The Celts would make these lanterns with scary faces to frighten off malevolent spirits. Turnips are not the most forgiving vegetable. They take quite a bit of work to create the jack-o-lantern, so make sure that parents are doing the carving.
Strong spoon for scraping or melon baller
Tea light candles
Wire for hanging
Choose a large turnip so you have enough space to make face.
- Cut off the top and bottom, so you have a flat bottom and a lid.
- Hollow out the center. This can be tough. I suggest you use the combination of your knife and strong spoon.
- On the side you carve out the face, thin the side by scraping with your spoon. This makes it easier to carve out the face.
- You can carve out shapes or whatever you like the light shines through really nice!
- Place a small tealight candle in the bottom and light.
- If you want to hang it, use craft wire and push through the sides and pull up and twist.
An easy variation would be to leave the turnip intact and draw faces on it similar to the small pumpkins sold this time of year.
Be sure to tell the kids the history and significance of the turnip jack-o-lanterns.
Check out Martha Stewart’s Jack O Lanterns: http://www.marthastewart.com/272904/turnip-jack-o-lanterns