As the moon at it's zenith spread it's light through the town,

at a statue of Princess Luna colts and fillies gathered round,

and as they waited on the princess, a zebra stood and spake,

and the tale she then told, made all the young ones quake,

for on that very year, and that Nightmare Night,

the one known as Zecora, told a tale of fright...

Story Time With Zecora or A Night Mare Before Hearthswarming…

"Check it out, I must've got twice the candy the rest of you did this year." Scootaloo, still in her Wonderbolt costume declaimed, as she proudly showed off her bag of loot.

"I don't see how, considering well all went to the same houses together." Apple Bloom retorts.

"Well if she did, it probably had to do with her costume," Sweetie Belle adds, "everypony knows the Wonderbolts. And what are you supposed to be again?"

"I've told everypony three times now! It's a platypus, how can ponies not see that!"

Sweetie Belle shares a look with Scootaloo.

"Oh like yours is any better," Apple Bloom's says, pointing up and down at Sweetie Belle. "That's not even a costume, it's like what Rarity wears every other day."

"Hey! This is SO a costume! Sweetie Belle snaps back with her high pitched voice. "This is Mare-ie Antoinette, and she was very famous!"

"Not as famous as the Wonderbolts" Scootaloo says as she zips around the pair on her scooter.

"All right you three, time to settle down, and all of you come gather round. For soon the princess will arrive, in her chariot from the sky." Zecora tells all the fillies and colts, that begin gathering before her at the base of the statue of Luna.

"She seems awfully late," little Pipsqueak says as he makes his way to join his friends. "You don't think she decided not to visit this year?" He said sadly.

Zecora looked around at all the expectant faces before her, all looking to her for an answer.

"Well truth be told, there IS a reason, that she's been delayed for this season," she said somewhat reluctantly.

"There is?" Sweetie Belle asks, as eveypony leans forward.

"I could tell you why she is not yet here, but the story I'm afraid, would fill you with fear." Zecora says, still hesitant to speak further.

"No, if it's about Luna you HAVE to tell us," Pip speaks up bravely.

"Very well, young Pip, I'll tell you the tale, I can but hope you're heart won't quail." Zecora then addresses all the young ones present, "Have you noticed there the lack of adults around, seek where you may, they can't be found."

"W-well, aren't they all over at the my family's corn maze?" Apple Bloom asks, looking left and right.

"Indeed they are, this very night, but have you not heard their screams of fright?" Zecora inquires.

"Well, that just means my family did a good job of scaring them, right? Right?" Apple Bloom says becoming nervous.

"Rainbow Dash isn't scared of anything in some old corn maze," Scootaloo huffs.

"And the only thing Rarity is afraid of are fashion critics, and I doubt any of THEM are in there," Sweetie Belle adds, becoming nervous herself.

"Indeed young fillies, our friends are brave, it would take more than that to make them rave," Zecora says ominously. "So now begins my tale of fear, of Princess Luna's visitor that arrived this year..."

Luna had prepared for hours,

making sure her guise was right,

to soar the skies and bring forth shrieks,

disguised as Nightmare Moon this night,

"Stop worrying so," Celestia said,

"You're mane is fine, as is your gear,"

"I just want to look my best,"

said Luna, "just like I do every year,"

"Well go have fun," Celestia chides,

"But don't be gone all night this time,"

"Oh sister, I'm a big girl now,

Luna said, "besides this is my time to shine!"

And saying so Luna trotted out,

to the balcony, and the cool night air,

and without preamble she took flight,

"Beware Equestria, here comes... Nightmare!"

Celestia merely shakes her head,

"So dramatic," is what she said,

"Hopefully she brings candy back,"

and with that she went back to her bed.

"Ah the night," Luna thought,

"it's beauty is still so sublime,

to feel the first of winter's bite,

an autumn's night, is the best of times,"

She flew through the sky, amidst the stars,

she flew under the full moon's light,

she flew gazing down at ponies below,

until something made her jerk upright.

"What's this?" she thought, coming to a halt,

"I sense a darkness quite sublime,

a doorway new has opened up,

and something has come to our climes,"

"I feel it," Luna thought eyes wide,

"a fear, a darkness, coming... soon,

I sense it ever nearer now,

it reminds me of… Nightmare Moon?"

Then suddenly there appeared before her,

astride nothing but thin air,

a figure appeared none had seen before there,

floating as if without a care,

The being stood there all alone,

as Luna's gaze upon him bore,

an upright figure made of bone,

inside a dark suit that he wore.

