The pumpkin farm stretched before me under a gray afternoon sky. I planned to pick out a big, round pumpkin for a Halloween jack-o’-lantern. But it had been a warm autumn, and as I made my way through the rows of pumpkins, I realized I’d come too late. Most of the pumpkins were soft and rotting, with dark-purple spots spreading over their sides and swarms of insects crawling over the decaying rinds.
The sun went down as I continued my search. The air grew cold. I stopped when I heard a soft thudding sound. I watched as a pumpkin came rolling toward me. It rolled over wilted vines, over the flat, dark field--and stopped at my feet.
I stared at it. What had made it roll? The field was totally flat. Suddenly vines began to wriggle and twist. Another pumpkin came rolling over the ground. I turned and hurried away without a pumpkin.
When I wrote this story, I thought about that eerie, gray day--and the pumpkin field that came alive….
“Halloween is ruined!” Mike declared. “It’s no fun trick-or-treating while it’s still light out! Why do we have to be home by eight o’clock?”
Mom rolled her eyes. “Get in the car,” she told him. “And stop complaining. You know why there’s a curfew this year.”
“Because parents are stupid,” Mike grumbled.
“Because those kids disappeared last Halloween,” I said. “And the Halloween before.”
Mike shrugged. “What’s that got to do with us?”
“Come on, Mike,” I said. “Get in the car. Liz and I want to get going.”
“But I don’t want to pick pumpkins. It’s bor-ring.” Mike crossed his skinny arms over his chest and made his pouty face. “Why do we have to go?”
“Because we do it every year,” Mom replied patiently. She is used to Mike’s tantrums. We all are.
“Let’s skip it and pretend we went,” Mike said. He’s a real wise guy. Mike is ten, two years younger than me, and he’s angry all the time.
Mom says he can’t help it because he’s a redhead. “Redheads have tempers,” she says.
I don’t know what red hair has to do with it. Mike is always growling and complaining
Nightmare Hour, R.L.Stine
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