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Recently, I came across a few posts for the Halloween Scavenger Hunt. I really enjoyed this and want to thank the person responsible for all the fun. In return, I was asked to post this:

Hobbity Halloween Scavenger Hunt

Thank you, hobbity hunters! I hope you had as much fun hunting as I had thinking this up and watching it happen. I don't usually expect crazy last-minute schemes that occur to me in the middle of the night to actually work out, but this one did okay, it seems! There was one detail I didn't think of soon enough, though: those who received Frank-o-lanterns had a bit of a head start on the hunt. Sorry about that, but managing a scavenger hunt entirely by anonymous virtual pumpkin is no easy thing. The fairest solution I could think of was to give prizes to the first three people to e-mail me, so as to include someone who didn't have a Frank-o-lantern. The first three all e-mailed within minutes of each other anyway, so it was a close thing. :) In conclusion, if you ever need someone to find a lost hobbit, I suspect any of these lovely people would be very speedy: danachan, frodobaggins252, and trd9091.



And, for anyone who didn't find the entire story, here it is:

The Pumpkins of Doom

Rated G

Part 1/16

Samwise surveyed his harvest with satisfaction. "Ten lovely round pumpkins," muttered he. "Pumpkin soup, pumpkin pie, fried pumpkin, roasted pumpkin seeds."

"Don't forget pumpkin bread," Frodo added.

Sam's mouth watered. "Oh yes, sir, just you wait till my sister gets her hands on one o' these. May's pumpkin bread can beat all, and that's a fact."

Frodo smiled in anticipation. "Is your sister at home?"

"She is, sir…" Sam trailed off.

His master hoisted a pumpkin into his arms. "Then let's be off!" he cried.

Part 2/16

"Mine's bigger!"

"It is not, Pippin. Clearly MINE will be the winner."

"Will not. Look, Cousin, what mine lacks in breadth it surely makes up in height."

"Yes, but mine is taller still."

"That's not important, Merry. Everyone knows the HEAVIEST pumpkin wins the contest."

"Then stopping blathering about that thing's measurements and lets get these to the Harvest Fair!"

"All right, all right. Bring that wheelbarrow over here."

Part 3/16

"Once more, what is this called?" Dark brows drew together in confusion.

"It's a Frank O'Lantern," Bilbo repeated patiently.

Elrond frowned into the smiling face of the pumpkin. "How very odd," he said, leaning closer. "And what is the purpose of this… object?"

"Fun and enjoyment. Light on a dark night. To give a little thrill to anyone passing by."

"Remarkable," said Elrond. "What is the history of this… Frank O'Lantern?"

"The tale is told of a hobbit named Frank, who lived in the Second Age. Frank went afoul of a wraith one day, and to frighten it off, he carved a frightening face on a pumpkin and set it outside his smial every night to keep the fiend away."

"Did this plan succeed?" Elrond asked, bemused.

"No." Bilbo shrugged. "He was killed that first night. But the pumpkin lantern thing caught on like wildfire."

Part 4/16

"It is surprisingly good," rumbled Gandalf.

"If you are waiting for me to say 'I told you so,' then you are waiting in vain," Aragorn replied.

"These hobbits have some queer traditions, but Men would do well to adopt this one at least." Gandalf's mouth was full of the sweet, wet, pumpkiny flavour, but his companion understood him well enough.

"And what about wizards?"

Gandalf chuckled. "Nonsense, old friend. A wizard never cooks for himself when he can get others to do it for him."

"That's only because my camp stove is too complicated for you to operate," Aragorn said archly, indicating the odd contraption that rested over the embers of the campfire.

"What do you call this again?" Gandalf was absorbed in eating his dessert.

"Pumpkin pie."

"Remarkable." Gandalf took another bite.

Part 5/16

"If you'll stand back, there will be plenty of room for everyone," May Gamgee said pointedly.

Frodo, Sam, and Hamfast guiltily backed up to the kitchen wall of Number 3, Bagshot Row.

"Sorry, lass," Hamfast muttered to his daughter.

"We'll behave," promised Samwise.

"It is only that it smells so good, Miss May," Frodo said diplomatically.

May snorted and went back to kneading the dough. "How many of these things are there, anyway?"

