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16 October 2009 @ 05:20 pm
Halloween question  
Right. Here's a question for you: sis is doing a halloween party and has a book with instructions to make 'jack's lanterns' out of tin cans. What are they for? Why are they full of ice? Are they just for decoration or what?
Wolfram D. Scottwaddis on October 16th, 2009 04:25 pm (UTC)
Assuming that the confusion is a difference in Scottish and North American Halloween tradition, Jack o' Lanterns are objects, typically pumpkins, with carvings of faces or pictures in the side. The interior is then illuminated, so that the face or image glows at night.

Also, Google is showing me that a "Jack's Lantern" is a pumpkin ale, but I'm pretty sure you'd need more than just a tin can to make that.

Hope that helps.
the girl who used to dance on fire and brimstone: leffe//mmmm beer - monkey_mattwhiskyinmind on October 17th, 2009 01:46 pm (UTC)
Heh! Nah, I know what a Jack O'Lantern is - I think it's actually originally a Scottish (or at least Celtic) tradition but we used turnips/swedes because pumpkins weren't that common here.

The photograph basically shows a tin can - like a soup can - with holes punched in it. I guess it's some kind of decoration thing, but honestly, it looks kinda lame compared to all the other things this woman makes. Still, I guiess maybe she just had a bad day or something and thought it would be a good idea.

I actually did some research for a challengs fic I wrote years ago around Hallowe'en time and dound out where the whole Jack O'Lantern thing comes from, I forget the exact details but it's the spirit of an old guy who lures travellers from the beaten track using his lantern - most people reckon the myth came from sightings of marsh gas and/or ball lightening. Presumably the tin can thing is this woman's attmept to re-create the lantern old Jack uses.

It's just, like I say, they're kinda lame.

Thanks for looking!

(edited twice because my spelling is shocking today!)

Edited at 2009-10-17 01:47 pm (UTC)
Wolfram D. Scottwaddis on October 17th, 2009 08:18 pm (UTC)
There's actually an adaptation of that story involving a conductor with a broken down train who's lured from the tracks to investigate such a lantern, only to find a decapitated spirit. With the lantern.

It's kinda weird, actually, how much the spirit-with-a-lantern concept shows up. Will o' the wisps, fairy lights, to name a few.

And never for good intentions. Like, the spirit's never pointing out the way to a really good diner or something.

Sounds like they're being pretty literal with the Jack's lantern thing. Maybe you're supposed to hide really far away in the dark and see if you can lure kids away from the...

You know, maybe you should do that. That can't lead anywhere good.
velvetwhip: Cow by lecollagevelvetwhip on October 16th, 2009 04:40 pm (UTC)
waddis is right. Here in the USA, we carve Jack O' Lanterns from pumpkins and sometimes put a candle or light inside to illuminate them at night. (You can also buy plastic Jack O' Lanterns which are made to look like pumpkins).

the girl who used to dance on fire and brimstone: primeval //gonna die - mewhiskyinmind on October 17th, 2009 01:50 pm (UTC)

Yeah, I knew what a Jack O'Lantern was - like I said to waddis, I think it's originally a Celtic tradition - this thing comes from a book of suggestions for Hallowe'en decorations and shows what is basically a tin can with holes punched in it.

It's probably just for decorating but to honest, it looks really rubbish compared to the rest of the book. We (Sis and I) were just wondering if this tin can thing was something that's always been done in the States.

I'm guessing not though!

velvetwhipvelvetwhip on October 17th, 2009 04:27 pm (UTC)
Ah. *cringes* Sorry! I wasn't sure what they do over there. But no, no tin cans that I have ever seen.