I searched for a cogent answer, but I was too drunk to gather my thoughts. Sitting on top of the seventeenth-century gravestone was a translucent figure in strange clothing. ” I asked you, young sir if you agreed with me that a carved turnip lantern was more appropriate for All Hallows eve than these”pumpkins” your ilk seem to like so well.” He glared at me in a truculent fashion. Then, he waved about an enormous turnip carved into a believable skull with tiny wisps of firelight shooting out of the eyes, where the nostrils might have been and the teeth.
It took some time to gather the wits I needed to reply. I could only see the starburst comet trails of the flames as he whipped the skull about my head. It proved too much for my delicate stomach. I leaned over his grave and emptied myself of all the intrusive elements, mostly the beer I had consumed that night. I gasped out, ” I thought you Puritans didn’t go in for all that Halloween stuff.”, ” And who are you calling a nonconformist, thou Ninny! I was a godly man of the Church of England!”
I thought it best to apologize, but before my drunken tongue could frame the words, he swung his turnip at me, and then I saw stars.
I woke at dawn, wondering what I was doing in the Old Burial Ground on the other side of Beacon Hill from where I lived on Grove St. I tried to clear the awful taste from my mouth and pulled away from the mess deposited near the gravestone. Then, I recalled that carving turnip lanterns had predated carved pumpkins. And that had been the central element of my drunken nightmare last night. Then, lurching to my feet, I realized today was All Saints, and last night had been All Hallows Eve – Halloween.
I began to walk toward Charles Street and the Tarry and Taste Donut shop. Coffee and food would sort out my mind.
Then I felt a crunch and looked down at a smashed turnip lantern beneath my feet. The tiniest stub of a candle was in it, almost guttered out. My stomach lurched, and I ran out of the Burying Ground as fast as possible.