Jack-o’-lanterns

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In the spirit of Halloween, the U.S. Postal Service issued stamps featuring photographs of four different jack-o’-lanterns. These creatively carved pumpkins have been symbols of Halloween in the United States since the late 19th century, not long after celebrations of the holiday began here.

The jack-o’-lanterns depicted on the stamps were carved by Paul Montanari and photographed by Sally Andersen-Bruce.

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Brought to North America by immigrants from Ireland and Scotland, Halloween became a distinctively American celebration that transcended social boundaries and ethnic origin. After World War II, widespread enthusiasm for trick-or-treating gave the holiday a youthful emphasis, but since the 1970s adults have increasingly joined the festivities once again. A 2014 survey showed that nearly 67 percent of the American population celebrates Halloween in some way.

With customs and traditions that vary widely by community, Halloween now inspires parades and revelry, corn mazes and haunted houses, neighborhood and school parties, jack-o’-lantern and pumpkin festivals, and even pumpkin-catapulting. No matter how or where people observe this ever-changing holiday, it remains a much-anticipated celebration of the macabre in the face of approaching winter.

The Jack-o’-lanterns collection is now available for purchase at usps.com/stamps, at 800-STAMP24 (800-782-6724), and at Post Offices nationwide.

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