Gather ‘round, autumn darlings. Grab your hot cocoa, throw on some pajamas, and cozy up for a story of love and loss and miscellaneous heathen…
Once upon a time, the Devil fell in love with and long-term-dated a boy called Jack. Their favorite holiday was Jack’s birthday, October 31, when every year the Devil offered to grant any wish Jack so requested, and year after year, Jack wished only to spend time with their friends.
Jack and the Devil kept a small pumpkin patch at the cobblestone cottage they shared, and the Devil, knowing a great deal about gardens, grew the most delicious pumpkins you’d ever taste. (It so happens that pumpkins were long ago damned to hell for vegetable deception, making Hell a perfect place in which to grow them.)
And so it was on October 31 every year that Hell’s demons and miscellaneous heathen descended upon Jack and the Devil’s home for Jack’s birthday pumpkin party. The Sitri Family brought over Mama Penny’s (as the neighbors so called her) famous pumpkin pie; Alastor, one of Jack and the Devil’s dearest friends, managed pumpkin spice wine; and the Valacs whipped up annual batches of pumpkin candies (although it was well-known that these candies were leftovers from their annual bake sale, which was never well-received). But what everyone looked forward to most was the Devil’s presentation. Ever the craft maven, the Devil repurposed shells of empty cooking pumpkins by carving them into cute little faces that’d serve as cute little candle dishes that’d create a cute little atmosphere for their cute little party.
Jack and the Devil spent years together with this routine, and year after year the Devil emphasized more and more that on his birthday Jack could wish for anything he wanted.
“Including eternal youth and beauty,” the Devil once suggested, to which Jack took great offense. The Devil reasoned, and quite wisely to himself, that Jack was human and getting no younger—or prettier.
Until the night Jack died.
The whole incident has been greatly exaggerated in the media, so brush away the stories you’ve heard. The true story of Jack’s death is this: he ate a piece of candy.
The particular treat Jack ate belonged to the Valacs, poisoned by Mr. Valac in an effort to—in his words—“off the tramp,” referring to the incorrigible Mrs. Valac. It wasn’t until Jack swallowed it himself that Mr. Valac realized he’d forgotten to separate the tricked candy from the good.
Upon Jack’s death, the Devil was sure Jack would go to Hell (oh, the things they’d done!), and finally—finally!–Jack would STOP AGING and spend forever being his handsome self.
But Jack’s association with the Devil only helped his ascension to Heaven. Angels were shocked by God’s decision to welcome Jack into Heaven. Shortly afterward, God commented to the press, “He was an angel for putting up with that asshole for so long.”
When Hell lost Jack, Hell lost its most popular neighbor, and to this day, on every October 31, Hell’s citizens carve hallowed lanterns from pumpkin shells to set on their porches in Jack’s memory.
Thus, my autumn darlings, let Jack’s lesson be a lesson to you: listen to your moms and dads, and let them check—and extensively test—your candy on Halloween, to separate the tricks from the treats. Due to continued low sales, the Valacs’ bake sale candy often makes it to wholesale in the U.S.