Whenever Halloween comes around, there’s always that question of how you’re going to decorate your homes to show your Halloween spirit – pun intended. One of the most popular things you use to decorate your homes with is the pumpkin. I do miss the feeling of shopping for the right pumpkin with my parents before Halloween and carving them up together. It makes for a really nice family bonding experience. But where does this tradition come from? Today, I’ll give you a crash course on the origins of pumpkin carving and I’ll also give you a quick walkthrough on how to make jack-o’-lanterns using unique and easy pumpkin carving stencils.
Legend says that the history of using jack-o’-lanterns for Halloween dates back to the 19th century in Ireland. Back then, they actually used turnips instead of pumpkins. They were used as actual lanterns and not just for decorative purposes. Often, they would carve out scary faces because of the origin of Halloween. This Celtic tradition is all about appeasing the spirits of those who have passed, and the lanterns represented those spirits. However, in some accounts, lanterns were used to frighten people and evil spirits away, that’s why they were placed on windowsills. In Christianity, these lanterns represented the souls of the departed. These notions eventually became watered down. Soon enough, someone came up with the idea of holding a contest for the best carved out jack-o’-lantern.
In the early 1800s, Washington Irving’s ‘The Legend of Sleepy Hollow’ became popular, and many have tried to picture the Headless Horseman as someone who used a pumpkin as a replacement for his head. This is how the beginning of pumpkin carving came to North America. Of course, this story, like many other legends, has been passed on from listener to listener, which caused it to change one way or another. The name often changes but it has already evolved to the carved out pumpkin we’ve come to love.
Some people believed that one particular story was the inspiration for the jack-o’-lantern, the Irish folklore of Stingy Jack. In this story, Jack was a blacksmith who succeeded in tricking the Devil himself in various ways just so his soul would not be taken to hell. Eventually, Jack died but his soul had nowhere to go. He didn’t live a noble life, quite the opposite, in fact. Because of this, he wasn’t granted access to heaven. Since he was able to trick the Devil, he wasn’t allowed in hell either. In the end, his soul wandered in limbo, but the Devil pitied him, and gave him a tiny piece of hellfire to signify that he was of the netherworld. However, his soul still roamed this world, carrying that hellfire that he placed inside a carved out turnip. Sounds convincing enough, right? Again, this story has a lot of versions, but it is one of the most widely referenced tales when talking about the origin of the jack-o’-lantern.
Regardless of the origins of pumpkin carving, people have generously embraced this tradition and made it a staple element in their Halloween celebrations. It’s a fun activity, and it’s really easy, too. Here’s a breakdown of what you’re gonna need:
Now that you know the basics of pumpkin carving, here are some tools to help get you started. You can now match your Jack Skellington costume with Jack Skellington pumpkins! I’ve got some great pumpkin carving tools and some easy pumpkin carving stencils for your convenience.
This set includes a pumpkin scooper, a poker tool, some etching tools and 10 simple and easy pumpkin carving stencils. These are great for when you want to carve pumpkins with your kids.
This is a three-piece set that are guaranteed to be durable. I really like the fact that the carving spoon is large enough and all of the tools are sturdy enough that you won’t need to buy another set of pumpkin carving tools each year. To add, it has 15 patterns that you and your friends can enjoy carving out.
Pumpkin Masters created this amazing kit that has 2 saws, a scraper scoop, a pounce wheel, and a drill. It even has 12 patterns. These tools make it easy for kids to use, but they might be a tad too small for adults. The patterns included in the package are also quite fun to make.
This book of pumpkin carving patterns is going to be a great addition to your Halloween tools. Impress your neighbors with your ingenious carving skills this year.
By far, one of the best there is ever, the 360 pumpkin carving kit offers all the tools you need that you won’t ask for more. It’s got a scraper, scooper, pinhole poker, carving saws – one with a bigger blade than the other, four extra blades, an instruction manual, and a portable storage case. It also has a lifetime warranty on the tools, so you don’t have to worry about wearing them out.