In the United States, Halloween is the biggest deal in fall season. Everything about the fall season is great; pumpkins go hand in hand with the fall holidays of Halloween and Thanksgiving but nothing like the Halloween and Thanksgiving holiday itself and to the Halloween décor and Thanksgiving decor. An orange fruit harvested in October as much as we love eating it, we also love using it as Halloween décor. Nothing can beat that glowing orange orb that is used to make soups, desserts and breads, and decor.
Why Do We Carve Pumpkins (Jack-O’-Lanterns) on Halloween?
Traditions have always played a big part in what defines any holiday. Carving pumpkins into jack-o’-lanterns or into scary faces then lighting them is a popular Halloween tradition that just must have interesting roots. This odd kind of custom originated hundreds of years ago in Ireland.
In Ireland, folks there have a legend of a clever drunken farmer that pulls one over on the devil. This foul-mouthed drunk and disreputable miser named Stingy Jack who played tricks on everyone and even had a deal with the devil which led to him being turned back at both the gates of heaven and hell upon his death. Stingy Jack was forced to roam the darkness of purgatory as a ghost. Jack made an o’-lantern from a turnip and lump of burning coal to guide his lost soul as he walked the Earth forever.
It was a method as we know used by the ancient Celts to ward off evil spirits during an ancient Celtic holiday known as Samhain (a festival celebrated at the end of summer where many of the traditions of Halloween come from). The Celts would hollow out turnips scooping out the inside then carving the shell into faces in them and place lighted candles inside. The turnips were then either placed in the windows or near doors to frighten away Stingy Jack and to keep other wandering evil spirits from entering a home, or carried around as lanterns.
Back then, Every Halloween, communities in Ireland and Scotland, would craft their own versions of jack-o’-lanterns which were made out of turnips or potatoes -Pumpkins did not exist in Ireland- to scare him and other wayward spirits away.
The tradition became pumpkin-ivied and a new Halloween ritual was born when Irish arrived in America and found the orange veggie (pumpkin) sprouting in abundance in North America.
Pumpkin carving tips – How to carve a the perfect pumpkin for Halloween in 7 easy steps;
It is impossible to imagine a fun Halloween without cool pumpkins whether it’s simply carved or highly decorated one. A decorative pumpkin is one the main symbols of Halloween night. Pumpkin carving is the most beloved Halloween traditions and one of the most popular ways to change you pumpkin in a great holiday decoration. Carving your own Halloween pumpkin is an easy and is a fun family activity that leads to the creation of an iconic piece of Halloween decor. Here are Pumpkin carving tips – How to carve a the perfect pumpkin for Halloween in 7 easy steps;
1. Good carving starts with the right pumpkin;
Choose one that is fresh plump round shape with a rich, orange color, with a sturdy stem as this will later serve as an important design feature and no bruises-blemish-free- and that has a flat bottom so it won’t roll. But in case if you have an idea what type of faces you may be interested in carving, you may take the shape of the pumpkin into consideration; tall, triangular, flat, cone shape….
2. Cut out the Top (or Bottom);
When cutting out the top or the bottom of your pumpkin make sure you cut a simple shape… a square and it should be big enough so that you will be able to easily scoop out the guts (the seeds and membrane) of the pumpkin. Angle your carving tool or knife when cutting out the lid cut on an angle, not straight up and down so that the outside edge is a bit larger than the inside. This ensures that the lid will not fall through once it is cut out and your lid won’t drop inside! A boning knife works best for this.
3. Scooping out the pumpkin:
Use an ice cream scoop will do just fine instead buying a special “claw”. Starting at the top, scrape the seeds and membrane on the sides of the pumpkin, so the inner wall of the “face” area to 1 1/4-inch thick and the interior of the pumpkin is smooth and clean and the bottom (inside) of the pumpkin flat.
4. Designing Your Masterpiece;
If you’re going for high art, don’t start carving free-style – use a marker pen to print or draw your design onto the pumpkin first. If you want your lantern to look really professional, draw a paper template, and then tape it onto the pumpkin. Then use a sharp pointed tool to trace the design through the paper and onto the pumpkin to poke holes around the design so the paper can be removed or sketch your design directly onto the pumpkin with a dry-erase or water-based marker. Use a knife with a thin, long blade to cut out your design, starting at the center and working outwards. Take your time and be careful as you carve.
6. Keep your pumpkin last longer and fresh;
A pumpkin can last for about a week once it is carved. Spread petroleum jelly on the cut edges prolong its life a few extra days by sealing in its moisture, this works as a barrier and delays rotting.
*N.P. Petroleum jelly is flammable so wait till the petroleum jelly sets or coat the pumpkin before you place the candle inside.
7. To keep your Jack indoors;
Sprinkle a little cinnamon nutmeg and cloves inside the lid. When you light the candle, your jack-o’-lantern will smell like an autumn air freshener.
Get ideas, and then get carving. Before you start creating your homemade Pumpkin Carving Ideas, print your favorite design style to make the perfect pumpkin carving stencil pattern for you! Years of carving taught me to create memorable designs is when you start with a pumpkin stencil it makes it easier and faster. So we found the best pumpkin patterns and Pumpkin Carving Ideas are those who had used a stencil. This turned them into easy carving templates even those eerie faces with clever emoticons turned easier to carve. We love that pumpkin carving can be super spooky and wonderful, as with ghost motifs, monsters and fangs, or a bit more cheerful with goofy faces and giant smiles.
