Why Do We Carve Pumpkins for Halloween?

By: Rob Adams
Staff Writer
Published: Oct 20, 2021

Why do we carve pumpkins? Halloween tradition comes from an Irish legend where Jack uses it for guidance.

Why do we carve pumpkins for Halloween? Pumpkins is a vegetable that most people carve into lantern each year for Halloween. But why do people carve these pumpkins?

Carving vegetables into scary faces then lighting them is an Irish tradition. Among those traditions are the people that celebrate Halloween. It is an odd kind of custom that just has some interesting roots.

The Irish started it all, although this is still up for debate. The people of Ireland have a legend of a drunken farmer, whose dealings with the devil led to him being turned back at both the gates of heaven and hell upon his death. Forced to wander the darkness of purgatory, Jack made a lantern from a plant.

Legend has it, Jack used the turnip with a lump of burning coal to guide his lost soul. Every Halloween, communities in Ireland would craft their own turnip lamps to scare him and other wayward spirits away. That legend still lives on today after several centuries.

The tradition became pumpkin-ified when Irish immigrants found the orange veggie sprouting in abundance in North America. Today, pumpkins mean big business at Halloween. Farmers grow over a billion pounds a year, worth about $106 million.

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