The pumpkin is one of the most recognizable symbols of Halloween; often carved into a jack o' lantern and typically with a comical face – some happy, some scary. Today artists and amateurs alike make elaborate carvings of the pumpkin during the Halloween season. Drug stores and other craft type shops usually will carry carving templates to make carving a jack o'lantern easy for even the non-artistic souls such as myself.
Irish traditions brought the idea of the jack o'lantern to the United States during the mass immigration of people from Ireland to escape the Potato Famine (1845-1850). The people of Ireland had traditionally, hallowed out and carved beets, turnips and other vegetables for All Souls Eve. These carvings were lit by embers or coals and set out by the doorstop to welcome visiting souls and ward away the undead. After arriving in the United States, the immigrants found the Pumpkin plentiful and quite easy to use for their carvings.
The pumpkin itself is native to US soil. It is a winter squash similar to acorn, hubbard and butternut. Many of us think of Pumpkin Pie as a symbol of fall and the holidays. Fresh cooked pumpkin can also be used to make the wonderful custard type pie. Due to it's rich orange color and associated antioxidants, pumpkin bisque has become popular during the Halloween season. Stuffing a small sugar pumpkin with traditional meat stuffing and baking it for an hour or more is a great cold fall day comfort food.
Halloween can also be celebrated in song. Humphrey the Blue Nosed Pumpkin is an adorable little ditty for small children of unknown origin. Traditions for Halloween are changing over time, why not make a new tradition with your kids to sing out for the holiday. Start a new trend in your neighborhood and take the kids door to door, Halloween Caroling. Use this song Have fun singing these lyrics to the tune of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.
Humphrey the Blue-Nosed Pumpkin
Had a very obvious nose.
And if you ever saw it,
You might even say it shows.
All of the other pumpkins,
Used to laugh and call him names.
They never let poor Humphrey
Play in any pumpkin games. Then one foggy Hallow's Eve,
The Great Pumpkin did say,
"Humphrey, with your nose so blue,
You'll make all the ghosts say BOO!"
Then all the pumpkins loved him,
And they shouted out with glee,
"Humphrey, the Blue-Nosed Pumpkin,
You'll go down in history!"