It is amazing to see scary pumpkin-head lanterns giving that toothy smile and finding a favor on Halloween for so long. Actually, Jack-o-Lanterns owe their origin to the ancient ceremony of feasting and welcoming the dead by the living, a custom that was quite prevalent in almost all the communities in the past. With time, this ceremony combined with the popular art of making masks that were believed to embody the deities and spirits, to give birth to the tradition of carving pumpkins as Jack-o-Lanterns.
There was a time when people used to keep relics of their ancestors in the form of heirlooms. Even their bones, such as the skull, was saved and used to honor them on celebrations and festivities, inviting them to join the parties and festivities. These bones of the ancestors and patriarchs were kept safe over generations and were considered sacred for the reason that old religions believed in presence of ghosts everywhere.
It was thought that the dead were only the altered form of living spirits. People used to invite their deceased relatives and ancestors to a party, by putting their skull at the meal, along with other members of the family. Since Halloween originates from the pagan festival Samhain, this pagan tradition got transported to the present in an altered form, where a pumpkin is carved to look like a person's head and made a part of all Halloween celebrations.
Carving Pumpkin using Stencils
Halloween calls for pumpkin carving and indulging in artistic endeavors. You can fire your imaginations and use your creativity to the hilt in carving pumpkins. People with good artistic and craft skills prefer carving their pumpkins freehand, but those with underdeveloped artistic skills can still create beautiful and detailed designs on their pumpkin by using stencils for their carvings.
Jack-o-Lanterns are the most important symbols of Halloween and the celebrations are incomplete without them. They have a traditional association with the holiday. Carving Jack-O-Lanterns on pumpkins is a very famous Halloween activity amongst children and adults. People also use them as decorations on the Halloween day.
Growing Pumpkin Patch
There are many people who like to grow their own pumpkins for Halloween. You may have your own pumpkin patch, if you live in an area where pumpkins get about four to five frost-free months to grow, have lots of growing space and can receive direct sunlight for about six hours daily.
Taking photos of Jack-o-lanterns is a tricky task. The art is to create the right balance to allow you to capture the carvings on the pumpkin, using the light to illuminate the outside of the pumpkin and yet, be able to capture the glow of the lit candles kept inside the Jack-o-Lantern, illuminating it from within the pumpkin.
Lighting Jack O Lantern
Ever since pumpkin carving became an important ritual of Halloween, candles have been used to illuminate Jack O' Lanterns. However, with time, many new options for lighting up the carved pumpkins came up. Some of them are more expensive than the others, but also give much more effects.
Pumpkin carving is seen as an art by many. In fact, many enthusiasts spend a lot of money on buying the pumpkin carving kit so that they can make a perfect Jack-O'-Lantern. It can take hours to carve some of the difficult patterns of Jack-O'-Lanterns on pumpkins.
Pumpkin Carving - History
Carved Pumpkin or Jack-o-lantern is the most popular of all Halloween emblems. Halloween has always been associated with wearing scary costumes and masks, sharing ghost stories, throwing spooky parties, giving your guests a good fright, trick-or-treating and pumpkin carving for as long as it has been around.
Tools for Carving Pumpkin
Right tools make pumpkin carving much easier and help you make better Jack-O-Lanterns. In fact, there is a complete kit available in stores just for the purpose of carving pumpkin. However, you can even manage with some necessary equipment and need not buy the entire kit, if you wish so.
A healthy and totally scary Jack-O'-Lantern, made from a well-carved pumpkin, welcomes trick-or-treaters and your party guests in the Halloween way, flashing a wicked grin that all Halloween lovers simply love to see. Traditional ways of pumpkin carving include freehand carving, which is done by using some of the most basic tools.