The weather turns crisp, a harsh wind as sharp as Dracula’s teeth bites at your neck, and the spicy scent of Halloween infuses the air with an aura of mystery. It’s the season for masks and masquerades, ghouls and ghosts. The time to transform pumpkins into Jack O’Lanterns, flicker their inner flames, and flash their eerie eyes and wicked, gape-toothed smiles.

As a sculptor knows what lives inside its marble and chisels it free, you too must determine what’s inside your pumpkin and who your Jack O’Lantern will be. Draw some sketches on paper, and once you have an idea, use a heavy duty marker to create the outline of where you will make your incisions.

For a Jack O’Lantern to be born, it must first be carefully carved from a large pumpkin. It’s a messy job, prepare your carving area for easy cleanup by laying down an abundance of old newspapers or a throwaway dropcloth.

When your pumpkin is ready for its lobotomy, carefully plunge a large knife through the top and work your way around to create a lid with the pumpkin stem. Make it big enough so you can scoop out all of its innards onto the dropcloth, leaving no seed or string behind.

Using a pumpkin carving kit, gently and carefully carve out the eyes, nose, and mouth. When your pumpkin has a face, it’s time to light him up!

In the not so distant past, folks would line the inside of their pumpkin with foil and place votives inside. If the candles burned down, it posed a serious fire hazard. Nowadays we can use things like liquid paraffin to light our Jack O’Lanterns, or even flameless tealights, a much safer way to keep Jack lit up.

Bring Jack outside and place him on your porch or doorstep. When the lights go down and darkness falls, place the illuminator (tealight, votive, or liquid paraffin) inside your Jack O’Lantern and bring the legend of Stingy Jack to life.

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