It's the season for eating the candy you bought for trick-or-treaters before the 31st, searching the internet for an easy and unique Halloween costume and carving pumpkins! The tradition of carving pumpkins for Halloween has its origins in "Ireland, where large turnips and potatoes served as early canvasses. In fact, the name, jack-o'-lantern, comes from an Irish folktale about a man named Stingy Jack. Irish immigrants brought the tradition to America, home of the pumpkin, and it became an integral part of Halloween festivities" (The History Place). Stingy Jack was denied entry to both Heaven and Hell, so was left to roam the earth with a burning coal in a carved out turnip for light. Putting your own 'Jack-o'-lantern' outside of the home on Halloween keeps him from creeping inside.
Whether you are warding off Stingy Jack or just want nice porch decorations, here is your guide to pumpkin carving:
- Place newspaper down on your table to protect it from being stained/cut.
- Cut a hand-sized hole into the top of the pumpkin, revealing the innards.
- Scoop and scape out all the pumpkin 'guts' into a bowl, then set aside. The 'guts' will start to smell if you leave them in, so make sure you have thoroughly cleared the inside of the pumpkin.
- Trace out the design you want to carve into the pumpkin with a sharpie first, then use a sharp blade to carve the pumpkin. Be careful not to cut yourself! Parent supervision is advised.
- Add paint for a pop of color if you want, and place a tealight inside the pumpkin. When lit, the candle will make the pumpkin glow from the inside out.
- Separate the pumpkin seeds from the 'guts,' season and roast in the oven for a tasty snack.
Place the Pumpkin on your front porch; or don't, if you want to meet Stingy Jack.
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