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Category: Seasonal

The Pumpkin the Chainsaw

We have been hunting around in the pumpkin patch for the best pumpkins we can find so we can make Halloween Lanterns for you to admire.

In a sort of spooky ‘show and tell’ way we have made this lovely pumpkin lantern using a chainsaw and now we want you to tell us what you think.

There will be a prize for the best comment on Twitter @DIYDoctor using the Hashtag #DIYDoctorHalloween

History of Pumpkin Lanterns

Long before pumpkins came to Europe people were carving lanterns out of turnips and other root vegetables, but have you ever wondered why we make pumpkin lanterns at Halloween?

Well, it’s a suitably spooky Celtic tale of the tortured soul of a miserly man, called Stingy Jack, and the Devil!

According to the legend Stingy Jack invited the Devil to drink with him, but being stingy fellow he didn’t want to actually pay for it.

So, Jack persuaded the Devil that it would be a wheeze to turn himself into a coin so that Jack could buy the drinks, and then when the luckless publican handed over the drinks the Devil could change himself back. That way they would get their drinks for nothing.

However, when the Devil changed his shape Jack ran off with the money by placing the coin next to a silver cross in his pocket, thereby preventing the Devil from resuming his natural shape.

There was a degree of bargaining before Jack agreed to release Old Nick, but eventually Stingy Jack agreed to allow the Devil to change back again, providing that the Devil stayed away from him for at least one year, and that if Jack was to die the Devil would not come to claim his soul.

The following year Jack managed to talk the Devil into picking fruit off a tree, (Jack must have been an Irishman and he must have kissed the blarney stone!). While the Devil as up there Jack whipped out a knife and carved a cross into the trunk of the tree, so the Devil could not climb down again.

This time Jack arranged that the Devil would stay away for ten years.

Before the ten years were up Jack died, and allegedly God really wasn’t keen to allow him into Heaven. Which isn’t surprising when you consider his track record.

So why Pumpkin Carving?

The Devil, as you can imagine, was fuming at the way he had been tricked, but having promised not to claim Jack’s soul he didn’t let Jack into Hell either.

He banished Jack to roam the earth, giving him nothing but a burning coal to light his way. Jack placed the coal into a turnip which he carved out to act as a lantern, and he has been wandering the earth from that day to this. Apparently.

For that reason the Irish call him Jack of the Lantern or Jack’O’Lantern, and the Americans later adopted that name for the actual lanterns themselves.

People in Scotland and the Isle of Man started carving scary faces into the turnip lanterns and placing them near doors and windows to scare away evil spirits, later the English and Welsh took up the practice of placing them outside their homes and hanging the lanterns off gate posts, although they call the same vegetable a swede, not a turnip.

When European settlers traveled to America they took the tradition with them, and found that American pumpkins gave them much more scope for carving theatrical faces into the surface.

Whatever the truth they make a great excuse for letting your imagination run riot, while providing lots of ingredients for warming winter soup!

Try Your Own Pumpkin Carving

Find carving tools, knifes and blades in our DIY Superstore to create your own pumpkin carving creation!

Pumpkin Carving for Halloween

 

 


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