Pumpkin-Flavored Horror Icons: A Spooktacular Roll Call 🎃

Share the darkness

“Lady, I’m your worst nightmare –

A Pumpkin with a gun!”

Merv Pumpkinhead (The Sandman)

Hey, horror aficionados, Herm here, and guess what time of year it is? Yep, it’s the season when pumpkin spice invades every corner of our lives, from lattes to, well, horror characters. No complaints here! Pumpkins and horror go together like fangs and a jugular vein. So, just for a bit of fun, I thought we could sink our teeth into something wacky – like the top 10 pumpkin-themed or pumpkin-adjacent characters in literature, comics, and fiction! So prime your brains for maximum weirdness. This is going to be a hauntingly gourd time 😉

1. Jack Skellington the Pumpkin King

Franchise: The Nightmare Before Christmas

The King himself! Tim Burton gave us this skeletal majesty who rules Halloween Town like some bony Elvis Presley. While not technically a pumpkin, his title, “Pumpkin King,” and influence over all things Halloween earns him the top spot. He’s not just the face of Halloween; he’s the skull of it!

2. Merv Pumpkinhead

Franchise: The Sandman

Art by Mike Henderson

Dreams and pumpkins? Neil Gaiman thinks they’re a match made in the Dreaming. Merv is the janitor of the Dream realm and rocks that pumpkin head with blue-collar style. His no-nonsense approach to supernatural madness makes him the working-class hero of the gourd world. If you ever hang out with him, just don’t carve his face, okay?

3. The Headless Horseman

Franchise: The Legend of Sleepy Hollow

Art by Helena Nikulina

Sure, he may not technically have a pumpkin for a head, but tossing one at hapless Ichabod Crane makes him a legend in the pumpkin horror circle. Washington Irving would be so proud, or terrified, to see how far this guy’s come.

4. Sam

Franchise: Trick ‘r Treat

Ah, Sam, the enigmatic child-sized embodiment of Halloween. His name is derived from “Samhain,” the ancient Celtic festival that Halloween originated from. So yeah, he’s old school. With his burlap sack resembling a disturbing pumpkin, Sam’s a pint-sized bag of terrors you wouldn’t want knocking on your door.

5. Pumpkinhead

Franchise: Pumpkinhead (Film Series)

Art by Alexander Laccarino

When you want revenge so bad you’re willing to summon a demonic entity to do your dirty work, you get Pumpkinhead. Inspired by a poem but immortalized by horror flicks, this gruesome creature is as pumpkin-y as your Grandma’s secret pie recipe is delicious. Except you wouldn’t want a slice of this!

6. Jack Pumpkinhead

Franchise: The Oz Series

He may hail from a more family-friendly universe, but Jack Pumpkinhead of Oz is bizarre enough to warrant inclusion. Created by Tip, an alter ego of Princess Ozma, he’s made entirely of pumpkin and wood. He’s like a scarecrow who went to a pumpkin festival and said, “This is my life now.”

7. Jack O’ Lantern

Franchise: Marvel Comics

An ex-mercenary and assassin who uses a flaming pumpkin helmet and pumpkin bombs to terrorize Spider-Man and other heroes. He was later merged with a demon and granted true mystical powers, which he used to become an even better contract killer, often using his demonic powers in horrific ways to nail his targets.

8. Lord Pumpkin

Franchise: Marvel Ultraverse Comics

Ok, this guy is just plain weird. He’s a villain who is actually a sentient jack-o-lantern puppet. Once just a pumpkin-headed plaything for a sadistic, bratty prince from a fantasy world, Lord Pumpkin had enough of being chopped and burned like last year’s Halloween decor. One day he snapped, and used his sorcerous powers to turn the tables, giving the entire kingdom an extreme makeover in the process. Insane, right?

9. Hobgoblin

Franchise: Marvel Comics

Art by Arthur Adams

Though not entirely pumpkin-themed, Hobgoblin makes the list for his iconic pumpkin bombs. He may be a Spider-Man villain, but around this time of year, he could easily be the Pumpkin Man. And whyvddn’t I pick the Green Goblin, a more iconic pumpkin-wilding foe? Why, because his color scheme is all wrong for Halloween.

10. Pumpkin Rapper

Franchise: Mighty Morphin Power Rangers

Lastly, we have the Pumpkin Rapper, who is the epitome of ’90s ridiculousness. A pumpkin-headed villain who raps, dances, and shoots lasers? Sign me up for that concert.

So Why Pumpkin Characters?

So you might be wondering, “What’s the big deal with pumpkin characters?” Well, it’s simple: They encapsulate the essence of Halloween and all things eerie. Pumpkins are rich in folklore, used traditionally to ward off evil spirits, and, let’s face it, they’re the true MVPs of autumn. When you combine them with the storytelling genius of comics, movies, and novels, you get characters that are as layered as a goodie bag stuffed with treats.

Merv Pumpkinhead, Agent of D.R.E.A.M.
Art by Kevin Nowlan

Pumpkins in horror don’t just signify that it’s Halloween; they convey the feeling that something dark yet playful is going on. Think of them as the jokers of the horror world—charming, enigmatic, but capable of making your blood run cold. For example, the Headless Horseman uses a pumpkin as a head, showing the blend of folklore and pure terror. Sam from “Trick ‘r Treat” may look cute, but his story teaches us the grim lessons of not respecting traditions. And let’s not forget Merv Pumpkinhead, who exists in a realm of dreams yet manages to be the most relatable character, showing us that even in fantastical worlds, a touch of the everyday exists. These characters are intrinsically tied to the themes of death, transformation, and the supernatural, embodying the true spirit of Halloween.

From comic books to the big screen, these characters have left an indelible mark. They’ve spawned action figures, Halloween costumes, and, of course, tons of memes. Their impact isn’t just confined to the universe they belong to; they become a part of our collective Octoberverse, and become more vivid as Halloween approaches. So, as you get ready to carve your jack-o’-lanterns this year, remember that you’re participating in a tradition that’s as old as the stories that brought these characters to life.

So, now it’s your turn! Comment below with your favorite pumpkin character, and let’s keep the conversation going. Don’t forget to hit that subscribe button for more deliciously dark content, and share this pumpkin-themed feast with your friends before Halloween comes creeping around.

Herm 🦇

Article Info

Process: This post was outlined and drafted in LOD’s go-to writing app Scrivener, polished in Sudowrite, and rocketed into the Social Media Stratosphere by Crowdfire.

All images are owned by their respective copyright owners unless stated and are used for promotional and review purposes only.

Disclosure: Some of the links above are affiliate links. This means that The Longbox of Darkness will earn an affiliate commission at zero cost to you if you click through the link and finalize a purchase.


There aren’t any tricks here, only treats!
Subscribe to our FREE monthly NEWSLETTER for additional horror and sci-fi content delivered straight to your own INBOX of DARKNESS.
In addition, you also get our weekly Fridays in the Crypt update, featuring the best of LOD.

We don’t spam! Read our privacy policy for more info.

On my fifth birthday a relative gifted me a black box filled with old horror, war, and superhero comics. On that day, my journey through the Weird began, and The Longbox of Darkness was born. Four decades of voracious reading later, and here we are.