But Then the Smell Hits 'Em

Happy Halloween!

Gather 'round kids! It's time for the annual Jack-O-Lantern Joe story!


One night, my roommate and I were on one of our many late night trips to Food4Less. it was just before Halloween and, like most other stores, there was a huge pile of pumpkins under the ugly fluorescent lights.

As we left, I commented on how easy it seemed it would be to steal one of these pumpkins. Something posessed me and as we walked by, I just kinda grabbed one.

I'm not sure how it happened, really. But the pumpkin was the perfect size. The stem made a great stealing handle. I would be ashamed, but it was like maybe we were meant to be together.

I bestowed upon this beautiful pumpkin the name "Pumpkin Joe" and vowed to make it the best jack-o-lantern, ever.

Unfortunately, my mother had never allowed me to carve a pumpkin. She's an art teacher and somewhat anal about things and she wanted her jack-o-lanterns to be perfect. Of course she used the "I don't want you to cut yourself" excuse.

In any case, though I had never carved a pumpkin, I was determined to do it right. After hours of designing his face and transferring that into the hard rind of Pumpkin Joe, "Jack-O-Lantern Joe" was born on the thirtieth day of October, 1998.

Jack-O-Lantern Joe

Here he is. My beautiful, beautiful Jack-O-Lantern Joe.

Now . . . I'm not saying he's the most beautiful jack-o-lantern ever created, but I was pretty proud of myself. We enjoyed how hilariously wasted he looked and on Halloween, had a lit cigarette hanging out of his mouth. Which was funny until the rain put out the cigarette.

A couple of days after Halloween, we stepped outside to see that Jack-O-Lantern Joe looked a little funny.

In fact, it seemed Jack-O-Lantern Joe had an exciting Halloween, also. It appeared he had contracted herpes.

Jack-O-Lantern Joe

Yeah. I know. It's scary.

You can't really see it, but there was some sort of white fungus all around his mouth and he was all saggy.

So of course, we were worried, but more so, we were disgusted.

And so we watched Jack-O-Lantern Joe's descent into hell. We couldn't touch him. It was really scary to do so. He just rotted on the corner of our balcony.

One night, as my friends hung out inside, I snuck out and lit a Doritos bag on fire and placed it inside Jack-O-Lantern Joe.

I then yelled for help and as my friends poured outside, they all stopped in their tracks.

I started rambling about how Jack-O-Lantern Joe had spontaneously combusted. I'm not sure if I should admit that I hung out with people like this, but they believed it.

Jack-O-Lantern Joe

This is Jack-O-Lantern Joe in all his burning glory.

After that, Jack-O-Lantern Joe just got scarier and scarier, as you can see in these last two pictures.

Eventually, I got up enough courage to pick him up (with a spatula) and salute him as he dropped three stories into the bushes below.

Jack-O-Lantern Joe

Perhaps it was Karma. My punishment for stealing was just a brief time with Jack-O-Lantern Joe.

Or maybe it's a lesson in looking at the bright side of things. Anyone who reads this story can't be too sad about finding their jack-o-lantern smashed in the road on the first of November!

Jack-O-Lantern Joe


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