Forgotten Spirits of Halloween (Short Story)

This story was written years ago, the prompt being “an unlikely character POV”. It was always one of my favorites and will eventually be part of a short story collection. Since the collection won’t be out until long after Halloween, I felt it necessary to share the story now. Enjoy!

Forgotten Spirits of Halloween

Halloween night, 7:30 PM.

I watch the parade of trouble makers filing past me in search of perfect sugary treats. Silently chuckling to myself at the sight of these little people dressed in odd clothing with several layers of make-up, I wonder how anyone could mistake them for real spirits. I know any self-respecting pumpkin such as myself would not. Silly humans, anyway. It’s like they don’t even try. As if this night is just a joke to them.

They also don’t even know it’s not late enough. The real spirits don’t appear to me for another few hours, once all the children have put themselves into sugar-induced comas and all their care-givers have retired to their beds. Once all is quiet on the street again, I know they’ll come.

When 11pm comes around, I see the first one. She is a beautiful flowing light, with smoke trailing her like a long transparent dress. Alone and looking distraught, I know she is lost.

“Hello there miss, need some direction?” I ask, hoping she can see my form in the dark. I only wish my creators would have left the candle inside burning. Although sometimes that scares them a bit when they are new, and I wonder if she may be.

“Who said that?” she whispers in tones only we can hear, even on Halloween night.

“Over here. The pumpkin. I’m here to help guide you.”

“You can hear me? See me?” She looks at me with a puzzled look, not quite understanding how a pumpkin could communicate with her when no one else can. Now I know she is a new spirit, having very little interaction with the others. She needs to be with her own.

“Yes, and yes. Have a seat beside me, and I’m sure others will arrive soon,” I would smile sweetly, but my face has been carved in a fixed evil grin. I assure her I am not evil, but rather created to look it. She accepts this information, still bound by her former knowledge of the forgotten holiday.

We sit and chat awhile, as I explain to her the ways of the ghostly world. I am not like her, and have never been human. Instead, I only exist around the holiday, fading in and out of existence. My only purpose is to guide, similar in the way the sun gives off heat.

It isn’t long before more travelers appear. An aged gentleman and younger woman, both standing similar to that of my new girl. I call out to them. “Hello travelers! Might you come here for a moment?” They look to me, seeing the new girl. The older man nods. He knows what favor I seek.

This newly deceased girl has been taken care of, but more come tonight. Resting on the front porch of the living, I wait in the darkness under the moon for more travelers to arrive.