Article by Ron Cantu
The roots of the homemade Jack-o’-lantern – pumpkin carving originated amongst the Irish (Celtics), and with its emergence is also the heart of an impressive legend. You see the job of the Jack-o’-lantern was to keep evil spirits from the house. So they needed to appear very scary. But they also were targeted to the spirits of the dead who were in abundance and on the prowl the night before All Souls Day!
The first use of the pumpkin Jack-o’-lantern(the U.S. first fruits brought to Europe by Columbus) as lighting and came after the attempt at using the sugar beet – not nearly as good editable material. The Jack O’Lantern has evolved even here in America, where traditions brought variations and even neighborhood competitions on the most original glowing, hollowed pumpkins.
In some places it is almost a kind of sport: There are festivals and exhibitions, a flood of offers of tools and some artistic motifs that step away from the original meaning of ‘terror-pumpkin’. People will even use templates of certain celebrity as a role model for their carvings. (You can get a free template here).
If you’ve got the desire to tinker carving your first pumpkin’s can be learned. Take care to be accurate and slow but have no fear. Well, at least with the preparations.
1. For your first Jack O’Lantern, you should not take any pumpkin. The selected specimen should be ripe with no cracks or bruises (yes, you even have to care for its ugly appearance). As large as possible (so you can work on a large scale)
2. Prepare your work surface well before – it comes in more waste than we expected, and the wet.
3. Tools for carving, use either a sharp, thin knife or a saw blade (the latter is recommended, it can cut with greater precision. Also offered in trade carving sets can be quite useful.
4. The first step is to cut a cover to get into the interior of the pumpkin too. Whether you want to do it at the top or bottom depends, on how you want to illuminate the pumpkin. It might be better for the shelf, place the pumpkin over the light source (cover below).
5. The incision of the lid should be a rectangular shape (hexagon or octagon) It is not only easier to keep the lid on but it makes it more stable. 6. Cut in an approximately 45 degree angle (or a little flat), so that the lid later can be mounted.
7. Carve the pumpkin so that a thick wall about 1 inch is left cm (this is mostly done automatically). Use a good ice cream scooper, if not available, a slightly wrinkled spoon.
8. The hardest part is cutting through the fibers – which are incredibly tough, but there exist countless…
9. Before you start you will need a template (You can get a free template here).
10. What is the look you want to give your Jack O’Lantern, is left to your imagination. What is possible is not determined solely by your ability but also influenced by the size and shape of the selected pumpkin.
11. First, draw the outline of the proposed cuts on the pumpkin. Firmly insert the stencil with pins on the pumpkin and draw the lines with a powerful marker, more on the inside than outside for a more precise cut.
12. Follow the carving rules of thumb: · Work from the inside center outwards to the edge.
13. Carve the smaller pieces first, then the larger ones. * TIP * If you carve a particularly sensitive model, you need not completely pierce all the parts’ – it is sufficient to remove the outer shell so far that the lights can shine through. The remaining layer then creates more stability. * TIP * Too much cut or broken parts you can be stabilized with a toothpick.
14. Consider again the gravity of the infected part – the toothpick should point diagonally upwards
15. It is advisable to take as an artificial illumination light. This is both for reasons of security, as well as to preserve the shelf life of your work.
16. If the pumpkin begins to dry, you can soak it a half-hour into the water.
SECURITY * Please take the security concerns seriously – safety and caution should always be a priority!
Do not leave children unsupervised and point out to them that carving is dangerous with sharp tools and must be performed slowly and carefully. Take the same precautions as with any other open flame, of the surroundings of the pumpkin. Instruct children as well, it’s like other open fire. And finally ‘…
The pumpkin is a natural element and despite the best efforts, your pumpkin will go the way of all natural element, decompose! So enjoy while it lasts. You may even scare away evil spirits again. And remember Halloween comes every year, and thus new pumpkins and even better pumpkin carving ideas.
About the Author
My name is Ron and I’m a part time artist and cartoonist. Most of my art is inspired and includes traditional and contemporary compositions highlighting the beauty of landscapes, seascapes, townscapes and everything else in between. I do enjoy carving Jack-O-Lanterns as a just for fun diversion. Hope you enjoy.