Reviewed by Emerian Rich
For: Readers who dig Halloween and pumpkins.
Content warning: If you are sensitive to bad language, gore, or descriptive killing, you should skip this one.
Blame it on the Pumpkin is definitely unlike any other Halloween anthology I’ve ever read. Although I picked it up for the spooky fiction I might find, I was presented first with a nonfiction piece by Marjory E. Leposky about how pumpkins are grown, harvested, and carved. Even though I’m a Halloween fan, I’ve never even thought about that process much further than carving and roasting the seeds. Starting out the book with an education about where the pumpkins actually come from was refreshing and put me in the right mood to enjoy the pumpkin-inspired fiction.
This is an anthology filled with the oddest stories I’ve seen put together. Unexpected tropes like people turning into ravens and a kid haunted by a compulsion of self-harm were a surprising twist alongside some more common themes of man-eating plants and evil townsfolk.
My favorite story in this book is a sort of Little Shop of Horrors-themed tale by Jennifer Kyrnin called “Vampire Gourd.” Although as a horror reader, you may have seen this type of story before, the way it is written is from a different viewpoint and I like the way the main character becomes so entwined in the lives of the plants. It’s a symbiotic relationship that had me wondering if I might want to grow a little something myself. And then I remembered I’m a total city girl, allergic to most nature stuffs, and shook myself out of it. But the character in this story was really well constructed and had me on his side for much of the story.
Another standout was “Flock of Badb” by S. P. Mount. It was certainly the weirdest story I’ve ever come across. Based on the concept that all people born on October 31st are cursed (or blessed) to become ravens, the transformation scene and how and the situation around it unfolded was truly bizarre and yet, I couldn’t stop reading. It had me completely intrigued.
You can also enjoy a tale by HorrorAddicts.net author, Pamela Kinney, which explores an evil town that lures Halloween addicts to a sinister night like they’ve never experienced. Might give you some nightmares and have you thinking twice about visiting those unknown haunts in the boonies come this October.
All in all, this book is a group of oddball stories that should appeal to pumpkin lovers and Halloween fanatics alike.