The Case of the Missing Pumpkins

I realize that Halloween is over. (Sigh.) And I totally get that it’s November now. (Double sigh.) And I really am done (mostly) posting October-themed pieces. This is something different, I swear.

This is a mystery. And I need YOU to help me solve it.

This weekend when I was packing up all my Halloween decorations, including the haunted bird house that my dad made for me, I remembered another homemade Halloweeny gift he gave me many years ago and the tragic fate which befell it.

Here are the facts.


For my birthday in 2003, my dad gave me the homemade Halloween decoration pictured above. It was a large piece of wood that he carved and painted to look like three jack-o-lanterns and one tombstone. The tombstone was for my cat Gink, who was then and still is now very much alive. (If you’ve read my previous post about Halloween decorating tips, you know that my dad makes homemade, personalized tombstones for every member of the family, as well as several more with made-up names or the names of the guests who attend our annual Halloween party. It’s all in good fun. However, seeing my sweet kitty cat’s name on one was walking a fine line between good fun and not funny at all, and I suggested that maybe in the future he not kill off my beloved pets on my birthday gifts.) ANYWAY, to get back to the point, despite the suggestion of Gink’s demise, I still really loved my gift. For the next five years, I used it to decorate my home during October.

But on October 29, 2008, someone stole it. 😦 I was living in Austin’s Rosedale neighborhood at the time, near 45th Street and Ramsey Avenue. Halloween was also on a Friday that year. Two days before, I carved a pumpkin and put it on my front porch. My yard was already decorated with my dad’s work of art and a couple of my own homemade tombstones and some skulls and such. The next morning when I left for work, my pumpkin was gone, along with most of my decorations, including the one my dad made for me. I found out later that several houses in the neighborhood were hit, and since there were no pumpkins smashed in the street, I assumed the thieves were stealing our things to decorate for their own party.

It hurts to have anything stolen from you, even a pumpkin. But I was especially upset that the thieves took the decoration from my dad. It was a birthday gift and it was homemade and it was absolutely one of a kind. I mean, it had my cat’s name on it, for crying out loud.


The weekend after Halloween I drove around a little bit, mainly near the UT campus and the frat houses I knew of, seeing if I could spot it in a yard somewhere, but I didn’t. I gave up on it, assuming I’d never see it again. And I probably won’t.

But today, as I was packing up my Halloween stuff, I started to wonder what ever happened to that thing. Maybe it got tossed in a dumpster after the party, which would be sad. But maybe somebody recognized what a cool thing it was and decided to keep it. Or maybe they gave it to Goodwill. Who knows?

A little over a year ago, I decided to use my blog to track down the woman whose student ID I found in 1996, and within twenty-four hours, we were Facebook friends. So… I’m trying it again. Friends in the interwebs, help me solve The Case of the Missing Pumpkins. I’ll make the same deal I made when I was searching for Amy Spear. If you give me any information that helps me find my dad’s gift, I’ll bake you some cookies. And they’ll be yummy. And to the person who stole my birthday gift in the first place, if you still have it please give it back. I’d be lying if I said, “no questions asked.” Honestly, I have a LOT of questions. But if you return my decoration to me or at least tell me what happened to it, I promise I won’t turn you over to the police.

If you have any information about the missing pumpkins, please share it in the comments or email me at If not, consider sharing this blog post or the flyer below on your own blog, Twitter feed, or Facebook page. Maybe, with your help, the pumpkins can find their way home.


Thanks, sleuths! I’ll keep you posted about any updates.

Published by Carie Juettner

Carie Juettner is a former middle school teacher and the author of The Ghostly Tales of New England, The Ghostly Tales of Austin, The Ghostly Tales of Burlington, and The Ghostly Tales of Dallas in the Spooky America series by Arcadia Publishing. Her poems and short stories have appeared in publications such as The Twin Bill, Nature Futures, and Daily Science Fiction. Carie lives in Richardson, Texas, with her husband and pets. She was born on Halloween, and her favorite color is purple.

6 thoughts on “The Case of the Missing Pumpkins

  1. Carie, I hope you get a good response. Your dad is quite a craftsman – someone may have realized the value of the piece by now. It looks like the kind of thing that would show up at “Uncommon Objects”. Certainly unique – here’s hoping you find it.

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