Pumpkin Snatchers

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Halloween is a special holiday. It’s a day allowing kids, and even adults, to become anything they want for a night. Halloween is the only day that allows people to delve into the darkest part of their soul and display it on the outside. A day where people do not have to hide their sense of humor. Halloween has always been my favorite holiday until this year. This year I am angry because some asshole is destroying all the pumpkins in the neighborhood. My house, this Halloween morning, was finally hit. There is almost nothing left of my pumpkin, and even the Big Brown bats and crows are acting disturbed.

Monday, October 16, 2017

Mr. Wilson has been my neighbor for 17 years. He never had kids. His wife died two years after their wedding day, and he never re-married. He loves kids though, and his house has always been a favorite to go to for the trick-or-treaters. He buys lots of candy, and he always has a few regular-sized candy bars hidden in the snack-size treat bowl. Those who get the large bars scream with excitement and make the other kids jealous. Yes – his house has always added joy to my favorite holiday – but this year was looking to be different.

Mr. Wilson was on his sidewalk looking toward his house. His old and ratty LA Dodgers hat was held in his hand while scratching the over-sized bald spot on the top of his head. He did not look cheery at all. Instead my favorite old man was visibly upset.

“Good morning Mr. Wilson. Is everything okay?” I asked.

“Good morning Tim. No – it certainly is not. I spent hours carving that 20 pound pumpkin – and I woke up this morning to almost nothing left of it. Someone destroyed it, and left me only a small piece to remind me of my hard work! Who would do that?”

I could feel my forehead frown as I searched for the proper reply. “That is terrible! I will help carve another one. I purchased 2 pumpkins and only carved one so far. Can I bring it over and we will work together on it?”

“Maybe later. I was going to buy my candy today, but now I am not so sure I am doing that either.”

He walked off clearly annoyed. I knew better than to press the issue further.

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

“Tim, are you home?” my wife called out while walking through the door.

“Yes. How was work?” I asked while walking through the door of our basement.

“Work was fine, but two more houses have had their pumpkins destroyed. Angela and Rodney had the same thing happen as Mr. Wilson. Some kids must think they are being funny, but I am starting to wonder if there is any point to us having our pumpkins out.”

“I am way ahead of you. I knew about Rodney – that happened yesterday. Eight houses have now been hit and they seem to be working their way down the neighborhood. So I moved our pumpkins to the back yard. The small one even fit on the fence of the garden. I will put them out Halloween night for the kids to see.”

“I am starting to re-think my pumpkin costume for this year. I don’t want anyone taking me.”

“I would never let that happen” I said while kissing her neck.

Kathy smiled and walked upstairs to change out of her work clothes.

Tuesday, October 31, 2017. Morning

Several neighbors brought their pumpkins into their garages after 10 houses were plagued by the pumpkin thief. I left mine outback, and besides our bulldog, Beast, lifting his leg on one, they were in perfect condition.

Living near Castlewood Canyon in Colorado has always given Halloween a better atmosphere than I had when we lived in Salina, Kansas. Bats and crows are common to see here, and what better way to set the mood for Halloween then to have these mammals and birds decorating the sky? But even they have been acting different this month. Are they watching the pumpkin snatchers? I couldn’t help but wonder.

Putting on gloves, thanks to my dog, I went to get the pumpkins from the backyard. Mr. Wilson never took me up on carving the second one, and he didn’t replace the one destroyed either. I did hear he caved and bought candy, but rumor was the selection would be different this year. He was clearly still upset.

Two neighbors replaced their pumpkins only to have those destroyed and taken too. The neighborhood was less cheery thanks to the pumpkin snatchers. I was hoping the mood would change in time for kids to come knocking on doors for treats.

When I walked out to my backyard I could not believe what I saw. The pumpkin on my deck was destroyed. I couldn’t help but laugh knowing the snatchers had dog urine on their hands. My laugh quickly turned to unbelief when I looked at the pumpkin on my garden fence. Not only was it half gone, but I caught the pumpkin thief red-handed! He was eating the pumpkin, and he was completely content with me watching his destruction!

“Well, that is not the asshole I was expecting” I said allowed. Just then my wife came outside and started laughing. She took a picture of the thief with her phone.

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“Let’s go tell the neighbors and restore the cheer in this neighborhood” she said.

While I never imagined a squirrel would be the pumpkin snatcher – I also wondered how many were part of the destruction. After all – hundreds of pounds of pumpkin had been consumed. Maybe that is why the bats and crows were acting funny. The squirrels must be taking over their neighborhood!

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