This figure male stood unafraid,

and looked the princess up and down,

then almost as if a decision was made,

he cast aside his scowling frown,

"Such ebon beauty," the figure said,

"a dark enticing feast for eyes long fled,

tell me oh most wondrous being,

just who is it that I'm seeing?"

"Darkling creature who ere you be,

know you this, if nothing more,

tonight you face my old reflection,

and Nightmare Moon is the name it wore!"

Lightning flash as she intoned,

the name that once filled all with dread,

and as the thunder followed suit,

the figure then bowed down his head,

"Nightmare Moon? Such a wonderful name,

and I would assume, that our goals are the same,

for I am JACK, the Pumpkin King!

And I know all there is about Halloween!"

"Halloween?" Luna declared, I know not that name,

"Oh but you do," Jack then said, "for it is the very same,"

as this night that was given over to all fright,

"You mean," Luna asked surprised, "it's the same as Nightmare Night?"

"Indeed" said Jack, "tis the very same thing,"

"And you're" Luna said, "the anthropomorphic personification of this Halloween?"

Said Jack, "indeed I am, in the lack of flesh,"

"and if you will permit me we can start afresh,"

"As I said, I'm Jack, and in my realm,

I rein undisputed as the Pumpkin Lord,

but every now and then even a Lord gets bored,

and when I get bored, I like to explore,

and as I explored the forest, I then found a door,

and although this door was on the side of a tree,

I knew I faced more art than arbor,

for craved on it's surface was the head of a pony,

Now Jack's not known for being afraid,

so it wasn't but a moment till my plans were laid,

I left a note, with my ghost dog spot,

then I hurried deep inside, with an enthusiastic trot,

And of what a wondrous sight I saw,

emerging from the portal's night,

a strange new forest to explore,

my empty heart filled with delight,

and as I then strolled,

my way along,

I filled this new forest,

with the sound of my song..."

What's this? What's this?
Green vines are everywhere,
What's this?
Strange creatures fill the air,
What's this?
I can't believe my eyes,
Could I be dreaming,
Wake up, Jack, this isn't fair,
What's this?

What's this? What's this?
Where has my forest gone?
What's this?
The night is filled with different songs,

What's this?
The trail is lined with
deadly creatures growling,
and a wooden wolf is howling,
Have I possibly gone mad?
Or has someone's prank gone bad?
What's this?

There's a beast made out of three,
one body but three heads,
and it seems to have an interest,
in making me quite dead,

There's plants that give a hiss,
Oh, I can't believe my eyes,
they're twinning through my ribcage,
and coming from inside,

What's this?
There's something in the mire, another hiss,
Many heads rise up, untired,
They're gathering round to crush my body?
Roaring voices, how inspired!
What's this?

What's this?
In here there is a glowing tree, how queer
it seems, to be radiating harmony,
And why?

It's covered with tiny little things,
They look, like gems, embedded in the boles rings,
this tree is second unto none,
So, now, correct me if I'm wrong,
This looks like fun,
Oh, could it be I got my wish?
What's this?

Oh my, what now?
A bear all made of stars,
It's beauty is unmarred,
No predators to harm it, well what could hurt this varmit?
I may just try to charm it, such a star filled cozy thing,
Secure inside it's dreamland,

What's this?
Oh my, I shouldn't be so loud,
his roar, so strong, it shouldn't be allowed,
And though more I would be knowing,
I feel I should be going..

What's this?

Below, I see a little town,

and look, I see,

decorations all around,

it seems, Halloween, even here it can be found…

but wait! What's this?!

Instead of screams, I swear,
I can hear music in the air,
The smell of cakes and pies,
Is absolutely everywhere,

The sounds, the sights,
Something here just isn't right,
there is laughter instead of fright?
This is making me fed up,
I think I've simply had enough!

I want it, oh, I want it,
To be just like my own,
I've got to know
I've got to know
Where the scariness has flown?
What is this? A sign?
Welcome to Ponyville, hmm..."

"And so you see," Jack said after his song,

"That's where I was until YOU came along,

I sensed a darkness just like my own,

so to your side, I have quickly flown,

Now I JACK,

the Pumpkin King,

want to know where's the fear,

in you're Halloween."

"The answer to you're question,

starts a thousand years ago,"

And Luna told her tale,

of how the Nightmare brought her low,

and when she had finished,

she was very much surprised,

for Jack let out a laugh,

and with a twinkle in his eyes,

He then said to Luna,

"why I think it's grand,

they they honor you still,

all across this land,

and to have a festival,

in honor of fright,

where all the ponies gather,

under pale moon light,

But Luna you see,

to me it is clear,

that what this all lacks,

is the taste of fear,

for a shiver and a tremor,

and a good night scare,

will make the candy sweeter,

that the children share,

and if you will allow, JACK,

the Pumpkin King,

to help you on this night,

I think I have the thing,

To make yonder ponies,

all shriek with fright,

and bring a bit more joy,

to this Nightmare Night."

