10 Surprising Facts On National Pumpkin Day


A close up of daughter and father hand who pulls seeds and fibrous material from a pumpkin before carving for Halloween. Prepares a jack-o-lantern. Decoration for party. Happy family. Little helper. Top view.

Happy National Pumpkin Day. We’ve compiled a list of 10 facts you may not know about pumpkins to help prepare you for this special holiday. 

1. Why are they called pumpkins?

In 1584, a French explorer named Jacques Cartier reported finding what he called “gros melons” in the St. Lawrence region of North America. The name was translated to English and became “pompions” which then evolved into what we call them today, pumpkins.

2. Why are they called Jack-O-Lanterns?

The term Jack-O-Lantern originated from an old Irish Myth called “Stingy Jack.” In the tale, Jack created a lantern out of a turnip and a piece of coal. Jack of the Lantern was later shortened to Jack-O-Lantern. People in Ireland would carve turnips and potatoes with scary faces to keep the evil spirits away (especially Stingy Jack). 

When the Irish immigrated to the U.S., they found pumpkins were much easier to carve for their ancient holiday. 

3. Pumpkin crust?

In early colonial times, pumpkins were used as an ingredient for the crust of pies, not the filling. Thankfully, pumpkins are now the base of one of our favorite autumn pies. 

4. One big pumpkin pie

The largest pumpkin pie ever was made in New Bremen, Ohio in 2010. It weighed 3,699 pounds and had a diameter of 20 feet. 

5. You can carve a pumpkin into anything

This isn’t a fact. We just think it’s crazy people can create realistic sculptures like this with pumpkin.

6. Seeds that heal

Native Americans have been known to use pumpkin seeds for food and medicine. Strips of pumpkins were also dried and made into mats.

7. Pumpkin capital

In the U.S., the state of Illinois grows more than 90 percent of all the pumpkins. Morton, Illinois is actually referred to as the Pumpkin Capital of the World. 

8. There are many ways to eat them

We already talked about baking them into a pie, but there are so many things you can do to a pumpkin. The seeds can be seasoned and baked for a delicious treat or you can create yummy beverages such as a pumpkin spice lattes. There are also recipes for pumpkin soup, bread, hummus, cookies, and so much more. 

9. What is a pumpkin? 

Pumpkins are a part of the gourd family–the same one cucumbers, honeydew melons, cantaloupe, watermelons and zucchini belong to.

10. Pumpkin Free Zone 

Antarctica is the only continent where pumpkins cannot be grown. Probably because they are as afraid of the cold as we are. 

Copyright 2019 Scripps Media, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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