"Just these ten," Samwise assured her.

"Really?" She eyed the collection of orange squashes squatting in the entryway. "Hm. Looks like more than that."

"You can never have too many pumpkins," Sam said firmly. The others nodded in agreement.

Part 6/16

"Good heavens, these are heavy," Pippin grunted.

Merry sat down to rest. "Is this all of them? I didn't realize there were to be so many pumpkin entries from Brandy Hall."

Pippin heaved another orange monster into the second wheelbarrow. "Well, that's the last one. It's a good thing Saradoc found us this extra barrow. Let's get these over to the Fair."

Merry got to his feet with a sigh and seized the handles of the wheelbarrow closest to him. "Are you sure we loaded these evenly, Pippin?" he asked suspiciously.

"Of course!" Pippin said innocently. "Look, mine is just as heavy." He trundled his wheelbarrow forward to demonstrate.

"This is going to be a long morning," Merry sighed.

Part 7/16

"May I try one?"

Bilbo looked at the elf in surprised delight. "Of course! I picked this other one here especially for you, Elrond, not knowing whether… I mean, if this was something you might like to do."

In answer, Elrond sat down beside Bilbo, adjusted his robes around him, and accepted the proffered knife. "Now… which of these fruits shall I carve?"

"Which…" Bilbo trailed off as he looked under the table. There were at least a dozen pumpkins. He scratched his curly grey head. "How peculiar! I could have sworn I only had three…"

Part 8/16


"I couldn't eat another bite," Gandalf exclaimed, leaning back and loosening the belt of his robe.

"Well, I suppose it's time I was on my way," Aragorn said. "The day is half done and I have a long way to go."

"How do you plan to bring along the rest?" Gandalf asked.

"The rest of what?" Aragorn was puzzled.

"Those." Gandalf indicated the half-dozen pumpkins strewn about Aragorn's campsite.

Aragorn's jaw dropped. "Gandalf, I swear to you, I only had one. And that one has gone to make the pie we just finished."

Gandalf raised a shaggy eyebrow.

Part 9/16

Late that afternoon, the entire Gamgee family, plus Frodo, was hard at work.

"I've never seen so many o' these orange beasts in my life," declared the Gaffer. "T'ain't natural, is what it is."

"Never mind that, Dad," May said tersely. "Keep peeling. And Halfred and Samwise, you two keep chopping. Marigold and Mr. Frodo, keep stirring."

She looked around dazedly. The table was piled high with loaves of warm pumpkin bread, fragrant pumpkin pies, and an entire cauldron of pumpkin soup. Roasted pumpkin seeds overflowed from every available container, and yet there seemed to be just as many pumpkins sitting about as ever.

"Something isn't right, you mark my words," the Gaffer muttered. But he picked up another pumpkin and resumed peeling.

Part 10/16

Merry and Pippin could go no farther. The pumpkins piled in their wheelbarrows had somehow multiplied so that the two young hobbits could not take a step without jostling a few of the orange beasts from the top of the pile.

"We're almost there," Merry panted. "Let's leave these and run on ahead for help."

Pippin could only nod in agreement. They were only too glad to set down their burdens and trot off in the direction of the Buckland Harvest Fair.

"Hello there, Mr. Proudfoot!" Pippin shouted. The elder hobbit turned and waved.

"We need some help with our pumpkins," Merry called, but Mr. Proudfoot shook his head.

"Sorry, lads," he said. "We all have our hands full. Something mighty strange is going on."

They followed him to the Fair grounds and halted in shock. Everywhere they looked, hulking orange squashes squatted in the grass, on tables, even in the apple-bobbing tub.

Part 11/16

Elrond's frown deepened. "I am uncertain if this is the proper sort of visage for a Frank O'Lantern."

Bilbo was startled, but he soon recovered himself. "It's wonderful, old friend. Just what Rivendell needs."

Elrond nodded finally and set aside his remarkably accurate rendition of a giant eye. "It will remind us all to be ever vigilant," he said. Bilbo lit a candle and placed it in the pumpkin, admiring the effect.

Elrond wiped slimy orange entrails from his hands, and frowned again. "How many pumpkins did you say you had, Bilbo?" he inquired.

