Halloween 2010: 10 fun pumpkin facts

Halloween pumpkins

Bet you didn't know about all these facts. (Thinkstock)

It is that time of year again, when we all get excited for the Halloween festivities. One thing’s for sure: one of the best parts of Halloween is the traditional pumpkin. But have you ever wondered why we carve pumpkins or who first thought of eating the seeds? A pumpkin serves more purposes than just carving, and it certainly doesn’t require payday advance loans to have fun with it.

Fun facts about pumpkin carving

  1. Pumpkin carving came from the Irish. They used to carve turnips to ward off evil spirits. When Irish people came to America, they discovered pumpkins were easier to carve and more abundant.
  2. A pumpkin is actually a squash. It is a member of the Cucurbita family, the same family as squash and cucumbers. It is also a fruit, not a vegetable.
  3. Pumpkins can grow in almost any climate. They grow on six continents (including in Alaska). The only place too cold for them to grow is Antarctica.
  4. Pumpkins are believed to have originated from the Americas. It is said that Christopher Columbus brought seeds back to Europe to start growing them there.
  5. Morton, Ill., is the pumpkin capital of the world. That’s right, more pumpkins are grown there than anywhere else in the world.
  6. They are mostly used in October. About 80 percent of the world’s pumpkin supply is used in October – go figure. The 2008 pumpkin supply was worth $141 million.
  7. Pumpkins are edible and nutritious. Pumpkins contain Vitamin A and potassium. Even the pumpkin flowers are edible; they are 90 percent water. They commonly make pies, breads and soups, and their seeds can help men avoid prostate cancer.
  8. Pumpkin pie history. Pumpkins traditionally were used in pie crusts, not the traditional filling we use them for today. The tops used to be cut off and the inside was filled with milk, spices and honey. That’s how the modern day pumpkin pie originated.
  9. Cures to ailments. They were used to remove freckles and cure snake bites.
  10. Native Americans had many pumpkin uses. They flattened and dried them to make mats. They used the seeds for food, and they originally called them squash or “isqoutm squash.”

Pepon or large melon?

The word pumpkin comes from the Greek work “pepon,” which means “large melon.” So don’t take out payday loans; a “large melon” this time of year is cheap. Go get your pumpkin today and, whether you carve it, bake it, eat it or simply display it, have some fun with it.

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