Modern Halloween is derived from the Irish festival, “Samhain,’ which marks the passage from summer into winter.
During the traditional bonfires of the festival, it was believed that evil spirits lurked in the surrounding shadows.
To ward off these evil spirits, rudimentary faces were carved into hollowed-out turnips and placed in windows and alongside roads. They also used the turnip lanterns to light the way for travelers and good spirits.
This Irish tradition was later carried over to America by immigrants in the mid-1800s. Pumpkins quickly became the staple for carving, as they were abundantly available and the easiest fruit to work with.
From there, pumpkins grew into a multi-million dollar industry, with John Howden developing the ideal carving pumpkin in the 1960s.
The Howden pumpkin is the most popular Halloween pumpkin, as its thin flesh and shallow ribs make it perfect for carving.