Anyone familiar with Charles Dickens’ classic Christmas tale, A Christmas Carol, will certainly recognize the extreme similarity of Kevin Purdy’s shamelessly fun modern version, his ‘Halloween carol,’ The Legend of Decimus Croome. The story is essentially the same, but in this version Ebenezer Scrooge, the miserly boss who loathes the holidays (and pretty much everything else), is replaced with one Decimus Croome, owner of the local hardware store who has hated Halloween (and all things fun) since the death of his wife years before. The formerly fun young man is now an old miser who lives only to mistreat his poor hardworking employee, Mr. Bobbich, hand out vegetables to any soul unfortunate enough to attempt to trick or treat at his house, and generally grumble and glare and scare the Dickens out of the whole town.
However, one night Croome finds himself visited by the spirit of his wife, who, after both comforting him and chastising him for becoming such an old grump, warns him that before the night’s out he will be visited by three holiday specters. The first, the Ghost of Halloween Past, is a loud Jack o’ Lantern who reminds him of the joy the holiday had when he was a child and young man by taking him through a walk down memory lane, before the next ghost, the Spirit of Halloween Present, arrives in the form of a shape-changing witch who shows him exactly how miserable his miserly attitude is making everyone around him. Finally, the Ghost of Halloween Future enters as a silent, spectral skeleton who shows him how his eventual end is mourned – or not – and the consequences for his actions if he does not shape up soon. Finally, a contrite Croome is returned the next morning, Halloween, having learned his lesson and ready to embrace his family, friends, and the holidays and being to live his life again.
This book can be found at the Bellevue University Library and is recommended for anyone wanting a quick and fun seasonal read this fall. It is available in print in the General Collection and can be checked out for 21 days.
Originally posted in the Freeman/Lozier Library’s quarterly newsletter, More Than Books, V. 23 No. 1, Winter 2019.