The jack-o-lantern, which now days is typically a carved pumpkin, is probably one of the most recognized symbol of Halloween.
Although Halloween may typically be thought of as a night where the kids can dress up, knock on the neighbors door and get enough candy to keep them in a sugar coma for a week, adults enjoy their fun as well. Many of us dress up in our own elaborate costumes to attend the office party or neighborhood gathering.
What many people may not realize however is that Halloween is based on an ancient Celtic holiday known as Samhain, which translates into "summer's end". The holiday was a time to remember and honor loved ones that had passed away. It was a holiday celebrated at night because Celtic lore said the veil between the after life and the here and now is thinnest on that night.
According to Pumpkin Carving 101, glowing jack-o-lanterns, which were often carved from turnips or gourds, were set on porches and in windows of homes as a welcome symbol to deceased loved ones. It was also meant to help protect the home from malevolent spirits. Candles are typically used as a source of light now, but burning lumps of coal were the original sources of light.
Halloween did not really catch on in the United States until the late 1800's when an influx of Irish immigrants been coming to America according to New University. It was then that the tradition of using pumpkins began because of their larger size.
When looking at pumpkins in the store, at a produce stand or in a pumpkin field, they have a certain beauty all their own.