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Christmas/advent calendar - Day 12

Janet had told several of their friends at the base that the children would be going trick-or-treating there on Halloween, so people had brought candy, meaning the children ended up with large bags full of it.

She frowned slightly as she looked at the large amounts of goodies, almost regretting they had arranged this. However, as Rhiva reminded her, the children did not get much candy otherwise, and they had not had much fun this year, so they deserved this.

"What are we doing now?" Sam wondered.

"Teal'c mentioned there'd be a party this evening - and that one of the rec rooms has been decorated. Is that true?" Daniel wanted to know.

"Well... yes, that's true, but it was supposed to be a secret," Janet admitted.

"Now, since we know, can we go see the room?" Martouf asked.

"I don't think they've finished decorating, sweethearts. Later."

"Maybe we can help with the decorations?" Freya suggested.

"You don't need to - there's some people in charge of that," Janet said, knowing the whole idea was to surprise the children. "You know, if you want, we can carve a pumpkin together. Would you like to do that?"

"Yes!" Sam said, eagerly.

"We'd love to do that!" Daniel added.

"What do you mean, 'carve a pumpkin'?" Martouf looked confused.

"I forgot - we didn't celebrate Halloween with you the two previous years, so you've never done it before," Janet said. "You know how there were a lot of scary stuff in those pictures I showed you of Halloween celebrations?"

"Yes - the cobwebs and ghosts and devils..." Freya nodded.

"I am not scared! It's all just fake. Right?" Martouf said, looking slightly concerned.

Janet smiled. "Yes, it's all just fake. No worries. Anyway, I don't know if you remember it, but there were some pumpkins in those pictures. Pumpkins carved so they had scary faces - and then you put a light inside and put it up as a lantern. Outside, or in a dark room."

Freya nodded. "Anise says she remembers seeing those, but that she did not know they were pumpkins."

"They are. Now, would you like to try and make some? I have black marker pens, so you can draw faces on the pumpkins, and then we carve them together. Okay?"

"Hi, O'Neill!" Lantash exclaimed, seeing him. "Come, look! Isn't this an awesome pumpkin?" He pointed at it. "I just need to put a candle inside it, then it's ready!"

"It's great!" O'Neill said, meaning it. The pumpkin had a large, maniacal grin, and small, somehow evil-looking eyes. "Very scary."

"Thanks - it's inspired by a Goa'uld that captured me once. An underling of Sokar's... Anezti, I think his name was. He's dead, though. Fortunately."

"Let's not think of such things right now." O'Neill shuddered.

"My pumpkin is supposed to look like Kinsey!" Sam grinned. "What do you think?"

O'Neill studied it. "Kinsey is uglier, but I think I can see the similarity." He smiled, then turned to Daniel and Anise. "What about you guys? Have you also carved your pumpkins to look like someone?"

Daniel shook his head. "No, mine is just... traditional."

"Traditional can be good." O'Neill nodded. "I think it's nice."

"Mine is... free fantasy," Anise said. "Freya thinks it is a complete failure." She looked unhappy.

"It's not a failure." He ruffled her hair, looking at the pumpkin, which had an insane expression. "Unusual, perhaps, but not a failure. I think they're all great! Well done!"

"Let's get some candles put in them, and then we can tell the people decorating the rec room, to come pick them up? Ah... Jack? Is everything ready for the 'mini pumpkin hunt'?" Janet asked.

"Yes, Teal'c told me he was going to put out the last ones a few moments ago, so I think we're ready to go."

"What is a 'mini pumpkin hunt'?" Sam wanted to know.

"Teal'c and Jack have hid 100 small pumpkins on this floor, and the floors above and below. It's really small ones - they'll fit in the palm of your hand. Well, maybe not, but in my hand, at least." She smiled, grabbing four bags. "Here. You go look for them. You have one hour to search. The one who finds the most, gets a prize."

"Go wash your hands first, though," O'Neill said, seeing how they were all sticky from the pumpkin pulp. "I'm sure Teal'c will be back here by then, so we can get started."