"Well Jack," Luna said,

I feel your intentions are good,"

but let me make sure,

that it is understood,

That in this place,

on this Nightmare Night,

that the Princess of the Moon,

is the Queen of fright!"

"Oh ho!" Said Jack,

"Is this a challenge I hear?

To see which one of us can

cause the most fear?"

"Indeed," Luna said,

mischief in her eyes,

"If you have it in your bones,

then please give it a try!"

"Very well," said Jack,

"But you'd best beware,

for I am the undisputed,

Pumpkin King of scares!"

"Just one thing!" Luna said,

"before we both begin,

let us be restricted to adults,

and not scare the children,

for if this battle goes down,

like I think that it must,

all the parents in the world,

would soon be after us."

"Ah," said Jack,"I'm glad that you care,

for like yourself,

I would not cause harm with my scares,

on this I, Jack, solemnly swears."

Very well," Luna said,

and then shifted her gaze,

for all the adults of this town,

were out in the corn maze,

But before they arrived,

they played jan-ken to decide,

which one would go first,

and which one would hide,

And Luna chose rock,

but as Jack understood,

that's all she could choose,

because ponies have hooves,

So Jack went first,

and picked a pony to fright,

and he crept up silently,

in the chill of the night,

and the pony he chose

was one called Derpy,

who had reached a dead end,

and had nowhere to flee,

and at this Jack smiled,

with devilish glee,

as he crept ever closer

to the pony Derpy,

and as Derpy faced,

the blank wall of the maze,

Jack rose up behind her,

with a menacing gaze,

And just as Jack,

was about to shriek,

Derpy tried to turn,

but her hoof gave a creak,

because she caught it on a root,

with her Twilight costume,

and with her shoes so tight,

there was not any room,

so as she turned,

she quickly fell,

and collapse on poor Jack,

with a startled yell,

and when she rose,

she saw beneath,

a pile of shattered bones,

all in a heap,

but she never even noticed,

far above her head,

the laughing pony princess,

as away she fled,

and then as Jack,

reassembled his parts,

Luna landed laughing still,

in fits and starts,

and poor old Jack,

the Pumpkin King,

had to sit amidst the laughter,

while assembling,

And then Luna said,

to him with a grin,

I doubt you'll pick,

on Derpy Hooves again,

"In truth," said Jack,

"That was a rocky start,

but have no fear,

next time I'll do my part,"

"Perhaps," Luna said,

stifling a grin,

but you'll just have to wait,

till it's your turn again,

For now tis I,

the Princess of the Night,

who'll give you a lessen

in the art of fright,"

And Luna flew aloft,

in her Nightmare guise,

and quickly found a pony,

for her to surprise,

But unbeknownst to her,

she chose the one called Maud Pie,

so she landed right behind her,

with mayhem in her eyes,

And then with a saucy wink to Jack,

she caused a bolt of lightning to frame her from the back,

And as Maud turned to see,

Luna cackled like a demon and made to attack,

But now it was Jack's turn,

to laugh like a fool,

For Maud stood there,

both calm and cool,

And in a flat tone,

at which Luna winces,

Maud then said,

"Ha, ha, that was a good one Princess."

Luna then quickly fled,

back up into the sky,

where Jack was laughing so hard,

he had began to cry,

Said he, "tut tut,

it was a very good try,"

Luna said, "Laugh all you want,

but we are both still tied."

"But not for long,"

Jack said with a grin,

"for it is once more,

my turn again,

and you'll see this time,

just what I mean,

when I say I am the king,

of Halloween."

So Jack flew down to his intended foe,

intent on bringing her fear and woe,

and as she gazed at a near tombstone,

in Jack's mind an idea had flown,

and moments later the mare felt a stir,

under the ground that she stood upon,
and with a tremble and a murmur that ground was disturbed,

and then a bony hand broke thru the lawn,

and before her eyes, there did arise,

a figure lean of the skeletal kind,

the head stone fell, as with a yell,

the apparition of Jack rose thru the roots and vines,

But as Jack looked down, he soon developed a frown,

as the earth pony mare, with the blue and pink hair,

said then she, with neither fear nor glee,

"a bugbear's given me more cause to fear."

So Jack took to the air,

then he said, "not fair,

these pastel ponies,

just will not scare."

