020 The Dark Reading. All Rights Reserved.

All third-party marks are the property of their respective owners. Image credit: Deviant Moon Tarot, Patrick Valenza.


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