#FallWritingFrenzy 2022 Contest Entry: Conjuring Courage

Thank you for hosting the spooktacular Fall Writing Frenzy contest, Kaitlyn Leann Sanchez and Lydia Lukidis, along with their special guest judge Alyssa Reynoso-Morris. I’m excited to share my submission inspired by Selina Wing’s hauntingly gorgeous photo and my eight-year-old daughter. There are also some fantastic prize donors! You can shower our hosts and prize donors with love by visiting their blogs, following them on social media, and showing book love. 

Image credit: Halloween- Credit: Selina Wing for Bing



Christine Alemshah

[WC: 194]

On this night, when everything twinkles and burning wax fills my nose like birthday candles, all the pumpkins line up like tiny toy soldiers.

My pumpkin is perfectly round, just like everyone else’s. 

It doesn’t stand out. It fits in. 

“Great details,” say the judges. 

“Nice work,” a classmate chimes.

I wish every day at school were like this night, 

where compliments are many, and taunts are few. 

Where I felt more alike than different from everyone else.

Like my pumpkin — proud, smiling, confident.

Hollow eyes stare back at me as if all-knowing, challenging me to dig deep.

I have thick skin, and so do you.  

Look closer at my pumpkin pals,

and you’ll see we’re not the same at all.

Some have broken stems, 

others sun spots, 

some big and some small.

I ponder those thoughts, look around, and agree. 

And not just at the pumpkins but my classmates as well.

Then I think thick skin, take a deep breath, and chant — proud, smiling, confident.

Because on this night, when everything twinkles and burning wax fills my nose like birthday candles, I’ve conjured up the courage to stand out, not fit in.

9 Replies to “#FallWritingFrenzy 2022 Contest Entry: Conjuring Courage”

  1. Christine, How I hope this story becomes fun required October reading for young students. What a springboard to encourage meaningful discussions of ‘standing out’ and ‘fitting in’, both equally important. Such an enlightened story in so few words. Well done!

  2. Love the title and your interpretation of the image. A wonderful reminder to be yourself. Beautifully written, Christine!

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