It required all of us, and we tore around the castle doing magic to protect it from evil spirits. The creature assigned to direct us all, as the one most likely to make friends among us more ordinary citizens, was Brian Molko, and he showed us how to make an Axiom Lock, which was a jointed piece of iron and brass; you'd fit them around every corner in the castle, every window and door, and then fill the gaps in the metal with special dried grass and set it alight. No evil spirits could get past that. I did my bit, and he handed me a cigarette lighter when I couldn't magic the grass alight. She was getting closer.
Before long, it was time for the play and we all had to run and hide. While we'd been making Axiom Locks to protect the castle, all the wizards and dignitaries had been dressing up as clowns in blue and white, and Brian Molko hurriedly sent us following them down into the cellars. On our way past the windows we stopped as if hypnotised to watch the Autumn Queen. She was singing about the close of Summer and the beauty of frost on a spider's web; she had the Summer Queen stretched out on a hammock behind her and little spiders were wrapping her in strong thread so she couldn't move. The ordinary people (and rabbits and things) watched and clapped, unaware of any danger.
We made it into the cellars just in time to hear her roar of rage at being unable to bring her army of spirits into the castle. The cellars were where she lived, and they were done up like a Hallowe'en joke shop, all plastic bats on strings and silly masks everywhere, and I was expecting it all to come to life and fight us, but it just sat there while we waited for her. She came down the stairs in a tornado of fury, blazed past us all and disappeared into the changing rooms at the back of the shop. Brian and I approached them warily, plastic devil's trident thing in hand. We twitched aside one curtain. Nothing. Another. A grinning mask on a broomstick. Another.
And there she was, and before I could spike her with her own comedy prop, Brian had darted forward and caught her in a shoe. I joined in, pressing down on the top of her head and squeezing her further and further into the shoe, while she made a high-pitched squealing noise of protest. She got less and less until we were just squeezing her head into the shoe, and suddenly she stopped complaining and grinned at us. I looked at Brian in alarm, but he didn't know any more than I did. As she melted into the sole of the shoe the mess that had once been her began to shift and change, and we watched as it separated itself out into a series of little orange pumpkins. And we knew that she'd invented Hallowe'en then, and that at least one day in every year she'd be able to come back.
I felt defeated, but Brian told me to keep watching, so I did. And sure enough, little bits of matter around the edge of the pumpkins began to form themselves into tiny smurfs, singing a happy song and prodding the pumpkins with little forks. The pumpkins raged, but the smurfs couldn't be stopped. Victory, of a kind, was ours. Somehow. As we took the shoe out to show everyone else, the only thought at the back of my mind was, 'Gosh, I hope we don't have to do this with Winter as well. We won't have any strength left.'