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18 April 2014
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How to make a jack-o'-lantern
The finished pumpkin - complete with candle.
Lindsay's spooky lantern.

Lindsay Jordan's step by step guide to making a Halloween jack-o'-lantern.

Carved a smashing pumpkin? Email us a photo!
Pumpkin gallery »

SEE ALSO

Smashing pumpkins
Photo gallery to inspire you.

Haunted Muncaster: Live!
Ghosts and ghouls plus horror unlimited with our most haunted night live this Halloween ...

Can you see the ghost?
Can you spot the ghost in this picture - you need to concentrate very hard to see it ...

Horrorscopes
Macabre Mark's horrible horrorscopes. (Warning: 100% utter codswallop.)

Ghost chase
Can you find all the cheeky ghosts in our online puzzle?

Halloween traditions
The history of Halloween. What's the idea behind apple-bobbing? Find out here ...

More Halloween features

WEB LINKS

Pumpkins and more
Clear and simple site with all the information you could need.

Big Pumpkins
Online community of mega-pumpkin growers.

Pumpkin Recipes
From BBC Food. Includes Pumpkin Lasagne, Pumpkin Soup and... Pumpkin Cheesecake (!).

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external websites.

PUMPKINS

Pumpkin facts

Pumpkins are usually orange but they can be white, tan, yellow, green red or blue!

The word 'pumpkin' comes from the Greek 'pepon' meaning 'large melon'! Shakespeare calls them 'pumpion' in The Merry Wives of Windsor.

American settlers created pumpkin pie by removed the seeds, filling it with milk, spices and honey and then baking it in hot ashes.

An old wives' tale suggests eating pumpkin for removing freckles.

Some expert pumpkin carvers do multi-level carvings. They use the skin as level one, the flesh as level two etc.

'Jack-o'-lantern' refers to Stingy Jack from Irish mythology. He tricked the devil and was not allowed into either heaven or hell. Jack had to roam the earth with a glowing coal in a hollow turnip.

British and Irish people carved faces into turnips or potatoes to scare Jack and other spirits away. Early American settlers quickly found pumpkins were ideal.

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How to make a jack-o'-lantern
Eating the leftovers
How to choose a tasty pumpkin
How to preserve your pumpkin

The challenge: can you do better?
About Lindsay Jordan

You need:
1 short, sharp knife
1 dessert spoon
1 teaspoon
1 candle or tea-light
Plenty of newspaper to protect work surface
Large bowl for pumpkin seeds and flesh
Pumpkin
   
Step One:
Cut a circular hole around the stalk.
Pumpkin
   
Tilt the point of the knife into the centre of the pumpkin.
This will stop the lid from falling in.
Pumpkin
   
Step Two: Scoop out the seeds and any loose flesh using the dessertspoon and the knife if needed. Pumpkin
   
Step Three: Sketch the face onto your pumpkin. Use a biro so any mistakes can be scrubbed off with a scouring pad or fingernail. Pumpkin
   
Step Four: Carefully cut out the features. Take small cuts and use a puncturing motion rather than a slicing one. Pumpkin
   
Step Five: Gently scrape away the flesh on the inside of the face until it is only 1cm thick. Pumpkin
   
Step Six: Using the knife, mark a circle the size of your candle or tea-light in the centre of the base. Pumpkin
   
Step Seven: Carefully hollow out the marked area with the teaspoon. Pumpkin
   
Step Eight: Place your candle in the hollow, light it and replace the lid of your jack-o'-lantern. Pumpkin

Eating the leftovers: The spare pumpkin flesh and seeds can be saved and cooked. The seeds can be roasted as a snack.

The best varieties for eating are 'sweet pumpkin' and 'pie pumpkin'. They are smaller than the usual jack-o'-lantern pumpkins sold in the UK in October - but they are much tastier!

How to choose a tasty pumpkin: It should be heavy and have at least two inches of stem. (Less stem means it will decay faster.) Look for a pumpkin with no blemishes or soft spots.

For recipes, check out our links on the left-hand side.

Preserving your pumpkin: A shrivelled manky pumpkin isn't going to impress anyone.

One tip I've heard is to put petroleum jelly around the carved edges - but that seems a bit too keen. As is putting it in a bucket of cold water with a hint of bleach.

If you need to preserve your creation, put it in the fridge. Maybe wrapped in clear food wrap, if you can be bothered.

The challenge: Can you do better? Email us a photo of you with your Halloween pumpkin (please include your name and address).

We'll put your photo in the gallery for the world to marvel at your creative genius!

View the Pumpkin Gallery »

Feature and photographs by Lindsay Jordan

Comments

Sorry I haven’t got a photo to send in just an idea to add re pumpkin carving – what we do is to run some food colouring into the pumpkin after we’ve carved the flesh out – nothing like a vivid green glow combined with orange to make it stand out and to make it a little more gruesome! Kevin W.

*****

Lindsay Jordan
Lindsay Jordan

About Lindsay Jordan: Lindsay has lived in Ulverston for four years and has been carving pumpkins since she was old enough to use a knife without being a danger to society.

Lindsay is a trained secondary school science teacher and a published author of several educational books. She is heading for the sort of status in Ulverston currently only enjoyed by Mr Ralph Spours.

Got an idea for a feature? Email us or write in (Annetwell Street, Carlisle, CA3 8BB) and you could see your feature on BBC Cumbria.

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Top | Halloween Index | Home
Halloween
Smashing pumpkins
Photo gallery to inspire you.

Can you see the ghost?
Can you spot the ghost in this picture - you need to concentrate very hard to see it ...

Horrorscopes
Macabre Mark's horrible horrorscopes. (Warning: 100% utter codswallop.)

Ghost chase
Can you find all the cheeky ghosts in our online puzzle?

Halloween traditions
The history of Halloween. What's the idea behind apple-bobbing? Find out here ...

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