"Jack-o'-lantern" first referred to night watchmen who carried lanterns because there were no street lamps. Jack, a popular diminutive of the name John, was often used to mean "man," and as a result, a man carrying a lantern was often referred to as a jack-o'-lantern. When turnips, carved with faces to ward off evil spirits, were lit from within, they were considered lanterns, too. Eventually, the term "jack-o'-lantern" came to refer to the smiling pumpkins we associate with Halloween. Lit from within, they glow on the stoops, in the yards, and in the windows of homes and shops all across the country. This time of year, images of haunted houses are everywhere, too. This project combines the jack-o'-lantern and the haunted house, and the eerie result -- a glowing pumpkin house suggesting unseen ghosts and monsters -- is as unusual as it is frightening. You can carve several haunted-house jack-o'-lanterns to create a haunted neighborhood.
Tools and Materials
Knife, for carving
Spoon or ice cream scoop
Utility knife, straight-blade knife, or small saw
Construction paper (optional)
Small Halloween toys (optional)
Fine-gauge or copper wire
Haunted Halloween Village How-To
1) Cut the top off the pumpkin with the knife. This will be the roof of the house.
2) Scoop the pulp out of the pumpkin.
3) Draw windows and a door on the pumpkin with the china marker.
4) Carve out the windows and door using a utility knife or another sharp tool. Keep cuts clean. The straighter the edges, the better. Remove any pulp hanging behind the windows or door.
5) Using a damp cheesecloth, wipe off any marks left on the surface of the pumpkin from the china marker.
6) To make the chimney, cut a rectangle out of the top of the pumpkin and pull out the piece. Break a toothpick in half, and insert each piece of toothpick into the sides of the hole left by the rectangle. Replace the piece you cut in its hole, resting on the toothpick pieces, so it sits up higher than the roof and resembles a chimney.
7) You can add construction-paper cutouts, suspended by wire, to the outside of the pumpkin: Cut out silhouettes of bats, cats, or witches in duplicate. Sandwich wire between two identical images using double-sided tape, then stick the wire into the roof of the pumpkin. This will create the effect of cats roaming, or bats or witches flying around the outside of the house. You can also use small Halloween toys in the windows to create interesting silhouettes.
8) Place a votive candle inside a glass holder into the pumpkin. Light will shine through the windows and door.