But Luna espied,

with her emerald eyes,

a pony with which,

she'd give one more try,

so down through the night,

our Luna soared,

to try to scare,

somepony once more,

and the target this time,

was old Granny Smith,

for surely this was somepony,

Luna could contend with,

But as Luna's shadow,

blotted out the moons light,

Granny then turned,

but not with fright,

said she, "You'll have to pardon,

my poor eyesight, but I reckon I can make out just who I see,

by the wings and the horn that you have adorned,

it's an alicorn princess you're supposed to be,

but for the life of me,

I just can't guess,

why you'd wear such gaudy armor,

dressing up as Cadence."

Well that was IT,

Luna flew up in a snit,

as far as she was concerned,

she'd had enough of it.

But as she rose to join Jack,

they then both heard,

true shrieks of fear,

and they turned without a word,

to see five ponies,

and a baby dragon run out,

all screaming in fear,

and raising a shout,

Luna said,

"those six are the bravest of all,

what could ever make THEM,

all scream and bawl?"

but then a moment later,

the answer was made clear,

as a yellow pegasus emerged,

adorned in Flutterbat gear,

And Jack and Luna listened,

while the pegasus explained,

how she scared her friends,

though it caused her pain,

And Jack then thought,"Well here's a thing,

some beings don't like scares, for their Halloween,

Why I never would have ever

even thought such a thing."

And as he thought,

he then understood,

that Luna's type of Holiday,

was just as good,

And as the two watched,

the seven friends parted ways,

then Jack and Luna landed,

right before the cave,

And Fluttershy turned,

from her animal friends,

in time to see the two of them,

quickly descend,

Luna offered a hug,

which Fluttershy gave back,

and afterwords was quickly,

introduced to Jack,

And the two explained,

to the pegasus fair,

just exactly what it was,

they were doing out there,

And when the were done,

they had both agreed,

that for this night that Fluttershy,

was the best steed,

And they asked her,

since she was the best in scare,

if she would do them one last favor,

while she was still out there,

and although Fluttershy,

had renounced causing fear,

she agreed to Luna's favor,

but only for this year,

So then Luna and Jack,

flew up in the sky,

and cast their magics

down on Fluttershy,

And after a minute,

they said 'That was that."

and once more into the air,

flew the real Flutterbat,

And the pair then watched,

as Flutterbat flew,

and scared all the ponies in the maze, thru and thru,

and now I warn you colts and fillies, she'll be coming for YOU!"

At this last Zecora had risen her voice, cause all those before her to jump in fright. Scootaloo was the first to recover her voice.

"Aww c-come on Zecora, that story can't be true." Scootaloo says, trying to keep the trembling out of her voice. "I mean, how would you know what's been happening on the other side of town? And a skeleton that walked on two legs and talked? And we all know Fluttershy was cured of being a-"

At that moment a gust of wind came down from on high as Princess Luna descended clad in her Nightmare Moon guise.

But before any of the young ones could speak, down beside her swooped the form of Flutterbat, her bat wings wide, and her fangs bared.

"Ah, HERE you all are!" Flutterbat said, her fangs grinning hugely.

The fillies and colts before her all let out a shriek and bolted in every direction.

"Oh dear," Fluttershy said, removing her false fangs and wings, "I was just coming to get the Crusaders for Rarity and Applejack, I hope I didn't scare them too badly."

Before Zecora could respond, another figure glided silently down from above. He was tall and thin, and bone white.

Looking up at the figure, Luna, Zecora and Fluttershy all gasped… before falling to the ground in laughter. They laughed and laughed until tears came from their eyes.

Looking down upon them with a forced frown the figure of Discord asked in mock frustration.

"What, you don't like my costume?" He said from behind a flimsy white plastic mask attached with a thin band of elastic. "Do you have any idea how long it took me to paint myself white? Or how hard it is to paint a sun on your own flank? And don't even get me started on how hard it was to find a pastel rainbow wig on short notice… wait, why are you still laughing? I'll have you know the resemblance is uncanny! Look!" Discord said, as he produced a basketball painted bright yellow. "See, I'm raising the sun," he said, tossing it into the air.

Luna quickly leaped up, "Hah, I know what's up for me!" and snatched it out of the air and pretended to fly away.

"Hey! Don't Steal My Sunshine!" Discord yelled in vain, causing both Fluttershy and Zecora, to fall to the ground laughing once more.

As Discord rose up to chase Luna, with Fluttershy not far behind, Zecora turned away from the trio, and cast her gaze out across the hillside. There framed by the full moon, she saw a figure tall and thin, it turned and faced her, and then executed a perfect bow, before slowly fading from sight.

"Good on ye Jack," Zecora said, "be not too long, ere you come back..."