“Mommie, oh mommie, lets make a scary Halloween man, please mommie, oh please,” Jack and Jill said to their mother. They had come to the country to spend the weekend with Grandma McCabe.
The mother frowned and looked at her two children, “No, I must go into town and see someone, maybe tomorrow if we have time.”
Their jaws did drop and their glee fleetly was gone.
Mother was soon gone. Her important meeting was with two old girl friends.
“Come here if you would, let's look at some pictures,” Grandma McCabe said to her two grands. “Lets find a neat picture and see what we can do.” She spoke with her grandmotherly charm and a big smile.
As the two children got into the Country Living magazine Grandma went out on the back porch and brought in a good-size pumpkin. The children looked up.
“This is Fred Pumpkin, and he says he would like to become your jack-o-lantern. That is as soon as you two can decide on a face,” she added.
The two children suddenly forgot their glumness and doldrums.
“This one, the scary one,” Jack said as he pointed to the page of prize winning faces.
“No, Jack, no. This one, a happy jack O lantern,” Jill suggested.
Grandma, not wanting a fuss or to take sides placed two blank sheets of paper on the table and two pencils. “Close the magazine and each of you draw yours. Then we will see what we can do.”
Five minutes went by, then ten, and the erasers were becoming nubs. Grandma handed the two a ginger cookie she had baked and sat down. “Now let’s see what we can do at making a composite since we only have one pumpkin.
“Grandma, I could carve mine on one side and Jill could carve hers on the other side,” the small boy suggested. But Grandma asked whose side would face the road so people could see it.
Half an hour later, on a thin sheet of paper, was a goofy looking face. “He isn’t too scary, but he is neat,” Jack said.
“Oh, I think him dear,” Jill added. The face was drawn on the pumpkin and the three slowly and with not too many miscues had Fred carved. Grandma put a candle inside and then the curtains and shades were drawn. They all three were beaming.
“Where do we put him, where will Fred be so everyone can see him?” Grandma asked. The front porch? No, the fence down next to the road were Jack and Jill’s suggestions.
“Get your coats and let’s explore a home for Fred,” Grandma said.
The lawn on the East side of the house looked neat and the tall thin pines looked eerie. Soon Grandma’s old truck was employed to haul a pile of fodder for Fred a body. It was placed around an old gate post with Fred’s head resting on the top of the post. The children were running and playing, as happy as they could be while they stood and looked at their masterpiece. Fred the ghoul of the lane, smiling Fred. “Grandma, Fred needs a coat or jacket,” Jill said.
“Well, let’s find Fred a coat,” Grandma said.
Soon Jack came running with an old croaker sack, “How about this Grandma, how about this?”
The sack was split and Jack had a wrap. Grandma brought out an extension cord and a small light was placed in Fred so he would light up. By the time Fred was finished, the three were tired and the shadows were growing long. Finally they went inside to cook supper.
When their mother returned she looked at Fred and shrugged. She was thinking about Everett Classen, with whom she was going to dinner with that night. Mother had ideas of a new husband, not of Fred the jack-O-lantern, and it did not bother the children.
As soon as supper was over and things were cleaned up, the three got their coats, went out, and turned on the light. They walked up the road to view him. As I said Grandma was quite an artistic lady so she had put a small flood light out front to light up Fred so he could be seen.
The next morning, the last day of October, Fred’s picture was on the front page of the newspaper, with a write-up about Jack and Jill who had made him. And it was reported that Fred actually came to life when certain young people were around him. I don’t know about that but I would not doubt it for Grandma was a special person.