Carving a pumpkin is a classic for Halloween, if you want to include this tradition in your home we show you how to do it. One of the most used symbols in this celebration is the face on the pumpkin. Better known as Jack O’Lantern. Carving them has become a family activity since all members can help.
If you want to incorporate this fun family tradition, here is a simple tutorial for you to do it at home.
Let’s make some scary faces!
Step by Step: Carve a Pumpkin for Halloween
What do you need?
- A large pumpkin, make sure it is at least 12 inches tall. This will allow you to work better.
- A sharp serrated knife
- A plastic container
- A large spoon
- A marker or pencil
How is it done?
- Before you start, you will need to draw a circle or pentagon on the top. Cut it with the help of a serrated knife. To avoid jagged edges, avoid removing the knife until you have cut it completely.
- Take off the lid and remove the seeds and pulp, try to remove as much of the flesh as possible, so that the walls remain thin. Here you can add – if you wish – cinnamon on the inside of the lid, so your home will have a pleasant smell.
- It’s important to leave the inside flat so the candle doesn’t fall out.
- After that, you can carve the pumpkin. Draw the face you want with a pencil or marker. It can be happy, angry, scared… Let your imagination run wild!
- Start cutting the drawn parts, before inserting the knife make small cuts so you can cut it more easily.
- When you finish cutting out all the pieces, push them with your finger to make them fall.
- When your Jack O’Lanterns are completely ready, coat the cut surfaces with petroleum jelly. That is; the eyes, mouth, lid, and inside. This will keep it from rotting. If the pumpkin shrivels you can “revive” it by submerging it in a bucket of water. You can also store it in the refrigerator.
- Then place the candle inside. If the candle does not stay lit, it is because it is not getting much air. For this you will have to widen the holes, or simply cut a “V” in the lid where it is not visible.
- Once lit, the candle is ready to scare your neighbors with your Jack O’Lanterns.
Origin of the tradition of carving a pumpkin.
Contrary to popular belief, this tradition did not originate in the United States. It wasn’t until Irish immigrants brought the custom of carving a pumpkin and placing lanterns inside it in the mid-19th century. For Ireland, pumpkins have a different meaning. This is a fruit of good fortune that was used in the time of witches and witchcraft.
On the other hand, different historians explain that this tradition arises because they wanted to illuminate the way to their homes for good spirits. So they cut faces in vegetables such as turnips and pumpkins.
Since these were the largest and easiest to obtain for the time.
These carved vegetables were eventually called Jack O’Lanterns by the Irish. They told a legend about a farmer named Jack who made a deal with the devil that left him wandering the earth forever. When immigrants came to America and found an abundance of pumpkins, they soon adopted the pumpkin as the best fruit for carving the face of Jack O’Lanterns.
Today, this is a ritual that has been a part of American culture for more than two centuries. Year after year, on the eve of Halloween, families gather to pick the best pumpkin. And then – together – make different faces in it. However, the religious importance to the country has caused this tradition to change more and more. Americans have opted to start carving faces that are a little more friendly.
This in order to be faithful to this holiday, but giving it a more religious meaning. Although some family members are not in favor of this holiday, the truth is that the origin of carving a pumpkin has surpassed the barrier of time. And it has even become one of the best family activities for the month of October.
Meet the legend of Jack O’Lanterns, the pumpkin man.
People have been making jack o’lanterns out of pumpkins on Halloween for centuries. As we explained earlier, this practice originated in an Irish myth about a man nicknamed “Stingy Jack.”
According to the story, Stingy Jack invited the Devil to have a drink with him. True to his name (Stingy Jack), Stingy Jack didn’t want to pay for his drink, so he convinced the Devil to become a coin that Jack could use to pay his tab….
Once the Devil did, Jack decided to keep the money and put it in his pocket next to a silver cross. Which prevented the Devil from returning to his original form. Jack finally released the Devil, under the condition that he would not bother Jack for a year and that, if he (Jack) should die, he would not claim his soul. However, this money-hungry farmer decided to continue this game the following year….
So, the following year Jack invited the Devil again. And this time he tricked him into climbing a tree and picking a fruit. While in the tree, Jack carved a sign of the cross into the bark of the tree so that the Devil could not come down until he promised not to bother him for ten more years.
Once again this tradition is carried out. Now that you know the significance of this practice you can carve a pumpkin no problem – if you wish. This is a fun and easy activity to do as a family. And somehow or other it has become an implicit competition among neighbors to see who has the most creativity and creates the most terrifying scary face of the season.