DIY Jack O’ Lantern Tutorial – It is difficult to pinpoint exactly when the first Halloween pumpkins appeared in front of Americans’ doorsteps at the end of every October, but let us safely assume that it was around mid 1800s when immigrants from Scotland and Ireland arrived.
A quick fact: at some points in history, Halloween was not even associated with pumpkin. Colonial Americans did not celebrate Halloween. They did not have jack o’ lantern, candies, costumes, and pumpkins as we know today. The holiday originated from Irish festival called Samhain which marked the transition from summer harvest to cold winter. During the festival, it was believed that dark spirits lurked around the fields so people carved simple faces into large turnips and set candles inside to keep evil away.
As more and more Irish immigrants settled in the country, they started the same tradition and it still lives on until today. Instead of using turnips, however, they found that pumpkins would do the job equally well to prevent haunting spirits from knocking the doors. Jack O’ Lantern started its way to fame as a DIY Halloween decoration. It can only be true if you celebrate the holiday the way it has always been intended since centuries ago: the traditional way. Here is how to carve a pumpkin for the upcoming Halloween.
Materials and Tools
- a pumpkin or two
- carbon paper
- serrated knife
- light-duty hammer
- a lot of Halloween patterns (bats, pointy hats, stars, crescent moon, and so on)
- carving kit
- Place the patterns onto the pumpkin and trace around the outer lines using a pencil. You can also use carbon paper to get things done more quickly. Remember that you want to carve a face on every pumpkin, so make sure you position each shape in roughly proportionate orientation. Jack O’ Lantern does not have ears; don’t bother trying. Once the outlines are done on one pumpkin, repeat the same process on another pumpkin with either the same or different shapes.
- Remove everything inside the outline using the tools available in a carving kit. If you don’t have a carving kit around, a serrated steak knife will do. The easiest way to do the carving is to use Halloween-shaped cookie cutter made of thin metal; it may sound like a cheat because it actually is. With the cookie cutter, you can forget about pencil and carbon paper. Simply place the cutter on the pumpkin and hammer it down lightly. Pull it one by one using your pliers.
- Whether you use a serrated knife or cookie cutter, you still need to clean your works. Before you do this, it best to cut off the top of the pumpkin and remove the pumpkin innards beforehand.
- Carefully remove hard edges from the shapes and throw away the pieces.
The last thing to do is placing one or two candles inside every pumpkin. Make sure the candles sit flush without wobbling around. If needs be, scrape the pumpkin’s floor to accommodate the bottom of the candle.