Wait For It… a blog by Andy Ross


Posted on November 29, 2010

It's official that on this day, November 29th, my jack-o'-lantern has reached its peak scariness.

I’d hoped it would have attained its peak scariness at Halloween. I mean that's what we all hope for right? But, I've often found that jack-o'-lanterns never become truly, frightfully scary until mid-to-late November. Sometimes even into early December. Definitely past the first frost.

Look at it there, sitting on the front stoop, looming over passers-by. Its eyes, once wide with terror, now drooped into a condescending scowl. Its teeth, so carefully carved to seem haphazardly crooked, now actually haphazardly crooked. Its cheeks, once plump and undefined, now sunken and gaunt. Only now is this jack-o'-lantern truly horrifying.

And, the color. When I first carved it, it was a bright orange. Now, it’s a kind of hazy gray/tangerine. Your eyes can never fully adjust to just what color they’re seeing. Is it matte? Is shiny? Parts of it seems translucent. Whatever it is, it feels unnatural. Or, is it too natural? Is this an unnerving glimpse into the viscera of nature, itself?

What do we see when we look into an early-winter jack-o’-lantern? Behind its unsymmetrical face, with its hints of Bell’s palsy. Behind the shadows of limp, stringy flesh dangling from its cavities. Behind the mold spread across its once-pristine surface. Do we see our own slow death? Is it simply the fear of decay?

Or, is it the fear of being forgotten—left past one’s usefulness on a porch or a concrete windowsill? Is it the dread of existing beyond our utility? What is there for us beyond our allotted time? Slow nothingness?

Whatever it is, it’s fucking scary. That is the scariest fucking jack-o’-lantern I’ve ever seen. I can’t imagine it getting anymore goddamn scary. Seriously, I can’t.

I think this is its peak scariness. Thank God.