As Halloween is fast approaching I thought I’d do a little post about the art of Halloween pumpkin carving!
Halloween pumpkin carving has it’s earliest reference in 1866 in the USA, though is thought to originate from Ireland, where a Jack-O’-lantern was carved from a turnip.
The story of the Jack-O’-lantern has many variants but tells the take of Stingy Jack, a farmer who used a cross to trap the Devil. Jack lets the Devil go but makes him promise to never take his soul. Jack died some years later, but had lived a sinful life and was therefore not permitted to enter heaven. The Devil had promised not to take his soul so he was also banned from entering hell. He had nowhere to go. The Devil tossed him an ember from the flames of hell that would never burn out and Jack, having carved out the inside of a turnip, placed the ember inside and used this as a lantern. He began endlessly wandering the earth looking for a resting place. He became known of Jack of the Lantern or Jack-O’-lantern. Carved pumpkins later became a way of protecting your home against the Undead
Last year was the first time I ever carved a pumpkin for Halloween! How have I missed out on such a fun thing to do?? We bought giant pumpkins and set to carefully cutting the top off, and scraping out the inside so the walls weren’t too think and gave a gentle glow. Then on to the decision of what on earth to carve! Do I go for the standard face, or try something a little more challenging…? Me being an artists and up for a challenge decided to trawl Google Images to get ideas of what to attempt to carve. There are certainly some talented people out there!
I decided to do three small carvings around the pumpkin, the result of which you can see above. Not bad for a first attempt! I drew the designs onto the skin in pencil then used a small craft knife to carefully carve the images. It was certainly challenging using these new tools to create art and to be so careful not to cut too far and ruin the picture! Placing a lit tealight inside the pumpkin creates a lovely warm glow.
The question is…what to do this year?! Have you carved pumpkins? How did you get on? What did you carve???