Making "New" Monsters From Old Halloween Junk

Today's Monster: The Junkin

While I'm sure they date back plenty farther, I never personally realized the trend of junk-faced Jack O' Lanterns until maybe 2015, and I've kept spotting them with some reliability ever since. We could, of course, easily fill up our "bestiary" with almost nothing but various subcategories of pumpkin-related monster, but I think special focus on just these things will suffice for now.

In order to define a pumpkin with metallic facial features any differently from just any pumpkin with just anything for facial features, we're going to have to come up with particularly special reasons for these beings to exist. Already, we can assume most pumpkin monsters are pumpkins possessed by some sort of ghost or spirit, perhaps simply serving as the easiest and most comfortable bodies for certain types of specter who can't otherwise manifest into our world. Personally, I like to think these are actually plant spirits to begin with.

So, perhaps there's a certain sort of vegetable specter that not only demands an appropriate botanical vessel, but has a special affinity for metal. This could be for any number of reasons. Maybe its past self grew in metal-rich soil, or maybe it was killed by toxic levels of metal, and seeks revenge on humans. Maybe it doesn't need an explanation and spirits are just weird, I don't know.

Once these beings have possessed a suitable plant-based body, they become capable of controlling electromagnetic waves and can incidentally see, hear and speak through metal surfaces they come into contact with, hence their tendency to form metal scraps into makeshift facial features. Obviously their power goes well beyond that, depending on the strength of their magnetic manipulation. In some cases you would even have basically a vegetable Magneto on your hands.

Considering the inexperience or even outright revulsion many supernatural beings have for metals and machinery, a Junkin can be a pretty helpful ally to witches, vampires, fairies and goblins of all sorts, but enticing them into that perfect body is always the key. While their tastes may vary, Junkins tend to be pretty vain creatures, so they most prefer only the freshest, highest quality gourd bodies and ornate, varied metallic components for their faces, limbs and weapons.

These spirits certainly aren't restricted to gourds and pumpkins as bodies, however, but can possess almost any plant matter. Some may even prefer certain sturdier alternatives, such as wood, and when left with no alternative, a powerful enough Junkin could maintain a shape from bits of metal alone, technically much deadlier but harder to hold together for long periods of time - they still need that plant vessel to really anchor them in the world of the living.

Basically, what defines the Junkin is a strong natural affinity for both vegetation and metal, requiring a vegetable body as its base and forming whatever else it needs from magnetically charged metals like a steampunk Mister Potato Head. This is one of the only times I have ever uttered the word "steampunk," and I stand by it.

Previous Halloween Bestiaries: