It is a curious tradition, the carving of Jack-o-lanterns.
There are plenty of articles out there sharing the actual history of the practice, some folks claiming it is a strictly Christian tradition, while others claim a more ancient past, but what it all boils down to is that somewhere along the way, someone decided that carving faces in vegetables (and later fruit, right? A squash is a fruit) would repel evil spirits.
Doesn’t seem to be working.
Bombings, shootings…, plenty of evil spirits out and about these days.
Then again, most folks seem to be buying plastic jack-o-lanterns from Target and Walmart, so maybe that’s why the effectiveness has worn off. ‘Cause the the power can’t be in the fruit, or the candle, or even the scary face. If there’s any power at all behind those hollow eyes, anything there watching and guarding, it has to have been placed there by us.
It is up to us to work the magic that wards our homes and our land from those who would cause us harm.
Plastic pumpkins are probably just another symptom of us falling down on the job.
I really don’t care who came up with the tradition, I truly enjoy the the few hours I set aside every October to carve a few jack-o-lanterns.
And I love the looks on the faces of the trick-or-treaters, even the littlest ones, who can tell the difference between something real and original, and something bought in a store.
The parents notice too. Often they will say something about not being all that good at it, or struggling to find the time. But I always encourage them to make the effort. Skill comes from practice and power from persistence.
And the gods well know, we could use more jack-o-lanterns in the world these days.
A blessed Samhain to you all. And a Happy Halloween!