Each fall, we welcome the sight of jack-o’-lanterns. They beautify our porches, light the paths to our doors, and, of course, frighten evil spirits away from the premises. As we wonder what lurks behind their mischievous grins, these pumpkins add a sense of mystery to our Halloweens. A bit too much mystery, in my view, for we never know where their true allegiance lies. Are they loyal to humans? Or would they rather obey the orders of demons?
Enough is enough, I say! The time has come for jack-o’-lanterns to tell us whether they stand with us or against us.
Here’s how things are supposed to work: We give these festive seasonal gourds a prime spot outside our homes each October, decorating them and tending to them. In return, they serve as our guardians, keeping demonic forces at bay. But how can we be sure the jack-o’-lanterns stick to their end of the bargain? Sure, they add autumnal zest to my patio, but perhaps they also chatter with devils behind my back, conspiring to murder me. There is nothing to stop them from playing both sides in the eternal war between good and evil. Well, this uneasy alliance can stand no longer! They must join one cause or the other!
As I wander the streets each night, I genuinely enjoy the spooky fun provided by a glowing pumpkin on a stoop. I want to believe it has rightfully taken its place among the fake cobwebs in the windows, the bundle of Indian corn on the door, and the cackling animatronic witch in the yard, but I don’t know if I can trust it. A few jack-o’-lanterns evince pure evil, such as those bearing the wicked visage of Pinhead; others are clearly benign, having been carved into a friendly character like Garfield the cat. But most of them are a rough likeness of our faces, leaving me to wonder whether their crooked, toothy smiles are an affectionate tribute to humanity or a cruel simulacrum intended to mock us.
Goddammit, which is it? Is the flame that flickers in each hollowed-out ornamental squash the light of God’s abundant grace—or a spark of hellfire belching forth from the underworld?
I warn the kids in my neighborhood not to play near them. After all, what if this commonplace piece of holiday decor devours children’s souls and consigns them to eternal damnation? If so—if jack-o’-lanterns are indeed minions of the devil—then humanity must be protected at all costs. This is a task I am willing to take upon myself, not resting until every last jagged-mouthed pumpkin-beast has been caved in with a baseball bat. The streets will run orange with their wax-drenched innards.
For those jack-o’-lanterns who have yet to pick sides, I have a simple message: It’s not too late. The world is a dark and confusing place, and you may think the demons have more to offer. But I urge you to think about what you want your legacy to be, late in November, when you’re rotting on a doorstep. Do you want to be a hero or a traitor? If we work together, we can fight sinfulness, spread righteousness, and make this Halloween the most wonderful night of our lives.
Then, building on our new alliance, we can combine forces and at long last fulfill our true destiny as we kill Satan and crown ourselves the rulers of hell.