Writing from Your Source: Fiction Workshop

By
Rachel Formaro and Tom Formaro
Illustrated by
Michele Spremich

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Alfonso Ghost Town

In the California coastal town of Half Moon Bay, October is a magical time of year. You see, Half Moon Bay is home to one of the world's biggest pumpkin festivals. Farmers from all over bring their prize pumpkins to win the biggest pumpkin contest, and families and children come to town to pick out their Halloween pumpkin.

Every year, Farmer Sally opens up the Ghost Town Pumpkin Patch. She decorates her field with skeletons and ghosts and witches. Black cats and grave-stones. Cobwebs and ghoulish creatures, like Frankenstein and the Wolfman.

Most of the pumpkins enjoy the scenery at the Ghost Town Pumpkin Patch, and look forward to being taken home by families for Halloween. But a few years ago, there was a very special pumpkin named Alfonso.

Alfonso did not like Halloween. It frightened him, and he had no interest in being a jack o'lantern. The other pumpkins made fun of him. "How can you be a pumpkin and be afraid of Halloween?" Big Beulah said. "It's what you're made for!"

"It's not what I'm made for!" Alfonso said.

Big Beulah laughed. "Yeah, you're too much of a runt to be good for decoration. You'll probably end up in a pumpkin pie. A very small one!"

Fortunately, Alfonso had made two very good friends Hector, a big orange farm cat, and Marie, a tree rat. (By the way, only animals can talk with pumpkins, and see their faces.)

"Don't listen to Beulah," Hector said. "She may be big, but that doesn't make her smart."

"What did she mean, I'll end up in a pumpkin pie?" asked Alfonso.

Marie twitched her nose. "Well, if you're not going to be a jack o'lantern, you might get chosen for Thanksgiving."

"What's Thanksgiving?" Alfonso said.

Marie sat up on her hind legs. "Thanksgiving is the next holiday after Halloween."

"And you'd be on the dessert menu," Hector said as Marie scowled at him.

"The dessert menu?" Alfonso said.

"They'd eat you at the end of Thanksgiving dinner!" Hector blurted out.

"Eeek!" Alfonso was so agitated, he rolled in circles.

"Nice going!" Marie said to Hector. "Now look what you've done." She gently stopped Alfonso from rolling and said to him, "Consider this. Maybe you won't end up as a pumpkin pie."

Alfonso sighed. "I sure hope not. What's the next holiday after Thanksgiving?"

"Oh," said Marie, "that's Christmas. And it's beautiful."

"Yeah," said Hector, "Christmas trees, glittering ornaments, sparkling fairy lights, presents. Everyone is happy, and no one is trying to scare anybody."

"That sounds wonderful!" said Alfonso. "Maybe I can be a Christmas pumpkin."

Big Beulah overheard this, and burst out laughing again. "A Christmas pumpkin? What kind of goofy idea is that?" All the other pumpkins roared with laughter.

Alfonso did his best to ignore them, and lowered his voice so only Hector and Marie could hear him. "I don't care what the other pumpkins think. I am going to be a Christmas pumpkin!"

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Story: © 2009 Rachel Formaro & Tom Formaro
Illustrations: © 2009 Michele Spremich
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