A jack-o ‘-Lantern (or Jack o’ lantern) is a pumpkin, turnip or other root vegetable lantern associated with Halloween. Its name comes from the phenomenon of a strange light that flutters over the peat marshes, called Will-o ‘-the-Wisp or Jack-o’-Lantern. The name is also linked to the Irish legend of Stingy Jack, a drunk who sins with Satan and is doomed to roam the earth with only a hollow lawn to light his way.
Jack-O’s “lanterns” are an annual Halloween tradition that came to the United States from Irish immigrants.
In a Jack-o ‘-lantern, the top of the pumpkin or turnip is cut to form a lid, the meat inside is excavated, and an image – usually a creepy or funny face – is carved from the shell to expose the hollow interior. To create the flashlight effect, a light source, traditionally a flame such as a candle or tea light, is placed before the lid closes. However, Jack-‘ artificial o-‘ lanterns with electric lights are also marketed. It is common to see Jack-o’-lanterns at the door and otherwise used as decorations before and on Halloween.
Sections of pumpkin or turmeric are cut to make holes, often representing a face, which can be cheerful, scary, or comical. Complex carvings (or paintings in pumpkins) are becoming more common as figures, logos, and symbols. A variety of tools can be used to sculpt and excavate pumpkin, ranging from simple knives and spoons of specialized instruments, usually sold in vacation sections of North American supermarkets. Printed templates can be used as a guide for increasingly complex projects. After the sculpture, a light source (such as a flame candle, electric candle, or tea light) is placed inside the pumpkin, and the top is placed back in place. The font is normally introduced to illuminate the interior design and add an additional spooky measure. Sometimes a fireplace is also carved. It is possible to create surprisingly artistic designs, simple or intricate in nature.
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