You may wonder why a pumpkin with a grim carved face is the most famous symbol of Halloween night. It was not always like this... In the celebration of Celtic origin, turnips were used to prepare small lanterns to illuminate and honor the dead.
Yes, yes, you read that right: turnips instead of pumpkins! What happened then? Well, when the Irish arrived in America they did not have their own turnip crops, so they had to use pumpkins, a product that in addition to being abundant, was super easy to prepare to be a lantern –or streetlight–. And about this lantern, there is also a very interesting and a bit dark legend.
The protagonist of this story was called Jack and, according to Celtic tradition, this Jack was so clever that he was able to deceive the devil himself twice. Although he was not worth much to him, since the man in question died shortly after having deceived the devil and to his misfortune, he was not accepted in heaven.
So, since the devil had promised never to take his soul away, he sent Jack back the same way he came. Since the road to hell was very dark and the devil provided him with a lump of burning coal, Jack decided to place it on a turnip that he had emptied so that it would not go out.
Legend has it that since then Jack has wandered all over the world looking for a place for his soul, always in the company of his lantern. In the United States, 'Jack's lanterns' are made with pumpkins and that's where the mythical symbol comes from on Halloween night.
Other curiosities of Halloween night
The meaning of Halloween can change depending on the culture, but in all the same essence is maintained. The Celts, for example, believed that the dead could return each year during that night and, if they were not given what they wanted, they could do all kinds of evil. Hence, the famous "trick or treat" with which children go from door to door asking for sweets, in exchange for not doing mischief.
Most of all Halloween traditions are still kept today. For example, the Celts also believed that disguising was the best option to deceive the dead. Nowadays, who does not dress up, put on a terrifying mask, or make up their face? Of course, maybe now it's just to have fun and celebrate a party with friends.
Another of the Halloween traditions is pumpkin carving, and it is something that can be enjoyed as a family as the different parts of the project give everyone something to do. You can create intricate designs and decorations for more creative fun and quality time with friends and family, but it's an activity that must be done carefully and with the right tools, especially if children are involved in the process.
Safety Tips for Carving Pumpkins
This Halloween, don't let carving a pumpkin lantern become a scary thing. The combination of slippery pumpkins and sharp knives can be dangerous. Follow these tips to help keep everyone safe this year.
The first thing to keep in mind is to get a Safe pumpkin carving if you are working on this project with children. Here is a list of funny things to do with your kids while you are working in the Halloween pumpkin.
- Have them draw the designs for their pumpkins.
- Let them decorate their pumpkins with markers, paint, or non-carving kits.
- Let them scoop the seeds and pulp out of the inside of the pumpkins.
- If you decide to let your teens decorate pumpkins, monitor them closely in case something goes wrong.
- Work slowly and steadily, don't rush into the project.
- Work with the carving tool by cutting outward, away from you.
Before you start carving, prepare the space and tools that you will use to carve the pumpkin
- Follow the correct technique and avoid injuries to fingers and hands.
- Use a pumpkin carving kit
- Use small, controlled movements when carving.
- Keep your free hand away to avoid accidents.
- Make sure the surface you will be carving on is stable, dry, and well-lit.
- Wash and dry all your tools before carving.
- Keep your hands clean and dry to avoid slipping.
What tools should be used to carve pumpkins?
Large kitchen knives are not the ideal tool for this task, so a pumpkin carving kit is a safer option. The tools in these kits are smaller and designed to easily pierce the pumpkins, but they are not as sharp as typical kitchen knives.
How to carve your homemade Halloween pumpkin in 4 steps
Once you have chosen the pumpkins and obtained your pumpkin carving kit you can start doing this activity with your friends and family.
Mark the circle around the stem, which will be where you empty the pumpkin. You can also make jagged edges, to make your pumpkin more terrifying. Place the cut-out template over the pumpkin and draw the eyes, nose, and mouth with the permanent marker. Or draw them freehand.
Cut off the top of the pumpkin with the pumpkin carving kit, following the circle you have drawn. Completely empty the inside of the pumpkin. Cut out the eyes, nose, and mouth, following the marks. Put a light inside: a candle or, better still (safer), a battery-operated light (some imitate candles).
We suggest that you place a light that changes colors. The effect at night will be unsurpassed! Put the top cap back on.
We recommend you visit our store where you will find a versatile pumpkin carving kit that can be widely used to carve Halloween pumpkins, suitable for adults and children. Ideal as a gift for your friends who like manual DIY on Halloween and other festivals. You can find the perfect gift at KINREX!