By Cheryl Conley, TWRC Wildlife Center
It’s hard to believe that Halloween is just around the corner. One of my favorite things to do is to carve pumpkins into Jack-o-lanterns. I’ve never given any thought to why we do that or how this custom started until I began writing this article.
There are many tales about the practice of carving pumpkins. One comes from Irish folklore. A man named Jack, who was a blacksmith, didn’t want to go to hell for his many sins so he tricked the devil into guaranteeing that he wouldn’t. When Jack died, little did he know that although he was spared from going to hell, he was also denied entrance into heaven. God did not want him. Legend has it that the devil gave Jack a burning coal which Jack put into a carved-out turnip to use as light while he roamed aimlessly somewhere between heaven and hell. Thus the name Jack-o-lantern was born.
Legends aside, we all love carving pumpkins but isn’t it a shame that most of them end up in the trash when the holiday is over? Well, this year, don’t trash them! Feed our wildlife. Please keep in mind that these suggestions only apply to pumpkins that haven’t been painted or decorated which can be toxic to wildlife.
- Make a bird feeder (see photo). Use wooden dowels and strong twine. It’s a good idea to punch holes in the bottom of the pumpkin to let water drain. You can also cover the holes you made to make the face so the seed doesn’t spill out.
- Save the pumpkin seeds for large birds and small mammals. Let the seeds dry out and then place them in a shallow bowl or flat tray. If the seeds aren’t being eaten, mix them with a small amount of black oil sunflower seeds.
- You can place small pumpkins around your yard. For larger pumpkins, cut into smaller pieces. Be sure to place some of the pieces in secluded areas of your yard.
There is magic in the night when pumpkins glow by moonlight. HAPPY HALLOWEEN!
TWRC Wildlife Center admits over 5,000 injured and orphaned animals every year. We don’t receive any City, State or Federal funding and we need your help. As you begin thinking about the holidays, please remember to include TWRC Wildlife Center in your gift-giving.
Donate through our website at www.twrcwildlifecenter.org/donate.Share