Brontë Finds Out Her Mom is a Pumpkin-Slayer

My four-year-old daughter is currently in love with all things dark and creepy. She is all about Scooby Doo mysteries, haunted houses, and Tim Burton cartoons.

She calls them “smooky,” which I assume is a toddler variant on the word “spooky.” Maybe because spooky things seem to involve a lot of dry ice and fake smoke. I don’t know.

What I find particularly interesting about Brontë’s dark obsessions of late is how they represent such a complete turnaround from last year. She used to be terrified of sleeping with the lights out and no amount of glow-in-the-dark ceiling stars or night lights seemed to help.

Baby Sister slays a dragon

And the Halloween before last was a complete bust. I’d hoped her love of dressing up and the first candy exchange would move her past all the dancing skeletons and deranged jack-o-lanterns, but it was a disaster…


She yelled in abject terror when our first neighbor opened the door and ran screaming with both arms in the air across the second neighbor’s yard, dumping her candy bowl during her mad escape attempt. Halloween was over.

But a conversation this past October unexpectedly turned everything around. It went something like this…

Me: We are going to the pumpkin farm to get ready for Halloween. Halloween is fun! You get to dress up and go trick-or-treating. People give you candy.

Brontë: I no like Halloween. It’s scary.

Me: There are scary decorations, but it’s all pretend. You get to dress up in a costume!

Brontë: I no like pumpkins. Pumpkins are really scary.

Me: Don’t be scared! We are going to go to a pumpkin farm and you can pick out whatever pumpkin you like. Then we are going to go home and carve it and make pumpkin pie, then carve a face and make a jack-o-lantern. It’s okay…

At this, Brontë froze. Her eyes grew enormous while she pondered what I had just said.

She swiveled around and looked me straight in the eye as a wide smile grew on her face.

“I NOT SCARED OF PUMPKINS!” she shouted. “My momma is gonna CUT A PUMPKIN with a KNIFE and EAT IT!”

I blinked at her and nodded.

She began walking again, muttering, “My momma CUTS pumpkins and EATS them… we gonna get a pumpkin and CUT IT!”

I followed, finding her revelation both comforting and disturbing. There was an unmistakable twinkle in her eye every time she talked about CUTTING the pumpkins… with a KNIFE.

Hmm. I suppose she had spent the first few years of her life terrified of monsters and the dark. Maybe it wasn’t so weird to find the idea of powerful knife-wielding mom somewhat comforting.

Brontë lived in a primitive realm crowded with dragons and nightmares, one that logically required a mother as protective as she was nurturing.

Because what good is a delicate mother who lets you be kidnapped by errant, maniacal gourds? Okay Brontë, we’ll slay that pumpkin together…

We went to the pumpkin farm, where Brontë took great pains to select the perfect pumpkin. She circled the field over and over until finally pointing: “This one!”

We took it home and carved it up. She demanded a “happy pumpkin,” so I made a smiley face with triangle eyes before putting a candle inside and setting the grisly trophy on the doorstep as a warning to all would-be menacing pumpkins.

Brontë followed me everywhere, watching the ritualized pumpkin dispatch. When the pumpkin pie had cooled, I served her a triangle which she bit into with deep satisfaction.

Then she was ready for Halloween.

She donned her pirate costume, grabbed her candy bucket in one hand and my hand in the other, and stood up tall. We walked out the front door with dad and baby sister trailing behind.

As she approached the first house, she squeezed my hand harder. “Say ‘trick-or-treat’ and they will give you candy,” I told her as she nodded.

Brontë squeezes my hand while preparing for Pumpkin Combat

We rang the bell. Brontë squeezed my fingers.


The door opened and we stood for a moment before Brontë whispered “Trick or treat.”

Our neighbor smiled before dropping some miniature Snickers into Brontë’s and her sister’s bowl. We said thank you and walked away.

Brontë’s grip loosened as she smiled triumphantly. Each house was easier. The kids’ candy bowls were overflowing by the time we returned home.

They spent the night watching spooky cartoons while eating themselves sick on chocolate. Halloween wasn’t so bad, after all. You put up pretend spooky monsters and then strangers give you free candy while talking about how adorable you are.

“Next Halloween,” Brontë told me, “I want a mean pumpkin. And a scared pumpkin.”

And the funny thing is, Brontë isn’t afraid of the dark anymore.

Or scary monsters, or haunted houses, or spooky cartoons. She no longer saw any reason to feel threatened after conquering the Grand Tournament of Official Scariness known as “Halloween.”

Brontë didn’t even mind mean pumpkins hanging around the house. Because what pumpkin in its right mind would mess with the daughter of a pumpkin-slayer?

