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Roots in Celtic festivals, jack-o’-lanterns are relics of harvest rites, helped calm fear of roving spirits

Delia DiCarlo, 7, left, and Sarah DeRossi, 7, both of Rotterdam, prepare pumpkins to be carved into jack-o'-lanterns in Sarah's dining room on Wednesday.
Photographer: Peter R. Barber
Delia DiCarlo, 7, left, and Sarah DeRossi, 7, both of Rotterdam, prepare pumpkins to be carved into jack-o'-lanterns in Sarah's dining room on Wednesday.
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Halloween has an orange complexion. Triangular eyes and jagged teeth are features in round heads. Sometimes, a smile flickers across the face. On other autumn evenings, a scowl complements a blazing gaze. Trick-or-treaters know the looks. October may be known as the season of the witch, but the last night of the month is the night of the living, leering pumpkin. Jack-o’-lanterns have been lighting front porches, windows and yards in the United States for ...

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