6 Ways to Make Your Halloween Pumpkin Last Longer;
What after transform that porch pumpkin into a work of art? How long will jack o lantern last? How to Keep Your Pumpkin Fresh? Normally the pumpkin can last 8 to 12 weeks, but jack-o-lanterns only last five to 10 days.
Pumpkins are the icons of Halloween decorating. However, the choice between carving pumpkins and cooking pumpkins isn’t always that easy unless you know what you’re looking for.
Choosing pumpkins for Halloween is no easy task, especially when choosing a carving pumpkin. To make it easier, it always helps to have a general idea about their purpose. Generally you’re looking for a nice shape that will last several days, once carved. Consider what type of design you are going to make with your pumpkins; this should accommodate the pumpkin’s size and shape. For instance, if you have an idea what type of faces you may be interested in carving your design may require a tall and narrow pumpkin as opposed to a smaller round one. Take the shape of the pumpkin into consideration as small and medium-sized pumpkins work well for the more traditional jack-o’-lantern faces.
3 Tips for selecting the perfect Pumpkin;
While there’s no such thing as the “perfect” pumpkin, but a healthy pumpkin ensures the longevity of your Jack-o’-lantern.Here are some pumpkins several picking tips to help you to get your Jack-o’-lantern off to a great start and with less stress:
1. Pumpkins should not have any visible bruising or other irregular spots. If the pumpkin has any bruise or soft spots or cracks pumpkins this can shorten the amount of time you’ll have to show it off, so keep this in mind when choosing so don’t buy it.
2. Try to choosing Halloween pumpkins that are smooth and uniform; the outer flesh of the pumpkin for any flaws may interfere with your design.
3. Make sure the stem is intact and don’t Pick it up pumpkins by the stems this increases the chances of having the stems break off noticing that later it will be served as an important design featured.
Understand What Makes a Pumpkin Rot;
To make your carving pumpkin last a longer time you should first understand the factors that lead to pumpkin rot. Pumpkin is a living structure once its skin is broken, plant organisms like fungi, bacteria, molds and insects are able to enter and begin breaking it down. Its skin which we do carving on provides the pumpkin with a protective layer from any harmful elements. Both Oxidation and dehydration are very good media for the rotting process, which means from the moment you make the first cut and start carving, the clock starts ticking.
Many natural methods for sterilizing and preserving pumpkins for a longer time have been observed here we mention the most common ones;
6 Natural Ways to Extend the Life of Your Pumpkin;
1. Clean it Well; when prepping your pumpkin for carving, be sure to scrape and discard the “pumpkin guts” as much as possible… The cleaner and drier the pumpkin interior, the slower the rotting process.
2. Peppermint dish soap; dilute one tablespoon of peppermint dish in a quart of water. Lightly spray the inside of your cleaned-out pumpkin as Peppermint is a natural antifungal agent and will extend the life of your pumpkin by slowing the decomposition process.
3. Consider refrigerating overnight; Depending on your local weather conditions during the month of October, a warm climate may shorten the lifespan of the carved pumpkin. Put your carved pumpkins in the fridge overnight. Spray your pumpkins with the Peppermint dish soap and wrap in a trash bag prior to placing in the fridge. This process will slow down the dehydration process of your pumpkins each night.
4- SOAK IT IN BLEACH. Another way to rehydrate your pumpkins is to fill a sink, a large bucket, bin or tub with enough cold water and bleach. Leave your pumpkin soaking for 20-30 minutes before removing. Then Wipe dry and carve. A bleach-treated jack-o’-lantern lasted for up to ten days with only minimal decay. For extra care use the water/bleach mixture to spray the open surfaces, including the inside. The bleach kills any bacteria hanging out on your pumpkin and prevents it from rotting.
5. Soak pumpkins overnight. Typically, pumpkins set out for less than a week won’t need rehydration, especially if you live in a cool climate. If you notice yours beginning to wilt , restore them back to their original condition by soaking them in water overnight.
6. Use a fruit fly trap. Like any type of fruit left out, pumpkins attract fruit flies. Fruit Flies will not only be annoying, but speed up the decomposition. Drawn to rotting fruit and vegetables, fruit flies will expedite the process, leaving a damaged pumpkin and an infestation behind. Use Natural fruit fly solutions, like Aunt Fannie’s Fly Punch! Or this DIY mixture is a poison-free way to prevent fruit flies from settling in to do damage. They are a great natural way to keep the flies at bay. Your pumpkin lives to see another day, and your home remains free from invaders.
Skip the chemicals this season, and do Halloween the natural way!
Don’t be tempted to carve your pumpkins too early, one or two days before Halloween is perfect, once carved, pumpkins deteriorate very rapidly.
At the end; Nothing puts your finishing touch on your carved pumpkin more than a glowing your jack-o’-lantern. Let’s get creative to carve the pumpkins; seriously. Here is some of my favorite easy pumpkin carving ideas. That helps you creating a unique pumpkin craft which makes appearances at the house around this holiday.
Check out these 70 cool non traditional jack-o’-lantern carving ideas that range from hilarious and creepy to cute and adorable easy pumpkin carving ideas taking their inspiration from a wide variety of sources that will definitely spark your creativity and for inspiration that can be used as a decor that will delight family and visitors.
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