Pumpkin-carving: The Mystery, Unraveled

Cometh October, carved pumpkins peer out from porches and doorsteps across the globe. Gourd-like orange fruits inscribed with ghoulish faces and illuminated by candles are a sure sign of the Halloween season. The practice of decorating ‘jack-o’-lanterns’ originated in Ireland, where large turnips and potatoes served as an early canvas. Irish immigrants brought the tradition of pumpkin-carving to America, home of the pumpkin, and it became an integral part of Halloween festivities.

 

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 IMAGE COURTESY – irishcentral

People have been making Jack-o’-lanterns on Halloween for centuries. 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. The next year, Jack again tricked the Devil into climbing into a tree to pick a piece of fruit. While he was up in the tree, Jack carved a sign of the cross into the tree’s bark so that the Devil could not come down until the he promised not to bother Jack for ten more years.

 

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IMAGE COURTESY – horrorpedia

Soon after, Jack died. As legend goes, God would not allow such an unsavoury figure into heaven. The Devil, upset by the trick Jack had played on him and keeping his word to not 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 ever since. The Irish began to refer to this ghostly figure as ‘Jack of the Lantern’, and then, simply ‘Jack-o’-lantern’.

In Ireland and Scotland, people began to make their own versions of Jack’s lanterns by carving scary faces into turnips or potatoes and placing them onto windows or near doors to frighten away Stingy Jack and other wandering evil spirits. In England, large beets are used. Immigrants from these countries brought the Jack-o’-lantern tradition with them when they came to the United States. They soon found that pumpkins, a fruit native to America, make perfect Jack-o’-lanterns.

Well, this Halloween, forget the trend of cutting jagged triangular eyes and toothy grins into the smoothest side of the pumpkin — they’re for amateurs.

Each fall, these autumnal orbs are sculpted into flabbergasting, scary works of art. Chiselled to dazzling intricacy, the pumpkin heads come with Voldemort-inspired nose, cheekbones and deep-set ominous eyes so convincing, you can’t help but be a little bit creeped out by merely looking at them.

 

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IMAGE COURTESY – jackolanternlouisville

Arizona-based Villafane Studios renovated pumpkin art by carving detailed designs into the fruit. From super-disturbing clowns to the Cheshire cat, Villafane has created some awe-inspiring Jack-o’-lanterns this year. These pumpkins truly redefine food art, paving the way for creativity this season.

The Yellow Sparrow brings to you the most uncanny and supernatural Jack-o’-lanterns of the Villafane collection.

 1. Creepy Crawler

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This Frankenstein-style zombie crawler will surely scare off your neighbours and cause them pain in various parts of the anatomy as they stare in awe at this frightening lawn decoration.

 2. The Sculptor Pumpkin

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With a knife in one hand and a stem in the other, this Jack-o’-lantern is responsible for creating his own army of pumpkins.

 3. Clowning Around

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Painting a frightening clown face to enhance your pumpkin’s eeriness is a good way to increase your creep appeal!

 4. But Let Me Yank Your Heart First

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Watch out for this grabby guy on your Halloween table. This skeleton arm looks like it’s reaching right into the pumpkin to get some of its yummy, pumpkin goodness.

5. Oh Gourd!

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Stuffed to the brim? Use the guts to put in the mouth of your pumpkin and roast the pumpkin seeds in order to use the whole pumpkin.

6. Skeleton Madness

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The pumpkin with its sharp teeth and out-of-socket eyeballs is a perfect fit for the haunted house. Spooky, eh?

These are just some of the gazillion astounding carvings, to explore more such uncanny and unearthly lanterns, visit the website of Villafane Studios.

IMAGE COURTESY – Villafane Studios

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