The Great Pumpkin

While it’s fun, Hallowe’en isn’t such a big thing here in the UK as it is across the Atlantic. When I was a kid, we didn’t go Trick or Treating – and to be honest, not many kids do these days either. At least, not in my part of London. We did sometimes go ‘guising’, but there wasn’t much in the way of the ‘give us sweeties or we’ll toilet paper your car and egg your cat’ mentality of the US Hallowe’en. More that we’d trail around the streets with a hollowed-out turnip (‘rutabaga’ to you speakers of strange English) with a stump of candle inside, since pumpkins weren’t as common here then as they are now, and try to drum up a few pennies towards our fireworks for Guy Fawkes Night on 5 November.

These days the shops try to puff up Hallowe’en by putting out racks of costumes for kids and piling up boxes of sweets in the hope we’ll bite and spend zillions on trying to be more like the US. Usually vast quantities of these go on sale on 1 November, which is a great time to stock up on cheap sweeties. Guy Fawkes Night is a far bigger holiday here. No costumes needed, just a big bonfire and lots of sparkly fireworks, grilled sausages and big mugs of hot chocolate.  Heaven.

Photo from Wiki Creative Commons

Despite their smaller size, turnip (or ‘neep’) jack-o’-lanterns are seriously more sinister than their pumpkin counterparts – points upwards.  Something to do with colour graduation perhaps, and how the bottom half has an unhealthy pallor topped by the darker red on the crown. This creepy, almost mummy-like lantern is from a museum focused on Irish social history. Compared to that, the pumpkin is a jolly old fellow, out for a laugh rather than something that would suck your brains out as soon as look at you.

However – and the whole point of this post! – I couldn’t find much in the way of steampunk turnip jack-o’-lanterns to share with you today. On the admittedly unlikely and flimsy premise that if Rafe and Ned of The Gilded Scarab decided to go out guising, they’d need some seriously steampunky lanterns to take with them. So here they are:

Photo: Gena Rumple
Photo: Gena Rumple

 CLICK here  to find Gena Rumple’s instructions for making her fabulous steampunk pumpkins.

Have a fun Hallowe’en and an even better Guy Fawkes, people.




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