Crisp weather, football games, changing leaves, spiced apple cider, hayrides, and the great pumpkin mark the fall season. With the promise of sweater and boot weather on the horizon, pumpkins and fall are in perfect harmony with each other. Their round bright orange color makes this seasonal fruit an iconic symbol for fall and two widely celebrated U.S. holidays—Halloween and Thanksgiving.
The pumpkin’s heyday is the month of October when this delicious vitamin enriched fruit is harvested; entire festivals celebrate its very existence. For many American families, the Halloween tradition commands an annual trip to the pumpkin patch. For kids picking the perfect pumpkin to carve, illuminate, and proudly display is a delightful experience well-worth the trip.
The First Jack-o-Lantern
So, here’s the lowdown. The fact is pumpkins were not the first fruit to be carved. The original jack-o-lantern was most likely a turnip. Other vegetables such as potatoes, rutabagas, beets, and gourds were also used. Can you even imagine? We can attribute this tradition dating back hundreds of years ago to the folks in Ireland. As the story goes, it seems on All Hallows’ Eve they hallowed out the vegetable of their choice. Then, placed candles in the empty centers and set them in windows and on porches to ward off evil spirits and the infamous Stingy Jack. An Irish folklore, this centuries old tale set the stage for a very popular American custom. It wasn’t until the 1800s when Irish immigrants came to the states that the pumpkin rose to new heights. And overtook the turnip’s role.
Today, pumpkin carving scores a 10 on the fun-o-meter. It brings families and friends together, and spurs our imaginations while also challenging our inner creativity. They can take on the face of anyone or anything we want them to be. From spooky ghosts to evil witches, goblins, spiders, and even smiley faces, there’s a multitude of possibilities. You don’t even need to carve one to create unique, one-of-a-kind designs. Paint, markers, stencils and no-carving inspirational ideas abound.
Interesting and Fun Pumpkin Facts to Know
- Here’s a fact, but it’s no secret. We love to eat foods made with pumpkins. Scrumptious recipes for tasty pies, soups, breads, cakes, bars, cookies, and ice cream are endless. As a delectable favorite on Thanksgiving tables throughout the U.S., pumpkin pie takes the top spot in the dessert category. Also, no secret. Other desserts like pumpkin cheesecake, sweet potato pie, and pecan pie run a close second depending in which part of the country you live in.
- Pumpkins have been grown in North America for over 5,000 years.
- The state of Illinois takes the prize when it comes to pumpkin production. According to the Illinois Department of Agriculture, 95% of the U.S crop used for processing is grown in Illinois. Those states behind the reigning king include Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and California.
- Pumpkins are grown world-wide and on every continent except Antarctica.
- The average-sized pumpkin can contain up to 500 seeds.
- According to an entry in the Guinness Book of World Records, the heaviest pumpkin ever recorded weighed over 2,600 pounds. It was grown in Germany.
The fall season starts September 23! While temperatures may not reflect this (at least not in Texas), there's no reason why you shouldn't get your home ready for all things fall. Stop by Breed & Company for all of your interior and exterior fall season and Halloween decorating needs. After all, this fall all you need is Breed.