Jack O’ Lanterns: Who Knows Their Stuff?

With Halloween weekend upon us, it’s thegourd’s time to shine. Literally! 

Pumpkin carving is a halloween tradition that dates back to the old Irish myth of Stingy Jack. The legend says that Jack tricked the devil, not once but twice, trapping him as a coin and up a tree. In return for his freedom, the devil promised not to claim Jack’s soul upon his death. When Jack died, however, he couldn’t make it into heaven either. Instead he was cursed to forever wander the Earth, carrying a single lit coal placed inside a turnip to light his way. He became known as Jack of the Lantern, or Jack O’ Lantern. In Ireland, placing lights inside of carved turnips or potatoes outside your home became a sign of warding off evil spirits. The tradition was adopted in England using beets, and later came to America when European immigrants discovered the perfect North American vessel for the age-old tradition: the pumpkin. 

 Nowadays Jack O’ Lanterns are one of the most popular decorations of the Halloween season. Pumpkins with carved faces, lit from within, adorn most porches and walkways. So the question remains, with the prevalence of carved pumpkins, how do you make your own stand out? For those of you who like to go the extra mile when it comes to your pumpkins, here are some suggestions. 

The first one is to scrape that top layer of orange skin off your pumpkin. This allows for more light to come through in certain areas and gives it a unique texture. Next up is using smaller shapes. Small shapes make for interesting details and offer a wider range of options for an overall picture. Lastly, I have seen many pumpkins using different parts of the pumpkins, like the cut out top or the guts scooped from the inside, in unique ways, all of which are a surefire way to spruce up any carving! Remember, don’t be afraid to try new things and take the pumpkin a little misshapen! You can also make your pumpkin last longer by putting in in the freezer after carving. 

Whether you are warding your house from evil spirits or just trying to have some fun, Jack O’ Lanterns are an iconic symbol of Halloween and deserve more recognition!


Editor Emeritus at The City Voice | MIPA Honorable Mention Award Winner

I am a Senior at City and I normally write the weekly book reviews! If I'm not reading, you can usually find me at the barn riding and taking care of the horses.

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