Curse of the Jack-o’-Lantern

A children’s Halloween poem (pairs well with pumpkin-spiced candles and midnight thunderstorms)

Danny Salemme
2 min readOct 29, 2020

They chopped him up a smile, but Jack could hardly mind,
as any patch of pumpkins knows that happens with their kind.
He chipped a tooth, they fixed it; just widening his grin —
but not before they broke his skull to operate within.

Their fingers danced inside him and they scraped around his walls,
though what they did with all those guts, no Jack like him recalls.
He stuck inside their fingernails, dirtied up their spoons;
and his unforgiving slaughter filled up autumn afternoons.

Once emptied out and lighter, Jack could not contain a smirk
(not by choice, incidentally, with his face now put to work).
They scooped a pair of nostrils, and he smelled his gooey bile,
while the mess of orange innards stunk the room up in a pile.

With holes pierced in his face so Jack could see the deeds they’d done,
he finally saw his family, all the Jacks lined one-by-one.
The people in the party led the pumpkins to the porch;
they opened up their minds and gave them each a little torch.

Life along the lamp-lit street was nothing like their farm,
back with all their young and faceless, undeveloped charm.
They finally breathed the autumn air, then heard some children yelling,
no doubt in hopes to find some Jacks to smash per their rebelling.

But all the little pumpkins smiled easily that night,
conscious of their curse, a secret Jack-o’-lantern right.
Children smashing Jack-o’-lanterns ought to be afraid,
for every pumpkin knows that’s how a Boogeyman gets made.

If you’re in the Halloween spirit, check out Quintessential Autumn Movies, by Decade.



Danny Salemme

Screenwriter: The Mailman, Cottonmouth, The Listeners | Co-Host: How I Met Your Monster podcast | Scream Queen