Pumpkin carving is what you make of it. It's a fun (family) activity that helps you get into the Halloween spirit and is a great way to express your creativity, too.
The best thing about it is the freedom: you can go for something playful like your favorite meme, or a scary zombie, it's all up to you.
To give you a better idea of what's possible, we at Bored Panda compiled a list of our favorite jack-o'-lanterns. Enjoy!
My Friend Is Awesome At Carving Pumpkins
This Halloween practice originated in Ireland, where large turnips and potatoes served as early canvasses. In fact, the very name, jack-o'-lantern, comes from an Irish myth about a man named Stingy Jack. Irish immigrants brought the tradition to America, home of the pumpkin, and it became an integral part of the spooky celebration.
According to the story, Stingy Jack invited the Devil to have a drink with him. Remaining true to his name, Stingy Jack didn't want to pay for his glass, so he convinced the Devil to turn himself into a coin that Jack could use to pay for their order. But when the Devil obliged, Jack decided to keep the money and put it into his pocket next to a silver cross, which would prevent the Devil from going back to his original form.
Jack eventually freed the Devil, but under the condition that he would not bother Jack for a whole year and that, should Jack die, he would not claim his soul.
The next year, Jack tricked the Devil again. This time, by making him climb into a tree to pick a piece of fruit. While he was up in the tree, Jack carved a cross into the tree's bark so that the Devil could not come down. Now, the Devil had to promise not to bother Jack for ten more years.
Soon after, Jack died. As the legend has it, God didn't allow such an unsavory individual into heaven. But the Devil, who was still upset by the tricks Jack had played on him, kept his word and didn't claim Jack's soul.
So since Jack couldn't enter hell either, he ended up in the dark night with only a burning coal to light his way. Jack put the coal into a carved-out turnip and has been roaming the Earth with it ever since, thus earning the name "Jack of the Lantern," and later, simply "Jack O'Lantern."
My 16-Year-Old Niece’s Halloween Pumpkin Carving
Peter Peter The Pumpkin Eater
In Ireland and Scotland, people began to make their own versions of Jack's lanterns, carving scary faces into turnips or potatoes and placing them near windows or doors to frighten away Stingy Jack and other evil spirits that might've also been wandering the night. In England, people used large beets.
Immigrants from these countries brought the tradition with them when they came to the US and soon discovered that pumpkins, a fruit native to their new home, make perfect jack-o'-lanterns.