WELLSVILLE (AP) — The principal's purloined pumpkin turned out to be a winner.

For the second year, staff at Willow Valley Middle School held a contest to see who could grow the biggest pumpkin. Principal Lynn Archibald received a note, asking if he was missing anything big in his life.

His pumpkin had been stolen from his garden.

"He came into my class so distraught," teacher Ainsli Jenks said.

Archibald decided to turn it into a lesson, asking students to write about the pumpkin theft. About 60 students responded with poems, stories and court scenes.

Last week, as pumpkins were brought for the weigh-in, Archibald suddenly recognized his: It was 184.5 pounds — the winner by more than 6 pounds.

And the green-thumbed thieves? Two teachers, of course, who wore shirts with black-and-white jail stripes.

"School is just fun here. Now we have a new thing for Halloween," student Kelly Miller said.