A Geek Meets Fall and History Of The Jack-O-Lantern
I was looking for this post earlier and couldn't find it. I finally found it on my old NighLon blog, so I decided to repost it here. I hope you enjoy! Are you already dreaming of Halloween, although it's only March?
I grew up painting pumpkins, because my mom is a hippie! [I ♥ you mom]
My design will come later… Its a surprise,
but first, a little history of the Jack-O-Lantern!
Even though the Jack O’Lantern was brought to America with the Irish, The legend actually did not begin with a pumpkin. Here’s the legend: Stingy Jack was quite the miserable, old drunk who enjoyed playing trick on everyone; even the Devil, himself! Once, Jack decided to trick the Devil. He convinced him to climbing an apple tree. Once the Devil climbed up, Stingy Jack placed crosses around the truck of the tree, so that he could not get down. Stingy Jack made the Devil swear to not take his soul when he died. After this exchange was made, Stingy Jack moved the crosses so the devil could descend.
Many years went by, and Stingy Jack finally died. He went to the Pearly Gates, but was disappointed to learn that he could not get in. Saint Peter told him that because he lead such a miserable and worthless life, he was not allowed into Heaven. He traveled to hell but was once again disappointed. Devil kept his promise, and would not let him in. He would be forced to wander forever in the darkness between Heaven and Hell. Jack became scared. He asked the Devil how he was supposed to leave when there was not light. The Devil gave Stingy Jack a ember from the fiery pits of hell to light his way. Because turnips were one of Stingy Jack’s favorite food, he hollowed out a turnip and placed the ember within. From that day on, Stingy Jack roamed the Earth lighting his way with his “Jack O’Lantern.”
The Irish would hollow out Turnips, Rutabagas, Gourds, Potatoes, and Beets. The placed a light inside to ward off evil spirits on All Hallow’s Eve. This also kept Stingy Jack Away. These were the original Jack O’Lanterns. When large waves of Irish came to America in the 1800s, the immigrants soon discovered Pumpkins. The immigrants began using Pumpkins because they are bigger and easier to carve out!
For easy clean up, place protective covering on the area you will be working.
Cut a lid large enough to reach your hand in so that you can clean out all the pumpkin brains. Angle the knife toward the center so that you have created a ledge for the lid to rest on.
Using a scoop clean out all the seeds and stringy pumpkin brain. On the side where you will be carving, scrape the pumpkin until it is about an inch thick.
Print the pattern, and tape it to the pumpkin.
Using a pin or a poking tool, poke holes along the design lines. Once you make sure the whole design has been transferred, remove the pattern. (hold on to it for reference.)
Using a saw, gently, cut out the pattern (the black areas). Work from the center of the design out, and from the smallest to largest holes.
If the stencil you decide to use has grey areas: use a chisel, or other carving tool, to “shave” the peel of the pumpkin. Shave off 1/2 inch of the pumpkin’s skin. This will allow the light to shine through.