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The jack-o-lantern is a Halloween tradition in the United States. Children around the country venture out to the pumpkin farm, select a nicely rounded and large specimen, and take it home for carving. The top is removed, the contents scooped out, and a scary face are generally carved. At night, children place a candle inside for its eerie effects.

Although both Britain and Ireland have carved lanterns from vegetables such as turnips long ago, they didn't do so specifically for Halloween. Vegetables were carved in the fall season, but only because this was the harvest season. Pumpkins, turnips, and other similar vegetables became ripe. Faces were sometimes carved, though. The link between jack-o'-lanterns and Halloween began sometime in the US during the mid-1800s.

Preview the lesson material:

Warm Up: Discuss the question with your partner for five minutes.

  1. What do you know about Halloween? Please explain.

Comprehension Questions: Answer the questions before/after your read the article.

  1. Why is a candle placed inside the pumpkin?
               a. because it's used as a lantern at night
               b. to scare people
               c. to cook Halloween candy
               d. the article doesn't provide a clear reason
  2. What is the best summary for the second paragraph?
               a. The US started the tradition of the jack-o'-lantern.
               b. The paragraph introduces the history of the jack-o'-lantern.
               c. The pumpkin is linked with the harvest season.
               d. This paragraph talks about how to carve the pumpkin.

Discuss: Discuss these questions with a partner. Remember to support your answers.

  1. Have you ever carved a jack-o'-lantern? If yes, please explain. If no, would you want to?
  2. What other Halloween traditions are there?
  3. Does your country have any holidays and/or traditions for the fall season?

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