Where does the nickname Jack-O-Lantern come from?
The nickname Jack-O-Lantern comes from an old Irish tale about a man named Stingy Jack. In the legend, Stingy Jack was doomed to wander around holding a lantern forever.
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In Ireland, the spooky story of Stingy Jack inspired people to carve turnips into lanterns.
Turnips turned to pumpkins in the USA because pumpkins were more readily available.
In New England (old America), some mischievous kids would carve faces into pumpkins, light them up like a lantern, and then spook people with them. The prank was called “the jack-o-lantern trick.”
To grow a pumpkin, it take anywhere between 90 and 120 days.
Pumpkin Carving Contests for Cash Prizes
Pumpkinmasters.com has hosted 36 years of annual pumpkin carving contests, offering a $5,000 grand prize this year.
Another long-running pumpkin carving contest is from extremepumpkins.com. The 2020 winner is an intricately carved pumpkin picking his nose. The Extreme Pumpkin Carving Contest has been running since 2004.
How to Carve A Perfect Pumpkin
To carve a pumpkin, the first step is picking the perfect pumpkin.
Then, use a knife to cut off the top of the pumpkin, or the “crown.”
Next, scoop out all of the pumpkin guts: aka, the pumpkin seeds and goop inside.
Draw the design that you wish to carve on the front of the pumpkin with a marker.
If you want to make your carved pumpkin into a jack-o-lantern, put a tea light inside and replace the cap of the pumpkin.
The largest pumpkin in the world was grown by an Italian farmer. The pumpkin weighed 1,226 kg or 2,702 lbs. The pumpkin is as heavy as a car or 17 ½ adult men.
The pumpkin was weighed and entered in the Campionato della Zuccone pumpkin festival in 2021.
One judge of the contest remarked that she shivered and felt emotional the first time she saw the enormous pumpkin.
The previous record-holding pumpkin was a Belgian farmer, with a pumpkin that weighed 2,625 lbs or 1,190 kg.
Farmer Cutrupi gave this advice about growing a large pumpkin:
“There are no secrets. As in any other field, it’s about pursuing the goal with method and perseverance.”
Funnily enough, there is a separate record for the largest jack-o-lantern, or carved pumpkin. The largest jack-o-lantern weighed 2,350 lbs and was grown in the USA. The carving design was inspired by the popular Netflix documentary, “Tiger King.”