jack-o-lantern

4 Spooky Facts About Jack-O'-Lanterns

Turning ordinary pumpkins into ghastly faces with evil eyes and chiseled teeth is a fun exercise in creativity. Kids and adults alike gather around the kitchen table every Halloween with sharp tools to cut and carve pieces of pumpkins into horrifying facial features. Seeds are scooped out and baked into a nutritious snack while everyone is busy competing to make the scariest jack-o'-lantern. This pumpkin-carving tradition may seem just like a fun and frivolous activity, but it is actually rooted in some interesting history. Kids will enjoy learning about how these creations came to be, as well as all kinds of other interesting facts.

jack-o-lantern

 

Jack-O'-Lantern Facts for Kids

Kids will be fascinated by the creepy, colorful history of how pumpkins carved into freaky faces have evolved from a strategy to keep homes protected from menacing spirits into a fun, family-friendly Halloween activity. They will also love reading books about jack-o'-lanterns where these pumpkins spring into action, causing all kinds of mischief on Halloween.

 

1) Jack-o'-lanterns were not originally made from pumpkins.

In Ireland on All Hallow's Eve, people carved out the insides of turnips, gourds, potatoes, beets, and rutabagas. Then they placed a candle inside to ward off evil spirits.

2) The history can be traced to a man named Stingy Jack.

According to Irish folklore, Jack was a man to escaped the hands of the devil on multiple occasions. One time the devil threw a glowing piece of coal to Jack so he could see his way out of the dark underworld. So Jack carved out a turnip and placed the hot coal inside, thus inventing the first jack-o'-lantern. Old Jack is rumored to still roam around the world, becoming most active on All Saints Day which is November 1st.

(3) The largest ever carved, according to Guinness World Records, weighed 2,560 pounds.

Named Maverick, after the hit movie, the gigantic pumpkin was carved into the shape of a helmet. It was grown in Anoka, Minnesota by Travis Gienger, who believes that Maverick's seeds could produce another record-breaking jack-o'-lantern.

(4) Pumpkins will start to rot just a few days after they are carved into jack-o'lanterns.

However, there are a few ways to preserve the pumpkin for just a little longer. One suggestion is to spray the inside and all carved surfaces with a combination of bleach and water. The mixture will kill off bacteria and mold that lead to decay. Hairspray, especially anti-humidity products, has also been observed to slow down rot. Some people apply olive oil or petroleum jelly to the carved parts to help prevent dehydration.

 

jack-o-lantern

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