Local Llano - Experience Your Food Shed

Jack-o-Lanterns 101

Posted by Local Llano on October 6, 2017

Pumpkin carving may seem simple but we’re here to tell you that in the game of yearly Jack-o-Lantern carving, it’s serious business. There’s a lot to pumpkin carving that you might not realize! Thinking deeper about something that seems so simple can expand consciousness for locality, conservation, and family-fun.

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History of Jack-o-Lanterns

As soon as October hits the streets, we see pumpkins everywhere. Pumpkins to eat, pumpkins to decorate, and—of course—pumpkins to carve! We all love the tradition but when did it start? Where did it come from?

 

Most accounts of the history of the jack-o-lantern tell us that they were placed in the windows of homes to ward off evil spirits on the night when the veil between our world and the spirit world is the thinnest. (source) . The legend that started it all says that a questionable guy named Stingy Jack made a deal with the devil and ended up with nowhere for his spirit to go when he died, needing a lantern to light his aimless path. Read the full story here

 

Creating your perfect jack-o-lantern requires just a little bit of preparation.

What You Need for Your Jack-O-Lanterns

 

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       Your Perfect Pumpkin

Here are some local pumpkin options:

Tools

You need some sharp cutting knives like the ones you can find here! You can also pick up a quick plastic carving kit at your local grocery store - safe for kids!

Spray

We found this pumpkin preserving spray that will let your jack-o-lantern shine for up to seven days more!

Spooky Tunes

What’s carving a pumpkin without the best Halloween jams?

How-to Carve Your Jack-o-Lantern

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            Carving instructions

Be sure to supervise while children are cutting into their pumpkin. 

1) Gut your pumpkin

       Cut a circle in the top or bottom of your pumpkin big enough to fit your hand inside the pumpkin.

       Scoop or grab the pulp and seeds out of the pumpkin.

       (save the seeds and refer to last week's blog)

2) Pick Your Pattern

       You can either free hand, draw on your pumpkin, or pick a template to tape to your pumpkin to guide your carving experience!

3) CARVE

      Carefully use your pumpkin carving tools to carve shapes out of your pumpkin.

      Take breaks as needed (our arms tend to get sore from the serious carving).

 

            We made some special carving patterns to get you started!

Getting inspiration is sometimes the hardest part. We made some simple carving patterns to spark your artistic eye! To claim yours, cick the image below!

Pumpkin Carving Patterns

 

Making your jack a lantern

You can either cut out the top or the bottom when you're gutting the pumpkin as to stick a candle right in the middle. If you cut out the bottom, you can keep the stem on the pumpkin to keep it's natural flare.

 

Disposing of Your Pumpkin

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 You could simply toss your sadly rotted pumpkins into the dumpster but where’s the Hallows Eve spirit in that?

Giving your Jack-o-Lanterns a proper burial will give your kids one more family activity to love about the season as well as teaching them about giving the nutrients back to the earth.

 If burying them is a little too dark, you can add them to your compost! If you don’t already have one, start your very first compost with your family’s Jack-o-Lanterns!