The carving of a pumpkin into a Jack-o’-lantern originates from an Irish myth about Stingy Jack, who tricked the Devil for his own monetary gain. When Jack died, the legend goes that God would not allow such an unsavoury figure into heaven. The Devil would not allow Jack’s soul into hell either, so Jack was sentenced to roam the earth for eternity.
In Ireland, people started to carve scary faces out of turnips and potatoes. They would then place them into windows or near doors to frighten away Jack’s wandering soul. Irish immigrants took this tradition to America, home of the pumpkin, and found that pumpkins are perfect for carving!
Pumpkin carving is the perfect opportunity to get creative at Halloween. Simply choose a large pumpkin and use a knife to cut off the crown. You then need to scoop out the seeds and fibres and discard. Tip – to keep your pumpkin fresher for longer, give it cold bath with a splash of bleach to keep the mould away! You can now design your lantern by either using a marker pen or a printed template. You can’t go wrong with the traditional Jack O’Lantern design, it looks great and is really simple to carve. If you’d like to go for something a bit more adventurous you can find lots of printable stencils online. Simply attach the template onto your pumpkin with pins or tape and use a nail or sharp tipped object to poke through and mark.
There are lot’s of other fun but simple ideas for your pumpkins, instead of discarding the seeds and fibres use them to create a vomiting pumpkin! Or how about carving a smaller fruit and posing it in your lanterns mouth. Pumpkins look fabulous with an autumnal spray of flowers displayed as a centre piece on your table. You can even cut out carving altogether and simply decorate with paint, glitter and other crafty materials. The main thing is you have fun with it!