Growing up, Dad carved a pumpkin for us every year. He'd draw a face on a pumpkin freehand, ask us if we liked it (if not, he'd erase and begin again), and if it passed, he'd start carving. I always liked the scary ones, mean eyes and sharp teeth. The photo above is of me in 1984, with our cat C.J. Dad's pumpkin was a little lopsided that year and had to be propped up with a rock.
We didn't love it any less.
The other day there was a Halloween special on the history channel. I always geek out over these specials..they're sooo interesting. I love learning about where our current traditions originated, like why we carve pumpkins! Here's what they said:
"The carved pumpkin with a light inside was supposed to ward off evil spirits. The practice originated from an Irish myth about a man nicknamed "Stingy Jack." According to the story, Stingy Jack invited the Devil to have a drink with him. True to his name, Stingy Jack didn't want to pay for his drink, so he convinced the Devil to turn himself into a coin that Jack could use to buy their drinks. Once the Devil did so, Jack decided to keep the money and put it into his pocket next to a silver cross, which prevented the Devil from changing back into his original form.
Jack eventually freed the Devil, under the condition that he would not bother Jack for one year and that, should Jack die, he would not claim his soul...
Soon after, Jack died. As the legend goes, God would not allow such an unsavory figure into heaven. The Devil, upset by the trick Jack had played on him and keeping his word not to claim his soul, would not allow Jack into hell. He sent Jack off into the dark night with only a burning coal to light his way. Jack put the coal into a carved-out turnip and has been roaming the Earth with ever since.
The Irish began to refer to this ghostly figure as "Jack of the Lantern," and then, simply "Jack O'Lantern."
Knowing it's history makes you so eager to participate. We were so excited to carve our jack-o-lanterns last night. We chose our patterns, transferred them to the pumpkins and got to work.
I did 3 candles. Mom says it looks like some optical illusion because your eyes go directly to the solid pieces and not the negative space. It doesn't translate very well in photos, but I'm happy with how it turned out!
Nora's owl turned out great!
We spent about 2 hours on them...but of course took a break for some pizza, wine, and Charlie Brown's Great Pumpkin on TV.
I'm so antsy for Halloween! We're doing to Montrose pub crawl on Saturday. I still have work to do on my costume... gotta hit the costume shop for some fake blood... CAN'T WAIT!