TCB's guide to Pumpkin Lanterns

What's their origin? Why have them? Pumpkin life post Halloween?

TCB's own personalised pumpkin


We're well and truly in the middle of prime pumpkin time.  We planted the seeds, guarded the seedlings from voracious slugs, planted them out and watched them grow.  It's been a long, hot summer of anticipation and finally, we are seeing the fabulous round orange fruits of our labours.  

What fun we've had.  Lots of family time spent carving and creating interesting designs for our Halloween lanterns.  These particular ones are obviously for TCB.

Their Origins

To discover the origins of pumpkin lanterns, instinctively I asked the computer, and the computer said ....

...'because the British like causing mischief!!'  

Love it!  Well, that's my summary.  Way back when, to light your path you needed to carry fire.  An open flame was vulnerable to extinction by the elements, and really hot to hold!  So the readily available, trusty turnip was carved out to shield the flame and made it more portable. Then the pranksters and mischief-makers took it one step further.  By carving spooky faces on their skin you created one scary object, frightening everyone - perfect for an evening's entertainment.

Why at Halloween?

They became attached to Hallowmas (All Saints Day Nov 1 & All Souls Day Nov 2), as Catholic children would carry these turnip lanterns around while begging door-to-door for soul-cakes to commemorate the dead.  British immigrants to America took the lantern idea with them but came across the pumpkin, which was so much easier to carve.  So the Halloween Pumpkin was born.

Life (?) for the pumpkin post Halloween

At Halloween we focus on the pumpkin as a lantern but it's a fabulous food source.  It's seeds, flesh and skin can be put to a multitude of culinary delights.  So versatile, just search for pumpkins recipes online and you are spoilt for choice.  But if life gets in the way and you have no time to contemplate using the pumpkin for anything other than a lantern please don't let it rot on your doorstep.  Wildlife would love to eat it, from mice to squirrels, birds to badgers - put it at the bottom of the garden and let them feast.  Alternatively add it to the compost heap, allowing it's nutrients to enrich your soil.  Let that lantern keep on giving.