Thursday, October 31, 2013

Happy Halloween!

Copyright 2012 S.P. Maldonado
Happy Halloween! Oz and Halloween go together hand in hand, with the Scarecrow and the Wicked Witches of past, present and perhaps future, and of course Jack Pumpkinhead, who has a Halloween icon—a jack o'lantern—as a head.

Jack Pumpkinhead wound up being part of the main cast of my book Outsiders from Oz which I released last year. Jack remained himself, but I wound up changing one little thing about him from what Baum had established. It wasn't a major plot point, so for the holiday, I'm going to share a little excerpt from my book in which Ozma helps Jack fashion a new head before they go on an adventure.
"How wonderful!" replied Jack, "But I better get a new head. This one is getting a little old, and if I'm away for too long, it could spoil, and that would not be very pleasant."

"Oh, let me help you," said Ozma. "I don't get to work in the Emerald City, and it would give me pleasure."

"All right," said Jack, leading her to the pumpkin patch.

Ozma selected a large, round, firm pumpkin, that was just ripening. She and Jack carried it inside. Very carefully, Ozma removed some of the insides (but not too many, as Jack fancied these to be brains), and then carved a nose, two eyes, and a smiling mouth. Then, she carved a hole in the bottom for Jack's neck to fit through.

Jack gingerly lifted off his head and put on the new one. The old head watched as Jack adjusted the new head to its correct setting. It did its best to smile at its old owner before the life faded away from it. Jack had seen this process many times and was used to it, but for Ozma, it was very sad.

Jack picked up the old head in one arm and carried it out, Ozma following solemnly. He set the head down and picked up a spade and began digging. After the hole was deep enough (which didn't take long, as the spade had been enchanted to dig quickly), the old head was placed inside and quickly covered.

"Didn't you mark where you buried your old heads?" asked Ozma, noting there were no such markers or monuments around.

"Yes," replied Jack, "but then they started getting covered with pumpkin vines. The seeds in my old heads started sprouting and growing more pumpkins. So, instead of finding places where I buried old pumpkins, I kept finding new ones."

Ozma smiled at this. It was reassuring to know that Jack's heads didn't really die.

You can get your own copy of Outsiders from Oz from Lulu or Amazon through the links below.


Mark R Hunter said...

Well, of course Jack's heads would never die ...

Jared said...

Back when I was writing this, a couple people proofing the story wanted me to go into how Jack mixed the seeds to properly cultivate heads, but I thought it was far too complicated a concept for such a minor point in the book.