Growing up in 1980s North East England, we followed the Irish jack-o’-lantern folktale and Halloween tradition of hollowing out a Halloween turnip–or rather our parents would carve it for us, because believe me, a tough old turnip is not soft enough to scoop! We would carry the little boulders around on our trick-or-treating escapades to light the way, and it became a race as to whether the string handle would cut through the sides of the weighty turnip or into our cold little fingers first. Still, we had fun…
Nowadays, I cannot deny the appeal of a fat pumpkin when it comes to creating a jack-o’-lantern display, so I have gathered together a few of my favourite creations to get your spooky juices flowing!
If you would prefer to avoid the carving out stage altogether–and who would blame you–there are a whole host of tricks to help achieve amazing results without ever picking up a kitchen knife.
How about a painted pumpkin? I love monochrome designs featuring gothic typography styles, which could be printed out from a computer as a template.
For a quicker fix, how about a chalkboard pumpkin that you can change by the day? All you need is a can of spray-on blackboard paint and a stick of chalk, and you can make as many changes as you like; you could even use it as a Halloween countdown calendar to haunted house party time!
Take a haberdasher’s approach to your Halloween fruit by swathing them in fancy fishnet stocking material, or a leg of lacy tights for a chic and effortless result, or with the help of a glue-gun you can attach lengths of ribbon along the natural creases.
If you like a bit of glitz and glam decor you can create some stunning designs using glue on rhinestones too, or even a nail-gun can help in achieving a shiny, shimmering outline across the surface, but it’s probably best to draw yourself some guidelines to follow before you start punching them in.
Make fairy lights out of your jack-o’-lanterns by using different sized drill bits to create stunning patterns; of course, you will have to scoop out the goop in order to site your light source for this idea, but the effect is well worth the added effort.
Have fun with your pumpkins but remember the legend of ‘Stingy Jack’ originally led to the carving of many types of veggies to ward off wandering evil spirits, so you could even try experimenting with more of your surplus five-a-day!