Pumpkins a big part of holiday
Michelle Blaylock, Mom's Corner
After last week's article, someone mentioned to me that I forgot to include pumpkins when I was discussing Halloween. Well, I actually didn't forget. There is just so much to say about them that I decided they needed their own article.
Of course, I think the first thing that comes to mind when we think of pumpkins, especially around Halloween, is jack-o-lanterns. I knew there was some legend that went with them, but I couldn't remember what it was. Internet to the rescue!
It is from an Irish legend that we get jack-o-lanterns. As the story goes, Jack was a terrible man who drank too much and enjoyed playing tricks on everyone. Well, somehow Jack tricked Satan into climbing a tree and then Jack carved a cross on the tree trapping Satan. Jack made Satan promise to never tempt him again in order to get out of the tree.
Eventually Jack dies, but can't get into heaven and Satan wouldn't let him into hell either. So poor Jack was cursed to wander around in the darkness with a single ember to guide him. Jack put the ember in a hollowed out turnip to protect it and make it last longer. The Irish actually used turnips for their jack-o-lanterns until they immigrated to America. They found pumpkins to be more plentiful than turnips in their new country so they switched.
I also read a wonderful story using a pumpkin as the illustration for what it means to be a Christian. You see, our Heavenly Father takes us in when we are dirty from sin. He washes us clean, cleans all the nasty stuff out of us, gives us a new face and puts His light in us.
As for carving pumpkins, personally, I love the pumpkin carving kits. They are a lot safer than the knife method. We bought a kit several years ago and I just store it with our other Halloween things. It's right where we need it year after year.
I also enjoy the pumpkin carving patterns. Granted, this may be cheating just a little, but for those of us who are not creative carvers the patterns are life savers. I've found a wonderful web site by "Pumpkin Masters," which has wonderful tips on carving, keeping the pumpkin fresh, and different types of illumination, among other things. The web site is www.pumpkinmasters.com.
Some of their suggestions include using a little bleach mixed with water to keep the mold down, keep the jack-o-lantern in the refrigerator when not on display, and soak a shriveling pumpkin in water to revive it. This site also has several free patterns to download.
Not into the "carving" thing? You can still make a jack-o-lantern of sorts by using acrylic paint to paint the face or design on your pumpkin.
Of course, pumpkins aren't just for jack-o-lanterns. This year I have seen many great ideas in magazines and on the internet for using pumpkins in decorating. One that I really loved was using small pumpkins to spell out the word "welcome" with each pumpkin having a different letter painted in acrylic paint.
Another idea I liked was hollowing out the pumpkin and putting a vase filled with an autumn bouquet inside. This would look great on a Thanksgiving table.
I've often noticed that pumpkins in magazines have such a brilliant shine and wondered how they got that look. Well, this year I stumbled upon the answer, but I can't remember the magazine that I found it in!
Luckily, I do remember the answer. They shine them with vegetable oil or petroleum jelly. (If someone knows where this came from, please let me know so I can give credit where credit is due. Thanks.)
There is another use for pumpkins that I think we may forget about sometimes-eating! I'll save that one for next week.
If you have a question, tip or suggestion for Mom's Corner, please send it to: Mom's Corner; P.O. Box 1496; Hartselle, AL 35640 or e-mail it to: firstname.lastname@example.org.