The Art of Carving Pumpkins: A student reflects on the history and experience of this Halloween tradition.

It’s that time of year when families go to their nearby pumpkin patch to enjoy one of the nation’s most creative activities: pumpkin carving. The process begins with picking the perfect pumpkin, then cleaning it, and finally creating images on the pumpkin to capture the spirit of Halloween. 

Pumpkin carving dates back to ancient times when the Celtics first introduced these decorations. The “Jack-o’-Lantern” is originally named after the man “Stingy Jack” who drove the Devil. Due to him tricking the Devil, he ended up cursed, walking the earth in the afterlife. These small decorations are meant to keep Jack away from their homes.

When I think of pumpkin carving, the first thing that comes to mind is the mess. However, that’s also what makes it exciting and enjoyable as an activity, especially when surrounded by friends and family. My friends also enjoy it as it is a rarity that you can only enjoy once a year. I interviewed a few friends in particular about their experience in carving pumpkins. One friend explained what pumpkin carving means to her. She provided details of her first time performing this activity with her late grandfather when she was 10. Before starting the carving, the hard labor of cleaning was tedious, but this allowed her to show her creativity after completing the pumpkin cleaning. She got out of this experience by enjoying hard work; she has since participated in this tradition with loved ones around her. Another one of my friends had almost a similar story but with his siblings. He explained how pumpkin carving during his favorite month created a bond between him and his younger brother and sister—being the one looking over their pumpkins and helping them create what they wanted brought joy for him. He said, “It was amazing every time I could spend time with them creating something we can all enjoy.”

I have a very similar experience. I haven’t done an actual pumpkin carving in a few years, but when I did, I enjoyed myself. I carved pumpkins with my friends at a young age. Having the ability to create an image I could think of on this small object was remarkable to me. This activity made my love for Halloween more exciting. It wasn’t just the costumes, candy, or scary movies. Walking around at night and seeing each porch having a jack-o-lantern made Halloween fun. If it can make a child’s experience better on Halloween, then the hard work was worth it. So whether you do or don’t carve pumpkins, you can count on it being a tradition in many households during the month of October to capture the spirit of Halloween.

Source: Brunswick Forest