Halloween Jack-O-Lanterns | Happy Halloween
Halloween is one of my favorite times of the year.
Fall is definitely in the air by the time Halloween arrives and sometimes a bit of winter here in the northeast USA. Dressing up in funny, scary or silly costumes… Candy… Decorating our houses and yards with skeletons, ghosts, witches and Jack-O-Lanterns… What could be more fun?
How did Halloween Jack-O-Lanterns get their name anyway?
After searching for the answer, I found a few different theories. According to Irish folklore, the long and short of it is this: A man named Stingy Jack made a deal with the devil in return for him not to take his soul. However, Jack tricked the devil on two different occasions. Once Stingy Jack finally died, God would not let him into Heaven nor would the devil let him into Hell. The devil banished Jack to wander the earth aimlessly, with only a burning coal. Stingy Jack placed the coal into a carved out turnip and carried it wherever he went. The Irish began referring to Jack’s ghostly figure as “Jack of the Lantern,” and then, simply “Jack O’Lantern.”
Another theory I found was this: In 17th-century Britain, it was common to describe an unknown man with a lantern or a night watchman as Jack. Thus, an unknown man carrying a lantern was sometimes called “Jack with the lantern” or “Jack of the lantern.”
A third theory I found was that in 19th century America, young pranksters carved frightening faces into pumpkins. They then used these to frighten unwary people at night.
Whatever your belief, or however the Jack-O-Lantern got its name, it is certainly a staple in Halloween decorating. Maybe it’s because they are so fun to carve with a variety of different faces. Nowadays, pumpkins are not only carved with faces but a huge variety of designs. Pumpkin carving has actually become somewhat of an art with some really creative artists out there.
Halloween will soon be here! Have you carved your Jack-O-Lanterns yet?
Halloween is one of my favorite holidays. It has been a family tradition of ours to carve our pumpkins into Jack-O-Lanterns ever since my son was a baby. Tonight was no different, except that my son’s girlfriend joined us for this special event. Here, I’ve shared with you some of the fun we had turning our pumpkins into scary creatures.
Our work is complete…
Did you know that you can eat pumpkin seeds?
Once you carve your pumpkin, pull the seeds from the pulp and wash them in clean water and pat dry. Melt a small amount of butter in a bowl and stir in the seeds until evenly coated. Spread the seeds in a single layer on a baking sheet. Bake at 300 degrees F (150 degrees C) for about 45 minutes or until golden brown; stir occasionally. Let cool and enjoy!
Pumpkin seeds are also a great source of food and nutrition for many birds and small animals. Try putting some out for the birds in your yard and see who samples them. You might just find a curious chipmunk or squirrel visiting as well. Now that Halloween is upon us, the weather is also turning colder. Your backyard birds won’t have the same food supply available to them as they did in the summer. Remember to keep those feeders filled and Happy Birding! ~ Karen