Ever wondered why we celebrate Halloween with a carved pumpkin, called a Jack-o’-lantern?
Well, there are several versions of the tale but they all involve a character called Jack who manages to trap the Devil by tricking him. According to the legend he only agrees to let the Devil go free after he makes him promise not to take his soul. When Jack dies he can’t get into heaven as he’s been too wicked, and the Devil won’t take his soul either because of their bargain.
Jack is left in darkness with nowhere to go so he asks the Devil how he should find his way since he has no light. The Devil mockingly tosses him an ember from the flames of hell that will never burn out. Jack carves out one of his turnips (which are his favorite food), puts the ember inside it, and begins endlessly wandering the Earth, looking for a resting place. He becomes known as 'Jack of the Lantern', or Jack-o'-lantern.
In time Jack-o-lanterns were adopted as a way of protecting your home against the Undead and some used them specifically to ward away vampires.
Americans are fanatical about Halloween so they’re the best people to go to for advice on carving your own Jack-o-lantern. This video with Dom DeLuise look-alike Jack Scalfani will help even complete novices to create a festive, ghoulish pumpkin face. We particularly like the tip about ‘gutting’ the pumpkin from the bottom so the stem is left in place.
Of course, if you’re an advanced pumpkin carver, you might want to try something more creative. In which case check out some of the designs we’ve included here. And, as Nick Ross would have said, don’t have nightmares.