A pumpkin carved into a jack-o'-lantern for Halloween
Pumpkins are commonly carved into decorative lanterns called jack-o'-lanterns for the Halloween season in North America.Throughout Britain and Ireland, there is a long tradition of carving lanterns from vegetables, particularly the turnip, mangelwurzel, or swede. Not until 1837, however, does jack-o'-lantern appear as aterm for a carved vegetable lantern, and the carved lantern does not become associated specifically with Halloween until 1866. Significantly, both occurred not in Britain or Ireland—but inNorth America. Historian David J. Skal writes,
Although every modern chronicle of the holiday repeats the claim that vegetable lanterns were a time-honored component of Halloween celebrations in theBritish Isles, none gives any primary documentation. In fact, none of the major nineteenth-century chronicles of British holidays and folk customs make any mention whatsoever of carved lanterns inconnection with Halloween. Neither do any of the standard works of the early twentieth century.
In the United States, the carved pumpkin was first associated with the harvest season in general, longbefore it became an emblem of Halloween.
Pumpkin chucking is a competitive activity in which teams build various mechanical devices designed to throw a pumpkin as far as possible.Catapults, trebuchets, ballistas and air cannons are the most common mechanisms. Some pumpkin chuckers breed and grow special varieties of pumpkin under specialized conditions in order to improve thepumpkin's chances of surviving a throw.
Pumpkin festivals and competitions
Competitive Weight Pumpkins
Pumpkin growers often compete to see whose pumpkins are the most massive. Festivals are oftendedicated to the pumpkin and these competitions.
The Ohio towns of Barnesville and Circleville each hold a festival every year, the Barnesville Pumpkin Festival and the Circleville Pumpkin Show...