Fall is almost here, temperatures are falling, just like the leaves and … everything will be pumpkin seasoned, some hate it some love it, but you know the best part about fall? Pumpkins. And what is a holiday that we relate highly to pumpkins? Halloween, and the reason is obvious: Jack o’lanterns. Jack o’lanterns are carved root vegetables, usually pumpkins. It got its name from the phenomena of a weird light dancing over a deposit of dead plant material, called peat bogs, this phenomenon goes by the name of Will o’the Wisp or Jack o’Lantern. Although the Jack o’Lantern name is also associated to an Irish legend about a drunkard who negotiates with Satan and is condemned to roam the planet with a void and opened turnip to light his way. Jack o’Lanterns have become an annual Halloween folklore started in Ireland. 

Jack o’Lantern

How to make a Jack o’Lantern

So, now that we know the background to this spooky Halloween tradition, it would be a good move to learn how to start or continue the tradition in our household. A Jack o’Lantern is basically a pumpkin or a turnip where you cut the top in the form of a lid, then scoop out all the flesh and then carve out the rind with an image -most of the time a spooky one- to expose the empty interior. Then you insert a light source in the hollow vegetable, such as a candle or lamp and then close the lid. Yes, you can find artificial jack o’ lanterns in any store, with electric lights, but where would all the fun, pumpkin smell and pumpkin flavored everything go if you didn’t make your own Jack? First you need to pick a long-lasting pumpkin, you want it to last long! And get ready for everything to get messy. The right tools to cut and carve your pumpkin you can find them at a supermarket, or you can also use the knives on your kitchen, just make sure they are well ground and with a sharp edge -if you’re doing this with children, make sure to keep sharp objects away from their reach-. On the rind of your pumpkin you will need to draw with a permanent marker or a thick pen the design or designs you wish to portray. Then start carving, use the left-over pumpkin to make a good soup or bread, and then you can plant the seeds on your yard, or roast them and have them as snacks, nothing is lost!

Most popular designs for Jack o’Lanterns
Most popular designs for Jack o’Lanterns

Most popular designs for Jack o’Lanterns

So, let’s get you started with some great ideas for your next Halloween project. Some of the most popular Jack designs include flying bats, spiders, ravens, goblins, monsters, cauldrons, faces and witches. However, you can find several stencils online, but just like any hand-craft and creation, let your creativity fly free and create memorable Jacks along with your family, get several pumpkins and have a themed decoration on your home, to surprise guest or trick or treaters.