I love carving jack o'lanterns and do gothic haunted houses, castles and stuff for my house and friends and relatives and I thought I'd do a dragon this year so I made some stencils which anyone can download and use. Above you'll find three dragons , a hard version and medium and easy versions. We also have a 'Castell Coch' stencil here for those of you who prefer 'creepy castle' designs. The dragon is an emblem of Wales and can be seen on the national flag:-'Y Ddraig Goch'. So if you are Welsh or of Welsh descent carving a dragon pumpkin is a superb way of celebrating Halloween and your 'Welshness' at the same time. If not, well, it's a great motif anyway.
There are pictures of the dragons on this page, both in outline and as finished products. Full directions are included with each of the Dragon Stencil downloads. If you try one of our stencil patterns please feel free to send us a picture or post in the comments box below. Read on for an account of some interesting Welsh Halloween customs.
The easy and medium design patterns can be carved out or done by scraping away the outer rind and hollowing out the pumpkin to leave a thin wall of pumpkin meat in the areas in black. The hard pattern is better done by the second method i.e. not actually carving out sections but scraping away the outer rind and hollowing out the pumpkin to leave a thin wall of pumpkin meat in the areas in black below.
Cut out black sections with X-Acto knife and trace on pumpkin with crayon or wipe erase marker OR hold stencil over pumpkin surface and poke around silhouette of black areas with pin, then remove stencil and carve sections outlined by holes.
Make your jack o'lantern last longer by washing the inside with lemon juice to retard mold growth, then coat insides and exposed inner membrane with petroleum jelly to keep moist.
Easy Dragon Pattern
This is an easy difficulty design. It can be carved out or done by scraping away the outer rind and hollowing out the pumpkin to leave a thin wall of pumpkin meat in the areas in black, above.
Medium Dragon Pattern
This is a medium difficulty design. It can be carved out or done by scraping away the outer rind and hollowing out the pumpkin to leave a thin wall of pumpkin meat in the areas in black, above.
Copyright ©2009, StoryForge Studios
Hard Dragon Pattern
This is a more difficult design. It is better done by not actually carving out sections but scraping away the outer rind and hollowing out the pumpkin to leave a thin wall of pumpkin meat in the areas in black, above.
Copyright ©2009, StoryForge Studios
Old Welsh Customs Associated With Halloween / Nos Calan Gaeaf
Nos Calan Gaeaf is the Welsh term for Samhain otherwise known as Halloween in English. It has its roots in ancient pagan tradition. Whilst Samhain means 'November' in Irish Gaelic, Nos Calan Gaeaf in Welsh means 'the night of the first day of winter'.
It should be pointed out that pumpkin carving is not an ancient Welsh tradition. Indeed pumpkins were unknown in Europe in pre-Columbian times. How rapidly their cultivation spread westward to Britain and ultimately Wales after 1492 is a matter for conjecture. Of course pumpkins grow very well in Wales today, particularly, it would seem, if they are raised on a diet of real ale - Giant pumpkin fed on beer
Ghastly faces were, however, carved on turnips to ward off evil spirits on Halloween night in parts of England, Scotland and Ireland. It seems unlikely that the practice was entirely unknown in Wales.
One custom most certainly associated with Wales (and other parts of Britain) was the 'Puzzling Jug'. For more on this, see the following post:- What Did The Welsh Do On Halloween? - The Puzzling Jug
Puzzling jugs were very popular in the 18th and 19th centuries. Typically an inscription challenges the drinker to consume the contents without spilling them, which, because the neck of the jug is perforated, is impossible to do conventionally. This occasioned much hilarity when unwary drinkers inundated themselves with ale.
Other specifically Welsh customs include the Coelcerth, Yr Hwch Ddu Gwta and more. From the Wikipedia:
Coelcerth - Families build a fire and place stones with their names on it. The person whose stone is missing the next morning would die within the year.
Yr Hwch Ddu Gwta - Legend has it that a fearsome spirit called Yr Hwch Ddu Gwta took the form of a tail-less black sow and roamed the countryside with a headless woman. Children would rush home early.
Eiddiorwg Dalen - A few leaves of ground ivy is thought to give you the power to see hags. For prophetic dreams a boy should cut ten ivy leaves, throw away one and put the rest under his head before he sleeps. A girl should take a wild rose grown into a hoop, creep through it three times, cut it in silence, and go to bed with it under her pillow.
Teiliwr - In Glamorgan tailors were associated with witchcraft. They supposedly possessed the power to ‘bewitch’ anybody if they wished.
Twco Fala/fale Ducking apples
For more on these and other ancient Welsh customs and superstitions you might wish to consult 'Cambrian Superstitions', an excellent work on Welsh folklore published by William Howells in 1831. The full title of the book is 'Cambrian superstitions, comprising ghosts, omens, witchcraft, traditions, To which are added a concise view of the manners and customs of the principality, and some fugitive pieces' There are links to buy, or read online from the Internet Archive, in the advertisement below.