Published in the October 22, 2018 edition.

WAKEFIELD — Fright Night is coming to the Galvin Auditorium on the afternoon-evening of Thursday, October 25 featuring two showings at 4 p.m. and 7 p.m. of student made horror films. This is an awesome event, where you can check out some incredible student films created in the Video Production Classes. Admission to the movies is $5.

After the movies, you can stroll on down to the Beebe Library steps to see over 200 student-carved pumpkins created by WMHS Art students who have been working hard to create the best showing yet. Make sure you bring your appetite because bake sale treats from the WMHS Culinary Arts classes will be available at the Carved Pumpkin Display including their “famous” Pumpkin Whoopie Pies.

Wakefield’s carved pumpkin display at the Beebe Library is a tradition that has been going on for over 20 years. The tradition of carving pumpkins for Halloween dates back to the Celts. As part of their autumnal celebration, people wanted to light the way to their homes for the good spirits, so they carved faces into vegetables such as turnips and squash. A light was placed within the hollowed out vegetable.

These carved vegetables were eventually called Jack O’Lanterns by the Irish who told a legend about a farmer named Jack who made a bargain with the devil that left him wandering the earth for all time. Stingy Jack’s tricked the Devil into promising to never take Jack’s soul.

As the story goes, Stingy Jack eventually died. Because of his sinful ways, he was not accepted into heaven. And, true to the devil’s promise, Stingy Jack was not allowed into hell either. He was left all alone in the dark with nowhere to go. The devil gave Jack an ember with eternal flames from hell to walk with. Jack carved a turnip and placed the light inside of it to help him as he wandered through the darkness for eternity.

As the story continued to be told throughout history, people began carving scary faces and characters on different vegetables holding burning coals for protection against the dark spirits, just like Stingy Jack. When early settlers arrived in America and found a bountiful supply of pumpkins, they soon adopted the pumpkin as the best fruit (and it is a fruit) for carving Jack O’Lanterns.