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Jack-o-lanterns and carved pumpkins

Updated on January 5, 2017
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Pumpkins

The word pumpkin comes from the original Greek, “pepon,” meaning “large melon”. We can find a wide variety of squashes not only the traditional orange one. Green, white, blue and orange hues are very versatile in their uses for decorations and food.

Most parts of the pumpkin are edible, including the fleshy shell, the seeds, the leaves, and even the flowers. These ones are told to be delicious in salads, soups or fried.

Pumpkins are a member of the gourd family and are native to Central America and Mexico. The oldest evidence dates back over 7000 years.

It is said that it was Columbus that introduced pumpkins in Europe where they were used primarily to feed pigs. Only later they began to be valued for human nourishment.

They can grow up to be anything from tiny to giants of more than 2,000 pounds.

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Jack-o-lanterns

Pumpkins are commonly carved into decorative lanterns called jack-o'-lanterns for the Halloween season. Throughout Britain and Ireland, there is a long tradition of carving lanterns from vegetables, that come from the celts. Originally these carved lanterns were used to turn away evil spirits that were believed to come to earth during Halloween.

The turnip has traditionally been used in Ireland and Scotland at Halloween, but native Americans introduced pumpkins to the Pilgrims that realized it was easier to carve them than turnips along with being an important food source that could be stored for winter.

Pumpkin shells were also used as templates for cutting hair in early colonies reason why New Englanders were sometimes nicknamed “pumpkinheads".

Not until 1837, does jack-o'-lantern appear as a term for a carved vegetable lantern, and the carved pumpkin lantern association with Halloween is recorded in 1866.

O,—fruit loved of boyhood!—the old days recalling,

When wood-grapes were purpling and brown nuts were falling!

When wild, ugly faces we carved in its skin,

Glaring out through the dark with a candle within!

When we laughed round the corn-heap, with hearts all in tune,

Our chair a broad pumpkin,—our lantern the moon,

Telling tales of the fairy who travelled like steam

In a pumpkin-shell coach, with two rats for her team!

— John Greenleaf Whittier, The Pumpkin

Inspiration and creativity

Bellow you can find not only inspiring photos but also tutorials, links and some interesting videos.

Some of the sites have more photos and information that I hope will help you to enjoy your Halloween.

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What are trumpkins

This year, with the United States presidential election of 2016, scheduled for November 8, people wanted to add some humor by carving pumpkins representing the presidential candidates. Most of them are about Donald Trump and began to be called Trumpkins.

Video Tutorial

The world's smallest carved pumpkin

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Biggest Pumpkin in the World

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Carving with a waterjet

Carving a giant pumpkin

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