Who Put the Jack in Jack-O-Lantern? Plus 5 (EASY) No-Carve Pumpkin Ideas!

It’s October and we love the creatively decorated jack-o-lanterns that are everywhere!  But hold on, who is Jack and how did this veggie become one of the beloved symbols of Halloween?    

Photo: Ryan Christodoulou, Unsplash.com

Cats, Bats, Witches oh my!  Here comes Halloween and with it the fun of decorating, costume prepping and candy eating! A trip to the pumpkin patch is also usually on the list. Whether intricately carved and lit or painted, stamped or taped, this gourd is one of the bigger symbols of this haunted holiday.

But it didn’t start out to be.   That’s because the original lantern was made from a turnip!  During the potato famine Irish immigrants came to America bringing with them the tradition of Halloween and the use of Jack O’Lanterns. As folklore has it, Jack, an evil blacksmith tricked the Devil to turn himself into a coin to pay for some drinks. To gain his freedom from his coin cage, the Devil agreed to never claim Jack’s soul. Upon Jack’s death, Jack was not allowed into Heaven because he had lived a sinful life and his deal with the Devil also barred him from Hell. Jack was then left to wander earth, a lonely soul for eternity.

Upon rejection from the gates of hell, Jack asked the Devil for some light to find his way and the Devil tossed him an ember from the flames of Hades. Jack carved a turnip to hold his ember and began his never-ending quest for a resting place as “Jack of the Lantern” or Jack O’Lantern!

jack o'lantern
By Toby Ord – Own work, CC BY-SA 2.5, via wikicommons.org

So, why don’t we decorate our porches and mantels with carved turnips? Because when the Irish came to America in the 1800’s, turnips were scarce and pumpkins abundant. With lots of room for a candle, the pumpkin made a perfect substitute for the tiny turnip (and for that we are happy. Have you ever tried to carve a face into a turnip?)! Finally, the lit Jack O’Lantern is placed outside to frighten poor Jack and any other wandering evil souls away.

Are you ready to decorate a pumpkin?  Try out one of these easy, no-carve ways to get into the fun of Halloween!  And, don’t worry, if you bought so many pumpkins you can’t decorate them all check out our Fall Themed Dinner Party – Pumpkin Style!

  1. DIY Sharpie Owl Pumpkins
owlpumpkins9
Sharpie Marker Owls, Photo: lilblueboo.com

These pumpkins are decorated with simple sharpie markers in Mexican “Sugar-skull” style.  See how it’s done here

  1. DIY Donut Pumpkins

sprinkle-donuts
We’ll take a dozen!  Photo: stylediy.com

What could be sweeter than these mini pumpkins masquerading as donuts? (Well, besides the Halloween candy bowl!  But still…)  Genius!  Make them along with Kelly at SudioDIY.com

  1. Polka Dot Pumpkins

polka-dot-gold-GH
Pumpkins look great with polka dots!  Photo: seakettle.com

Simply elegant and no cut fingers!  Polka Dot Pumpkins

  1. Spellbinding Pumpkin Centerpiece

    ribbon-wrapped-pumpkins
    Ribbon wrapped pumpkins, Photo: GoodHousekeeping.com

Oh my gosh, we almost fainted from the cuteness of these mini pumpkins!  Buy a bunch and some double sided tape along with festive Halloween ribbon and with a few snips you’ve got yourself a delightful collection of “minikins”.  Want to make it even easier?  Try Washi tape!  Via GoodHouskeeping.com

  1. Washi Tape Pumpkins

    Adorable Washi Tape Pumpkins
    Adorable Washi Tape Pumpkins, Photo: lilluna.com

Speaking of washi tape!  These beauties are just painted and taped, who knew designer gourds could be so easy!  Pretty and Easy Pumpkin Decor

Are your pumpkins already decorated?  Share your pictures with us in the comment section!

 

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