Looking for Regional Information?

How to Carve Pumpkins

By Charles Hopkins Published 08/8/2006 | Kids & Teens

What is Halloween without pumpkins? Pumpkin pies, pumpkin candy, pumpkin ice cream are all indelible, traditional treat that are commonplace during the Halloween season. Mainly because no one will eat a raw pumpkin by itself. But, then again, no one has to because there is a pumpkin cheesecake on the market that just tastes great. (Is there any other type of food out there where a ton of processed foods are engineered to taste like something no one actually eats in its natural state?

Anyway. The other popular image that exists around Halloween time is that of the Jack OLantern. Or, in more simple terms,

The origins of the Jack OLantern date back to Irish history and the legend of Stingy Jack, a mean person who neither heaven nor hell would take when he died. So, he was forced to wander the earth, using a lantern as his guide in the darkness. It was a lantern made out of a hollowed out Turnip. Yes, a turnip. There arent any pumpkins in Ireland.

But, when the Irish immigrants made their way to the United States, they discovered the pumpkin and found it was much easier to carve and place a lit candle inside. So, the Jack OLantern pumpkin was born. So, how does one go about carving a pumpkin for Halloween?

So how does one go about making a carved pumpkin? Well, has one ever seen the famous cartoon Its The Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown? The end of this cartoon (that is sometimes cut on TV airings) features Lucy carving a pumpkin while Linus watches. She stabs the pumpkin (the sound effect is that accompanies the stabbing is rather obnoxious), She carves out eyes and a mouth and then cuts a huge hole in the top of the pumpkins head and reaches in with her hands and pulls out the innards of the pumpkin and throws them on the table. Linus, his facial expression aghast in horror screams, You didnt tell me you were going to kill it! The reason why TV censors occasionally edit this particular scene out is fairly obvious.

But, that dramatization that aired on a classic cartoon is a fairly accurate description of how to carve a pumpkin into a Jack OLantern. However, it should be noted that there always needs to be special attention to safety when carving out a pumpkin. One should not stab as Lucy did but careful cut and care the pumpkin. If one is being reckless in the cutting process, it is only a matter of time before one gets hurt.

Now, it also should be noted not to purchase a pumpkin that is overly ripe. If the pumpkin is too ripe, then it runs the risk of totally falling apart when an attempt is made to carve it. Plus, even if it ends up looking half way decent after it is carved, there is always the possibility that it will spoil in a short amount of time and end up reduced to a huge pile of mush. A Jack OMush is not all that fun to look at.