Beware The Pumpkin Thief!
#5 in the Kid Superheroes On The Rise series
By Jonathan Joy
Beware The Pumpkin Thief was originally published in the Greater Ashland Beacon newspaper as a part of my twice monthly Read Me A Bedtime Story column, October 2016.
Jack’s mom bought him thirteen pumpkins, one for each friend that would be attending the third annual pumpkin carving party at the Jones household.
Jack was as excited as could be, for Halloween was his favorite time of year and pumpkin carving was second only to candy devouring when it came to his favorite activities.
Jack’s friends – twins – Eva and Eve were the first two to arrive. They were dressed as their favorite princesses and immediately began to carve eyes into pumpkins.
Jack’s friend Devon was next to arrive. He was dressed as a Pokeball and promised to carve that same image into his pumpkin.
One by one other friends arrived until all but one or two were present. The backyard was soon filled with kids dressed as Iron Man, a kitty cat, a clown, and more. Then, an unexpected visitor arrived and threatened everyone’s Halloween happiness.
“Greetings, all!” It screamed while juggling jack o lanterns. “The Pumpkin Thief is here! Hand over those beautiful orange gourdes and no one will get hurt.” Its large size and deep voice sent chills of fear down everyone’s back.
The kids were being pumpkin robbed. Who would do such a thing? They had heard tales of a Pumpkin Thief, but none of them had seen the villain in person…until now.
“What happened to your Halloween spirit, Pumpkin Thief?” A girl’s voice charged from out of nowhere. “Leave them alone.”
“Do what she says, Pumpkin Thief, and nobody gets hurt.” Another voice commanded from the darkness.
The Pumpkin Thief turned and looked their way. He knew who lurked in the early evening shadows. “Let me guess. It’s Buck and his best friend Tracy? I’ve heard a lot about you two kid superheroes. Show yourself!”
Indeed, it was. Superhero kid Buck appeared, Tracy by his side. They didn’t attack, however, for the Pumpkin Thief was strong and scary…and both of their parents had warned that, even though they were superheroes, Buck and Tracy had been fighting way too much. They agreed a trick might be better than a treat this time around.
Buck wagered all of the Halloween candy on the block that he could best the Pumpkin Thief in a pumpkin juggling competition and Tracy challenged the Pumpkin Thief to a candy corn eating contest. He laughed at both of them.
“You two are silly. I’ve been doing this a long time. Clearly, you have not. I’ll take your bet…and win. But if I win the girl becomes my sidekick. I could use a partner in pumpkin crime.”
“I’m not his sidekick.” Tracy interjected angrily. “I am a superhero of equal weight and explosiveness… And a deal is a deal.”
Buck did not like that Tracy took the Pumpkin Thief’s bait. This was serious business now. They had to win.
It started with the juggling contest. The Pumpkin Thief juggled effortlessly, just about any object you can image. But no one knew of Buck’s annual circus summer camp and how heavily juggling was stressed in his classes there. To everyone’s surprise he bested The Pumpkin Thief at his own game.
The Pumpkin Thief was frazzled, but he moved on. “You got lucky this time, Buck, but there’s no way that girl can eat more candy corn than me. I’m about to take her and all your pumpkins and all the Halloween candy in this neighborhood.”
“Enough talk, pumpkin blob. Let’s do this.” Tracy was confident, but should she be? Stories of the Pumpkin Thief’s ability to devour pounds of candy had long circulated through the streets of this little town. And everyone knew the Pumpkin Thief was particularly fond of candy corn. That’s why Tracy picked candy corn. She knew The Pumpkin Thief could not resist this challenge. She also knew she could win it. Tracy’s father had worked as a competitive eater, once downing seventeen hot dogs in only 30 seconds among many other culinary accomplishments.
Tracy was right to trust her genes. She devoured bag upon back of candy corn. Her classmates stood by in awe. The Pumpkin Thief, upon getting a severe belly ache, had to give up.
“You may have won this time,” the Pumpkin Thief said softly, defeated, “but I’ll be back. I don’t take defeat that easily. Watch your backs next Halloween.” Then, he retreated.
The kids all celebrated, their Trick or Treat delights safe and sound. And superhero kids Buck and Tracy could rest easily…for now. Their peace may not last long, however, for they both knew the biannual school Book Fair was near and that meant the evil Book Fair Burglar may soon threaten. But that is a story for another day. In the meantime, enjoy some pumpkin carving, don’t eat too much candy and beware The Pumpkin Thief.