Halloween pumpkins are fast becoming the essential ingredient of any Halloween celebration. However, the pumpkin is a relatively new addition to the ‘Jack-o-lantern’ tradition.
The history of carving Jack-O-Lantern’s at Halloween
The term ‘jack-o’-lantern’ is of British origin and is believed to date from the 17th century, when it is understood to have meant ‘man with a lantern’.
Over the years jack-o’-lantern became the popular term for a homemade object also known as a ‘turnip lantern’. It was recorded by Thomas Darlington in his 1887 volume The Folk-Speech of South Cheshire as “a lantern made by scooping out the inside of a turnip, carving the shell into a rude representation of the human face, and placing a lighted candle inside it.”
As well as providing useful light to those carrying it on dark autumn evenings, the lanterns were soon associated with Hallowmas (All Saints Day, Nov. 1) and All Souls Day (Nov. 2) and were left on doorsteps to represent the souls of the dead or as some believed, to help guide the way for the souls of the dead as they passed from this world to the next.
It’s true then, pumpkins aren’t necessarily the original carving material of choice for Halloween, but because of their texture, they’re arguably easier to carve than the trusty old turnip (you can see a post on carving turnips here: How to carve a turnip).
So because jack-o-lanterns are such an important part of Halloween, we have decided to build a new part of the site that talks all about carving, pumpkins, and other related things.
Just use the links below to find out more.
Halloween pumpkins stencils
Halloween pumpkin recipes
If you have any information that you think should be added here, please send us any suggestions related to Halloween Pumpkins.