Why do we carve pumpkins on Halloween

Halloween pumpkin: ideas for the scary festival

On Halloween pumpkins with creepy grimaces light up our gardens and bring some light into the often dreary autumn. Children especially enjoy breathing life into autumn vegetables. Here you can find out which types of pumpkin are best for Halloween fun, how you should proceed with the carving and how your pumpkin lasts for a long time as a decoration.

Halloween pumpkin: ideas for the scary festival
Halloween pumpkin: ideas for the scary festival

Why do you carve pumpkins on Halloween?

The tradition of the Halloween pumpkin originated in Ireland. According to an Irish legend, the custom goes back to a drunk named Jack, who escaped from hell through a trick. The door to heaven remained closed for him, so that he wandered eternally between hell and heaven. A candle in a hollowed turnip lit the way for him. This led to the superstition that you could protect yourself from evil spirits by walking around with a beet lantern on Halloween. Since turnips were rare in the United States, Irish immigrants used pumpkins.

Good to know: The American name for the carved pumpkin "Jack O‘ Lantern "is derived from this legend.

Which pumpkins are suitable for carving?

Pumpkins come in many different shapes and colors. But not every type of pumpkin is equally suitable for carving. The best known is the nutmeg pumpkin - it comes in different sizes, so there is something for everyone. It also has a thin skin, which makes working with a knife much easier. Popular varieties are: Early Harvest, Jack O’Lantern, Autumn Gold or Tom Fox. You can also try your luck with butternut squash, for example. Basically, all pumpkins are suitable for carving, you just need the right accessories and a little patience.

This is what you should pay attention to when buying Halloween pumpkins

So that the pumpkin lasts as long as possible for Halloween, you should follow these tips when buying:

  • Check the handle: if it is soft or if it comes off by itself, keep your fingers off!
  • The skin of the pumpkin should be intact and not have any cuts or the like.
  • If the pumpkin already has soft spots, it usually doesn't last longer than a few days.
  • The pumpkin must be heavier than it looks. If this is not the case, it could already go moldy.

Instructions: how to carve a Halloween pumpkin

1. Wash your pumpkin thoroughly and then dry it well. Then draw the lid and scratch it in a zigzag shape.

2. Work on the cover until it can be loosened.

3. Then it's time to hollow out the Halloween pumpkin. Take out all of the seeds and spermatic cords. You can do this by hand, but you can also use a spoon or ice cream scoop. The remaining peel and pulp should be about two centimeters thick together.

Tip: The leftover pulp can be used to cook a delicious pumpkin soup or pumpkin puree.

4. Then you can decide what your Halloween pumpkin should look like. Would you like a smiling face or a creepy grimace? There are many templates on the Internet, for example under the English term: "pumpkin carving patterns". Print out your template and draw the face on the pumpkin.

6. Now simply scratch the contours with a knife until the parts come loose by themselves. You can also divide large sections so that they can be separated more easily.

7. Your pumpkin is now ready to light up the night as a decoration. You can either use wax candles or tea lights, or you can choose LED lights that you can safely leave on for hours without having to supervise them. In addition, these candle alternatives do not go out automatically by a gust of wind.

This way the Halloween pumpkin will last as long as possible

The best way to keep a pumpkin as long as possible is to buy it as early as possible and let it dry before carving. This makes it harder for microorganisms and fungi to cause damage. Special pumpkin sprays are also available in stores; others swear by petroleum jelly or bleach. But whether this is more effective remains a matter of dispute.

Halloween Pumpkin Ideas: Get Inspired!