Thursday, 8 October 2009

My Creative Pumpkin Juices!

It’s pumpkin time, and with that comes stories and folktales that run a shiver down your spine. Celtic tradition claims that today’s Jack-o-lanterns began as carved gourds that invited deceased loved ones in and kept ghosts out. Then later, there is the old Irish tale of Jack, who tricked the devil and was banned from Heaven and Hell. Poor Jack had nothing but a burning lump of coal to light a pumpkin with as he wandered the Earth.

Halloween pumpkin carving has been around since the pilgrims settled in the Americas and found the perfect medium. American pumpkins were easier than gourds, and tasty, too! Anyone who celebrates Halloween knows there is nothing like the sweet smell of burning pumpkin on a cool Halloween night.

I love this fall tradition. It invokes happy memories of my childhood, especially that rite of passage when I was old enough to handle a butcher knife and carve my own jack-o-lantern. It was the one time touching something cold and slimy was cool! Plus, it was an opportunity to delve into my creative side.

Today, pumpkin carving is changing with the times. While traditional patterns still resonate with the young, artistic patterns that play with light and shadow have made carving quite the art. Though I still love a fresh pumpkin, the rubber and foam craft pumpkins now available have become my personal favorites. They keep well in storage year after year, so I’m able to “grow” my own collection.

I hope you enjoy a couple pictures from my “pumpkin patch” in today’s blog post. Every October if I’m not writing, you can find me out of the office with a pumpkin on my lap, a happy smile on my face, and no ghosties about! I’m sure my jack-o-lanterns chase them all away.


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Linda Banche said...

I love pumpkins, but I can't say I'm too crazy about all the strange new designs around. I always use the traditional smiling pumpkin.

I still buy pumpkins, but now I keep them intact until they decay. I bought an artificial one with a light and plug it in for my jack o'lantern.

Lindsay Townsend said...

Lovely post, Danielle! Thank you for sharing the folk-lore and history of these fall traditions - all fascinating!!

Kathleen O said...

Like you I love the pumpkin traditons of halloween and my childhood.. It was kind of like christmas and getting the tree to trim,at at halloween it was waiting for dad or mom to get the pumpkin, so we could carve it.. I hope that what ever your pumpkin be real or a crafty one.. You have fun... that's what it is all about..

Savanna Kougar said...

Danielle, wonderful post. Pumpkin carving wasn't one of my family's traditions. I did finally get the chance to carve one at a friend's Halloween party. It was a blast.
And I love all the designs, the traditional to the exotic... it's just amazing.
Plus, I grow my own baby pumpkins whenever I can... I had a whole big batch this year. One is sitting with me as I write.

Kaye Manro said...

Great post! I love pumpkins and halloween as well. I have a wonderful ceramic pumpkin that you can light up with a candle. It's been in my family for several generations.

Danielle Thorne said...

Thanks all. Wow-I wish I could grow my own pumpkins. I've tried a couple times and no luck!

StephB said...

Danielle, I loved your pumpkin pictures and your tales. Poor Jack! My husband's usually the pumpkin carver in our family, but we all go to the pumpkin patch and pick out our pumpkins. hehe.


LK Hunsaker said...

Danielle, I love the smell of scorched jack-o-lanterns on Halloween night, also. Fun post!