Louisville Jack o Lanterns

A Little Pumpkin History…Get Your Learn On!

Pumpkins are a gourd-like squash grown most commonly in the United States and Canada. The exact origin of the pumpkin in unclear. It is thought to have originated in North America. They generally way 9-18 pounds, but can weigh as much as 75 pounds. Traditionally, pumpkins are orange in color. They also grow in the colors of green, white, and yellow. You can find all colors in Louisville pumpkins.

As a Halloween tradition, pumpkins are generally carved into decorative lanterns. This originated in the United Kingdom and Ireland with their Halloween tradition of carving lanterns out of turnips. It wasn’t until 1837 that the term Jack-o-lantern was used as a term to describe the carving of vegetables into lanterns. It wasn’t specifically associated with Halloween until 1866. The pumpkin became more common in the United States as a use for the carving of jack-o-lanterns. It was initially used as decoration for the end of the harvest season. The end of the harvest season was associated with Samhain. So the jack-o-lantern evolved into a Halloween decoration.

Carving Your Louisville Jack o Lanterns & Making Your Work of Art

As we discussed before, carving your pumpkins into jack-o-lanterns is a longstanding tradition for the Halloween season. It is one of the most fun decorations that you get to customize any way you want. Most people go with the generic triangle eyes and two-toothed grin. Of course, some are more elaborate with their pumpkin carving. It has become a form of art. The has become popularized by the local Jack o Lantern Spectacular. There are even kits with stencils so you can create your own masterpiece to display to your neighbors and trick-or-treaters.

How to Carve A Jack o Lantern

  • Pick out your perfect pumpkin. Some of you like round pumpkins, others like oval. Some even like malformed pumpkins.
  • Using a Sharpie, draw a circle or hexagon around the stem. Make sure the the circle is large enough to fit your hand inside the pumpkin.
  • Using a knife or pumpkin carving knife, cut along the line you drew. Be careful not to cut your hands during this process.
  • Remove the stem piece that you just cut. This piece will act as a cap for your pumpkin. Remove any “guts” from the bottom of this piece. You can use your hands, but a spoon works better as a scraper.
  • This is the fun part, using your hands or spoon to clean out the “guts” from the inside of the pumpkin. You may want to consider keeping the seeds. You can dry out the seeds, bake, and salt them. They make for a great snack that is second only to pumpkin pie!
  • Now, it is time to decide on the design your pumpkins “face”. The more complex the design, the harder it will be to carve and the more time it will take. More complex designs will require special carving tools. Draw your design on your pumpkin with a Sharpie.
  • Use your handy-dandy cutting tool to cut out your design. Be sure to follow the lines on the right way or you could cut the wrong sections out! Be careful not to cut yourself!
  • Push out the cut areas of the pumpkin and discard.
  • Now you’re ready to put in a votive candle OR a battery operated light. Either works great. I personally prefer the more traditional candle method.
  • Set it on the porch/patio for the world to see!
  • Need Help with your Louisville Jack o Lanterns? Looking For Great Jack O Lantern Stencils?

    To create some really wicked carved pumpkins, there are stencils you can make you look like a pro. One word of warning: most complicated stencils can take some time to accomplish. For those that don’t want to spend a lot of time, the best option is a kitchen knife, triangle eyes and a simple mouth. If you want to have a pumpkin that the neighborhood is talking about, you might consider a pumpkin carving kit. Below we have included a couple of really great stencil sites for your enjoyment.

    Zombie Pumpkins
    Pumpkin Lady
    Pumpkin Glow

    There are MANY more stencil sites out there if you want to dig, these are just a few that we’ve found.

    Keep checking back for even more great pumpkin info!