Troll Jack O'Lantern, 2014

Jack O’Lantern: A Halloween Tradition

Happy Halloween!

All Hallow’s Eve has come around! I hope you will forgive me that today’s topic is focused on sculpture rather than illustration. I wanted to share with you a little knowledge about one of my favourite Halloween traditions: The Jack O’Lantern.

 

Did you know that the Jack O'Lantern is named after the strange lights flickering over bogs?
The Folklore

The bog lights are also commonly known as the Will O’ The Wisp. Both names are found in folktales that have been recorded in many variants across Europe. The most common ones being from the British Islands, in the stories the protagonist, named Will or Jack, is doomed to haunt the marshes with a piece of charcoal in a lantern for misbehaving during his life.

 

An Irish Tradition

Supposedly the Irish brought the tradition of the Jack O’Lantern to the US. Originally they used to carve out turnips, gourds and potatoes but after immigrating to the US they discovered pumpkins were much easier to carve. The light in the pumpkin is meant to ward off evil spirits and keep Will or Jack away.

 

Pumpkin Party

Every year some of our friends have a Pumpkin Carving Party, which is a lot of  fun. The pictures below are all the pumpkins I have carved since my first experience with the American Halloween tradition in 2010. How about you, do you like carving pumpkins? If so I’d love to see, so share a photo in the comments below of your Jack O’Lantern!

Kiri Østergaard Leonard
kiri@kirileonard.com

Kiri Østergaard Leonard is an award winning illustrator and artist from Denmark, currently living in Austin, Texas. She enjoys working on projects within the fantasy and children's illustration genre.

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