"Yes, I knew there was one under here! Now I've got ten!" Sam exclaimed, pulling the small pumpkin from under the pillow.

"I have got fourteen pumpkins," Lantash announced, proudly.

"I only have seven. You guys are obviously cheating!" Daniel insisted.

"I am not cheating!" Lantash exclaimed, angrily.

"Do not fight, please?" Freya begged. "Come help me instead. There are several of the pumpkins hidden behind those books." She pointed. "I cannot get to them without moving all the books aside."

"We'll help, of course," Lantash and Daniel both promised.

"I'll help too!" Sam hurried to the others.

After helping each other move aside several books, Freya fished out four pumpkins from the back of the shelf, and gave one to each.

"Fifteen pumpkins," Lantash said in a low voice.

About ten minutes later, Teal'c stepped into the room. "One full hour has passed. You must cease searching for pumpkins immediately, and follow me to receive your rewards."

"Rewards?" Lantash asked. "Oh... and I found a total of seventeen pumpkins!"

"Prizes. The prizes Janet talked about," Daniel grumbled, as he followed the others out of the room. "I'm not gonna get any, because you guys took all the pumpkins!"

"I have twelve," Sam proclaimed. "How many pumpkins did you find, Daniel? Freya?"

"Eight. You all know that," Daniel said, unhappily.

"I have found nine - only one more than you, Daniel," Freya told him, trying to make him happy again.

"It doesn't matter who found most - it was just for fun!" Janet said, hearing what they were talking about. "We've got a prize for each of you."

"What did I get from finding most pumpkins, then?" Lantash asked, a bit miffed.

"You get to choose first," O'Neill told them.

"Okay." He nodded, satisfied.

Janet went over to the table, and took four packages out of a large box. "Pick one."

"What about Martouf? Doesn't he get a gift? He helped finding the pumpkins."

"You found them together, so you get to share the prize, okay?"

"Hm." Lantash sounded somewhat less than pleased, then nodded. "Okay. I'd like thatone." He pointed at the second-largest package, which was rectangular.

"Here you go. It's yours." O'Neill handed it to him.

Lantash shook it gently, listening to the sound it made. "LEGO." He smiled happily.

"I want that one," Sam said, choosing the largest of the packages.

O'Neill gave it to her. "Freya? Which package do you and Anise want?"

"Hmmm." Freya looked at the two remaining packages, thinking about the choice and discussing it with Anise.

Meanwhile, Sam had ripped off the paper from her gift. "A skateboard! Yes! That's so awesome!"

"Hurry up and choose!" Daniel said.

"That one." Freya pointed.

"Here you go." O'Neill gave it to her. "And this one is your's, Daniel."

"I got a..." She studied the box for a moment more. "3-dimensional puzzle of the Empire State Building."

"I got a 'Kids Archaeology Kit'." Daniel looked on the back of it. "This contains... 'a copy of an Egyptian Pyramid, a small sarcophagus and mummy, an ancient looking death mask, four canopic urns, as well as hammers, brushes, chisels... and a book about ancient Egypt and Egyptian gods!'" He looked angry. "This is an insult! Who thought this was a good gift? You knew I would lose this contest and that the others wouldn't take this prize!"

"The Egyptian gods are Goa'uld, I doubt that book is being truthful about that fact," Lantash pointed out, looking up from where he was already building with his LEGO.

"How can there be four canopic jars inside? There is barely space for one!" Freya insisted. "At least they are not stasis jars, then."

O'Neill sighed. "I was in a hurry, and didn't really have time to read closely what it said on the box. Sorry, Daniel - but we really had no way of knowing who would get that one."

"You can come help me build this castle, if you want?" Lantash offered.

"And you can try my skateboard," Sam said.

"We can all build the puzzle together." Freya gave Daniel a hug.

Daniel smiled at them. "Yes... okay - to all of it. What do we do first?"

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