Pumpkins & Carving
Pumpkins are a gourd-like squash grown most commonly in the United States and Canada. The exact origin of the pumpkin in unclear, but it is thought to have originated in North America. They generally way 9-18 lbs but can weigh as much as 75 lbs. Traditionally, pumpkins are orange in color, but they do grow in the colors of green, white, and yellow.
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 vegetables such as 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 and was initially used as decoration for the end of the harvest season. As the end of the harvest season was associated with Samhain , the pumpkin jack-o-lantern evolved into a Halloween decoration.
Where Can You Get Pumpkins In The Louisville Area?
A common question is where can you get great pumpkins for Halloween. You can get some decent pumpkins at your local grocer, but you often get lower quality pumpkins and many times pay a higher price for the convenience. The best places to get pumpkins in the Louisville area are often in the outlying areas at the local farms. Many of these locations are pumpkin patches that you can actually pick your own pumpkins righ from the field! Sometimes some of the best and most affordable places to get pumpkins is on the side of the road from farmers that are selling them right off their trailer. Below is a list of some of the known places we have found to get some great pumpkins for jack-o-lanterns in the Louisville area. We will continue to update this list as we locate more great places.
Carving Your Pumpkins
As we talked about 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, but there are some that go very elaborate with their pumpkin carving. It has become quite an art and they even make kits with stencils so you can create your own masterpiece to display to your neighbors and trick-or-treaters.
In this sections, we are going to show you some great pumpkin carving designs and even show you how to carve a pumpkin. Let’s start off by explaining how to carve your pumpkin.
1.) Pick out your perfect pumpkin. Some of you like round pumpkins, others like oval, some even like malformed pumpkins.
2.) Using a Sharpie, draw a circle or hexagon around the stem of the pumpkin. Make sure the the circle is large enough to fit your hand through because you will need to be able reach inside the pumpkin.
3.) Using a decent sized knife or pumpkin carving knife, cut along the line you drew. Be careful not to cut your hands during this process.
4.) Remove the stem piece that you just cut. This piece will act as a cap for your pumpkin. Remove any seeds and “guts” from the bottom of this piece. You can use your hands, but a spoon works better as a scraper.
5.) This is the fun part, using your hands (or a spoon if you prefer) clean out the seeds and “guts” from the inside of the pumpkin. You may want to consider keeping the seeds. You can actually dry out the seeds, bake them, and salt them and they make for a great snack!
6.) Now, it is time to decide on the design your pumpkins “face”. Remember, the more complex the design, the harder it will be to carve and the more time it will take. Some of the more complex designs will require special carving tools. Draw your design on your pumpkin with a Sharpie.
7.) Again, 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!
8.) Push out the cut areas of the pumpkin and discard.
9.) Now you’re ready to put in a votive candle OR you can go to Walmart and get a battery operated light. Either of which works great. I personally prefer the more traditional candle method because I like the way it flickers to give a more creepy look.
10.) Set it on the porch/patio for the world to see!
Looking For Great Jack O Lantern Stencils?
To create some really wicked carved pumpkins, there are a variety of stencils you can get to help you look like a pro. One word of warning, most of these complicated stencils can take your some time to accomplish. For those of you that don’t want to spend a lot of time, the best option for you is a kitchen knife, triangle eyes and a simple mouth. However, if you want to have a pumpkin that the whole neighborhood is talking about you might want to consider getting a pumpkin carving kit and printing off a stencil. Below we have included a couple of really great stencil sites for your enjoyment.
There are MANY 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!