The hobbit cried out in alarm; there was an enormous pile under the table now. One rolled over his foot and bounced down the stone steps.

"I sense a foul presence," Elrond muttered.

Part 12/16

Gandalf walked to and fro, muttering to himself while Aragorn watched helplessly. There was something sinister about the pumpkins that lay innocently among the trees in the fading light, but this was an enemy he did not know how to fight.

"We must go on," Gandalf said at last.

"But what does it all mean?" Aragorn demanded.

"Only the Valar know," sighed Gandalf. "But I fear an ill wind is blowing."

Aragorn glanced around at the blank orange faces and shivered.

"Come," Gandalf said. "We must make haste."

A flash of movement out of the corner of his eye caught Aragorn's attention. The man drew his sword, whirled, and sliced, all in the same moment. Where there had been one whole were now two halves. The pumpkin had rolled towards him, he was sure of it.

"Are you going to make another pie?" Gandalf asked hopefully.

Part 13/16

"Quick, fetch Marigold and let's leave this place," Hamfast Gamgee roared.

They were all darting about, trying to avoid the bouncing and rolling pumpkins that seemed to be everywhere.

"What wicked magic is this?" wailed Daisy, running out the door without stopping to pull off her apron.

"Hurry, Mr. Frodo," Samwise said urgently.

They all ran out into the road, and saw a frightening sight. Although darkness had fallen, hobbits were emerging from their holes all across the Hill and beyond, bearing torches, and running barely ahead of the hoards of massive pumpkins that rumbled ominously as they rolled from every open doorway, down every slope, from every gully.

Frodo exchanged a significant look with Sam. "We know what to do."

"That we do, sir," Samwise agreed grimly.

Part 14/16

All over the Buckland fairground, hobbits fled before the malevolent orange squashes.

"Merry, help me!" Pippin cried, falling behind his cousin when he tripped over his own tweenaged feet.

"Hurry, Pip," Merry said urgently, hauling his cousin to his feet. "They're not far behind."

"Down by the river, lads!" Saradoc shouted, running past.

Merry waved to show he'd heard. "Come on, it's almost over," he told Pippin.

"What's happening?" Pippin wailed. "Merry, how did this all start?"

"Who cares?" Merry smiled. "I know how it's going to end, and that's what matters. Now grab a good, stout stick…"

Part 15/16

"Quickly, quickly," Elvin voices seemed to echo off the walls of Imladris.

Bilbo found himself hurried along by Elrond, with no chance to protest the indignity. "Elrond-"

"I do not know what magic this is," Elrond muttered, joining the throngs fleeing from the rampaging pumpkins.

"If you'll only listen!"

Elrond glanced down in surprise. "You know something about this, Bilbo?"

"Well, no," Bilbo replied. "But…"

"Hurry, Father," said Elrohir, rushing past with sword drawn. "I will cover your retreat."

Bilbo sighed in exasperation.

Part 16/16

"Gandalf, we must see to the Halflings!" Aragorn shouted over the roar of pumpkins rushing past the tree in which he perched. "Their villages will be overrun!"

Gandalf looked at him seriously. "In this matter, Aragorn… I trust the Halflings can look after themselves. But we will go and see, if you wish." With that, the wizard summoned an enormous eagle and hauled an astonished Aragorn on behind him.

In moments they had crossed the borders of the Shire. Before he could see anything in the darkness, Aragorn inhaled a heavenly scent. Then he stared open-mouthed. Everywhere he looked, the brutal pumpkin assault was being met with… ovens. As fast as the hobbits manning them could take out freshly-baked pumpkin pies, breads, and cakes, other hobbits, crowded around hastily-erected banquet tables, were devouring them.

Their swift transportation soon took them to Rivendell, where Aragorn could see a tiny figure—Bilbo?—directing teams of Elves.

"You're just in time!" Bilbo called cheerfully when he saw them. Aragorn and Gandalf dismounted and joined in the excellent feast. Within a day, the malevolent pumpkins had been decimated. Aragorn was flabbergasted, but Gandalf had a simple explanation.

"Where would we be without hobbit stomachs?" the wizard said with a shrug. "When life hands them thousands of evil marauding squashes bent on destruction… they make pumpkin pie."


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