Pumpkins and other Halloween FYIs

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This past weekend, a bunch of us went to a local farm to buy pumpkins, drink hot apple cider, revel in the awesomeness that is warm apple cider donuts, and enjoy the overwhelming “fall-ness” of the day.

Now, whether you go for the perfectly round, the oval, the squat, or the awkward shaped pumpkins, the most important aspect is the carving.

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Are you a “just go for it” pumpkin carver? Do you plan out your carving beforehand with a marker? Carve the same silly jack-o-lantern face every year? Carve words? Silly or scary faces?

There are so many options for your Halloween carving. How you choose to decorate or carve your pumpkin says a lot about you.

Classical – easygoing, enjoys traditions, family oriented

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Talented and maybe a little nerdy, with way too much time on their hands

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Trashy / Frat Boy

puking pumpkin stripper-pumpkin

The list could go on and on.

A couple of things (much from Wikipedia):

1.  Pumpkins are of the squash family – hence all of the stringy goop inside

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2.  Canned “pumpkin” puree is actually made from one or more types of winter squash, like butternut, Hubbard, Boston Marrow, and Golden Delicious. These squash varieties can be less stringy and richer in sweetness and color than pumpkin.

3. Pumpkins can grow to be huge!  But are usually are only allowed to do so for competition.

4. The origin of carving pumpkins is widely unknown, since people have been carving vegetables for ages. Literally.  As gourds were the earliest plant species domesticated by humans c. 10,000 years ago.  Gourds were carved by Maori over 700 years ago.  So let’s just say, this tradition is deeply ingrained.

5. A jack-o’-lantern was named after the phenomenon of strange light flickering over peat bogs, called will-o’-the-wisp or jack-o’-lantern.

6. By the early 1800s, “jack-o’-lantern” had also become the more popular name for a homemade object originally known as a “turnip lantern,”  “a lantern made by scooping out the inside of a turnip, carving the shell into a rude representation of the human face, and placing a lighted candle inside it.” For Catholic children it was customary to carry turnip lanterns door-to-door to represent the souls of the dead while begging for soul cakes on Hallowmas (All Saints Day, Nov. 1) and All Souls Day (Nov. 2). They were also carried by parading celebrants on Guy Fawkes Day (Nov. 5).

4805643407_f10daa9b72_bThis truly fearsome turnip from Ireland shows what the earliest jack o’ lanterns were like. 

And now you know….

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3 thoughts on “Pumpkins and other Halloween FYIs

  1. Hi,

    I could not find an option on here to contact you directly. The photo of the row of giant pumpkins under item 3 is my copyrighted photo. I would appreciate if you could remove it from your post.

    Thank you,
    Jessica Collins

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