Pumpkins are ripe and plentiful in the fall, which is just in time for Halloween. These big orange fruits are used in many ways but are often known as holiday decorations. They are a type of squash, first found in America, primarily around Central America and Mexico. Native Americans carried pumpkin seeds into other parts of North America, causing them to make their way into other parts of the world slowly. Columbus even took pumpkin seeds back to Europe, but they didn’t grow nearly as well compared to the American soil. When the colonists arrived in the U.S, they began using pumpkins for food. However, it wasn’t until the influence of Irish immigrants that the pumpkin became a part of the Halloween tradition.

According to Irish folklore, Jack was a blacksmith who had tricked the devil several times. The story says that when Jack died, he was denied entrance into heaven and hell. Instead, Jack was cursed to eternally wander the Earth in the dead of night, with only a single coal ember to guide him. The Irish remembered this story each year by carving spooky faces and placing a piece of burning coal inside. The original carvings of scary faces were meant as a deterrent to scare Jack away from houses. Eventually, candles replaced the coals, whereas you might use a battery-powered flashlight or candle in your jack-o’-lantern today.

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