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The story of Stingy Jack… & getting your garden Halloween ready!

halloween ghost
halloween lantern in garden grass stingy jack

Stingy Jack? Who is he? Let’s begin with pumpkins. Pumpkins are now synonymous with Halloween, and you only have to scroll through any social media feed to see a plethora of Pumpkins during October with ghoulish expressions!

stingy jack pumpkin

As we get closer to October 31 itself, you’ll see a lot of gardens filled with Halloween decorations. A pumpkin lantern lighting the way for trick or treaters is a familiar sight.

child in garden with halloween pumpkin

But where did the tradition of pumpkin carving come from and why is it associated with Stingy Jack and Halloween?

You may think the Halloween tradition is an American tradition, and whilst they certainly go all out for the festival, its origins go further back!

black bat halloween

Pumpkins are thought to have originated in Central America over 7000 years ago.

Yet the tradition of pumpkins at Halloween specifically started in Ireland, where people used to use other types of veg to carve with, including turnips, and potatoes! Stingy Jack was an Irish mythical story about Jack, who died but wasn’t allowed into heaven or hell, so he roamed the world forever! The turnip and potato carving that people did in Ireland, was originally to create ghoulish faces to scare away Jack’s soul! When Irish people moved to America, they began to use pumpkins instead of the other veg, as they were more easily available!

stingy jack pumpkin

Then in the 8th Century, the Catholic Church moved their All Saints Day to November 1st, creating All Hallows’ Eve the day before. This was fast combined with wearing disguises to protect you from the souls coming to visit your home on Halloween! The Stingy Jack tradition was soon incorporated too, bringing us to where we are today, with Halloween costumes and pumpkin carving!

wicked witch halloween
stingy jack halloween carved pumpkin decorations
Halloween skeleton

Here are a few of our tips to turn your garden into a halloween delight!

Prepare your Halloween lantern by carving a simple demon face into your pumpkin. Position your pumpkin by the front door, and light up for trick or treaters. If you’re trying to avoid them- make a display in the back garden for your own enjoyment

haunted house
  • Some simple solar lights can help add to the spooky feel in your garden, you could string these along your fence, or a tree/bush. You can get Halloween themed lights, or just re use some Christmas ones.
witch on broomstick
  • Got any old sheets or pillowcases? You can turn these into ghost costumes to hang in the garden, to look like spooky ghosts swaying in the wind.
black bat
  • You can make black cats, bats, or witches hats shapes from cardboard, foam (painted black) and dot these around the garden. They’d look great as a feature amongst pumpkins in the corner of a flowerbed. You can put your pumpkin lantern amongst other squash such as a butternut squash or even a turnip to really take up tradition!

Happy Halloween everyone, from all at ColourFence and ColourRail!

Moira & Jo

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