Brontë looks over her spoils as she reevaluates smookiness


23 thoughts on “Brontë Finds Out Her Mom is a Pumpkin-Slayer

    1. Thank you, thank you… and to think I never fully appreciated the perils of the pumpkin patch before.

      I don’t know if people without kids realize that one of the biggest benefits is how badass kids can make you feel. I can tell a lame joke and my daughter will choke with laughter like it’s the most hysterical idea that’s ever crossed her mind.

      I suspect that won’t last, but it’s pretty great right now


      1. You are so right about that. When I spend just a little time with my son(I spend a lot) he just thinks it’s the biggest deal ever. And my daughter, all I have to do is listen to her talk about Steven Universe and she thinks I’m the best. Like you say, it probably won’t last, but I’m taking full advantage of this hero worship until that well goes dry.

        Liked by 1 person

  1. It’s nice that Brontë has overcome her fear, haha and even found joy, in dealing with dark and creepy things. Of course, it’s also due to the fact that no gourd in the right mind would mess with the daughter of a pumpkin slaying mom HAHAHAHA. I laughed so loud reading this 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Aww, thanks! 🙂

      It’s really fun to get outside your adult perspective and see the world again through a kid’s eyes. It’s a very dramatic place.

      Definitely no pumpkins will be messing with us after we made an example out of the last one XD

      It’s funny how it turned her around. She’s all about exploring the dark side. I think it’s healthy… good to appreciate the dark and the light

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Over here, we don’t have a tradition of celebrating halloween,so I can only imagine what going trick or treating feels like…I think I only did it with a couple of friends for one year when I was really young. I wanna dress up,carve pumpkins and have fun too haha!!

        Liked by 1 person

        1. It’s a pretty great holiday for kids. You get to dress up and go door to door, getting piles and piles of candy.

          Since they can’t buy whatever candy they want, it’s a goldmine for kids. Lots of parents take most of the candy away, but I figure they earned it, haha

          Adults end up dressing up (sometimes) and watching scary movies or going to parties. It was always one of my favorite holidays 🙂

          Liked by 1 person

              1. Uh huh. Asian culture odten deemed Halloween as a sort of taboo and weird festival, and my parents hold a negative view towards it. It sort of extends to most asian families I guess, I hate the fact that they demonize it.

                Ironically, we have our very own hungry ghost festival which more traditional families are crazy about. They prepare food and good omens and charms to put around the house,stay up till late at night etc etc…and they can say Halloween’s demonic?!?! Oh please LOL.

                If I have kids next time, I’m definitely going trick or treating with them 🙂

                Liked by 1 person

                1. Ha, I didn’t know that! It’s pagan in origin, but then, so are most standard Christian holidays. Easter goes back to spring fertility rituals (bunnies and eggs and other fertility symbols are the giveaway).

                  It’s a mainstream holiday over here but very strict Christian sects in the US also demonize it

                  Liked by 1 person

                2. Dang it, I posted on accident. Meant to say that very strict Christians over here also won’t celebrate Halloween, but only the ones that think Harry Potter is demonic, that think any reference to witches or sorcery is evil.

                  When you’re a kid trick or treating, the houses with lights on are playing along and the houses with lights off aren’t.

                  Mostly it’s a chance for kids to dress up and eat all the candy they want 🙂

                  Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you and thank you for the follow! 🙂

      I LOVE trying to see the world through my kids’ eyes–it’s such a magical and different view.

      To me, we were just carving a pumpkin. But to my daughter, we were conquering one of the monsters in her nightmares. Much more exciting, and I’m glad it seemed to make her feel better 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yes surely the way a child views the world, merging her fantasy with our reality it really makes a difference!!
        Thank you for sharing your thoughts!
        And it was a pleasure to read your blog as well!


  2. It’s pretty great that in each generations of moms, one is selected to be The Slayer. Right on!

    Loved hearing your trick or treat stories with Bronte. Our daughter Grace picked up on Trick or Treating relatively simply. We practiced before Halloween by getting her dressed up, and having her ring our doorbell, with me escorting her (during the day). My wife would answer and put a penny in Grace’s candy basket.

    We did that a few days in a row.

    Then when Halloween came… Grace was expecting pennies from the neighbors. And she got CANDY.

    The look on her face was awesome, as if she was thinking “What a racket! Don’t these fools know they only have to give me pennies? CANDY!”

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s hilarious! You would think kids would want candy more than pennies, but they also seem to like consistent rules.

      It’s funny how different things scare different kids. Brontë’s baby sister wasn’t bothered by Halloween at all (she figures people are giving he candy, so what’s the problem?).

      But then, Brontë is fearless about heights, jumping face-first down the biggest slide since she could walk (and scaring all the other moms at the playground). Bridget gets scared by the swings.

      Just depends on the kid, I guess 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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