Are these Harry Potter pumpkins the best in South Yorkshire?

Harry Potter arrives for Halloween thanks to Stacy Kearsley Paul and Amelia
Harry Potter arrives for Halloween thanks to Stacy Kearsley Paul and Amelia

A ghoulish face is enough for many pumpkin-carvers, however some families across South Yorkshire have gone that extra-mile with their designs. But are they a cut-above the rest? 

For centuries people have made ‘Jack-o’-lanterns’, which are filled with candles to illuminate the spooky designs on front.

A spooky Frankenstein pumpkin

A spooky Frankenstein pumpkin

Each year carvers show off their knife skills transforming their pumpkins with intricate and elaborate designs, making it a sure sign of the Halloween season. 

And this year is no different, with people across South Yorkshire sharing pictures of their carvings – with everything from Harry Potter, to Frankenstein and Peppa Pig. 

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Many believe the tradition of pumpkin carving comes from 19th Century Ireland, where they used to carve turnips and potatoes as a canvas, based on a folktale about a man named Stingy Jack, who invited the Devil to drink with him. 

An eerie ET pumpkin by Toni McCloy

An eerie ET pumpkin by Toni McCloy

True to his name, Stingy Jack did not want to pay for his drink, so instead convinced the Devil to turn himself into a coin that Jack could then use to buy their drinks. 

However, once the Devil did so, Jack decided to keep the money, putting it in his pocket next to a silver cross which prevented the Devil from changing back into his original form. 

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Jack eventually freed the Devil, under the condition that he would not bother Jack for one year and that, should Jack die, he would not claim his soul.

Peppa Pig and the Cheshire cat

Peppa Pig and the Cheshire cat

The next year, Jack again tricked the Devil into climbing into a tree to pick a piece of fruit.

Whilst he was up in the tree, Jack carved a sign of the cross into the tree’s bark so that the Devil could not come down until the Devil promised Jack not to bother him for ten more years.

Soon after Jack died, however God would not allow him into Heaven, and the Devil, upset by the trick he had played, would not allow Jack into hell. 

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Instead the Devil sent him into the night, with only a burning coal to light his way. He then put this into a carved out turnip, and as legend goes, he has been roaming the world ever since. 

The tradition is still common practice today across the world, with many displaying pumpkins on their doorsteps in the run up to, and on Halloween.