Gillette Law Group October 2017

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It’s the most recognizable symbol of Halloween: a bright orange orb, hollowed out, with a glowing visage and a green- stemmed cap. We call him Jack. Carving jack-o’-lanterns has always been one of my favorite Halloween traditions. As a kid, the process was pretty simple. I put newspaper over the table and brought out my tools, a big spoon and a steak knife. I scooped out the guts and then fished out the seeds, which are delicious when roasted. carve out crude shapes, including squares, crescents, and big triangles. Then, I would light it using one of those tiny candles. (Nowadays, people prefer tiny lamps for safety reasons.) Modern-day pumpkin carving can get pretty technical. People drill holes, use surgical saws, and even stage their pumpkins with additional lighting. With “How are your carving skills? We’d love to find out!” such elaborate designs, it’s interesting to note that the humble origins of our favorite Halloween decoration didn’t begin with pumpkins at all. Thanks to archaeology, we know that people have been carving vegetables for about 10,000 years. You can find fossilized carvings of hollowed-out gourds in ancient history museums all over the world, particularly in Europe. Some cultures actually used them as practical lanterns, including the Maori people of Polynesia. These head-shaped lanterns often represented supernatural beings and were thought to ward off evil spirits. In 1820, illustrations and covers of “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow” used a pumpkin in place of the Headless Horseman’s head, which also added to their spooky reputation. People started to associate them with dead spirits living on Earth. Using the large steak knife, I would

the jack-o’-lantern was born when a man made a deal with the devil to never lose his soul. But when the man lived a bad life and didn’t qualify for heaven after his death, the devil gave him a burning ember as a parting gift, so the man took his light and inhabited a hollow turnip. Not a pumpkin! In fact, most early incarnations were made out of large turnips, which were easily carved.

The name stuck. Jack began to be regularly associated with the

harvest season in general, not just Halloween. It was even considered appropriate decor for Thanksgiving in the early 20th century. The spooky nature of it must have been the reason it eventually became emblematic of Halloween. That brings us to today, when a jack-o’-lanterns can be a creepy face, a worded message, or even the Death Star. I love seeing carvers who think outside the box. How are your carving skills? We’d love to find out! That’s why we’re hosting a Facebook competition for the best jack-o’-lantern. Carve us your best, take a picture, and share on the Gillette Law Group official Facebook page ( Share the post with your friends because the top three posts with the most “likes” will get a gift card for a free turkey on us!

N e x t D o o r Bu

We look forward to seeing what you’ve got!

– Brian Gillette

In 1835, the Dublin Penny Journal published a special Halloween article that told the original legend of “Jack-o’-the-Lantern.” In the legend,

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