On the last day of October it's not uncommon to see them flickering in the fall breezes of late October. They add an air of "spooky" to the spooky season and let's face it, without a carved and lit pumpkin on the front porch, are you really celebrating Halloween?

Ivan Bliznetsov, Getty Stock / ThinkStock

The idea of putting a fire inside a carved vegetable is not new. The Irish were allegedly carving faces into turnips hundreds of years ago and that's how the tradition got started. The name Jack -O-Lantern actually comes from an old Irish tale about a man name Stingy Jack. The story has to do with a bar bet between a guy named Jack and the Devil. You can see how it all turns out right here.

So, we've established why we put lit flames inside gourds, turnips, and pumpkins but the real question in these times of extreme drought in Louisiana is should you put a lit candle inside a pumpkin for Halloween in Louisiana?

Aleksandr_Vorobev, Getty Stock / ThinkStock
Aleksandr_Vorobev, Getty Stock / ThinkStock

When it comes to fire and smoke, we like to involve the experts and in Louisiana that means the Office of the Louisiana State Fire Marshal. We reached out to Ashley Rodrigue who is the Public Affairs director for the Louisiana State Fire Marshal's Office and we ask her this question

Children Enjoy Traditional Halloween Pumpkins
Photo by Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images

In Louisiana Is It Against the Law to Use a Lit Candle Inside a Pumpkin ?

Here is Ashley's response to our query:

Even outside of a burn ban, we do not advise using candles in Halloween decorations at all. Certainly within one, we'd advise more strongly against it.

So, to paraphrase the position of the Louisiana State Fire Marshal's Office on it's not against the law to light your pumpkin with a real candle and flame. However, the State Fire Marshal's Office would really appreciate it if you didn't.

Louisiana State Fire Marshal's Vehicle
State Fire Marshal Facebook

We also asked if a candle in a pumpkin was considered to be a violation of Louisiana's current burn ban, Here's how Ashely responded to that question:

because a Jack-o-Lantern is contained, a candle inside of it isn't considered open burning. The use of open flames in fire pits, campfires, barrels, bonfires, burn piles and like-open burning is included in the burn ban.

The forecast for Halloween Night in Louisiana is going to be very chilly. So, the thought of a warm fire certainly would be appealing. But you need to realize that Louisiana is in an extreme drought and the winds will be gusty on Halloween evening. So that could enhance the opportunity for any open flames, sparks, or glowing embers to spark a grass fire or even worse, spark a blaze in a residential area.

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