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31st October


Jump to:-    Pumpkin Connection    |   Trick or Treat    |    Recipes

“Trick or treat, smell my feet, give me something good to eat” – CHARMING!


The history of Halloween can be traced back over 2,000 years and for most of this time, food of some kind or another has been closely associated with it.


The earliest celebrations were among the Celts who not only worshiped a Sun God but also Samhain who was the lord of the dead. They believed that Samhain called up the souls of the dead who would take the forms of animals and roam over the Earth through the night of the 31st October. It was called the Vigil of Samhain.

Many years later All Saints Day or All Hallows Day celebrated by the Roman Catholic faith on 1st November was established as a means of replacing the pagan Vigil of Samhain however with the increased practising of witchcraft, 31st October became known as the Night of the Witch and later All Hallows Even or The Night of the Dead. Through time, the name was shortened firstly to Hallowe'en and eventually to Halloween.

… so what do pumpkins have to do with it ?

The hollowed out pumpkin (Jack 'o Lantern) was named after a man called Jack, who was an infamous drunkard and trickster. He tricked Satan into climbing a tree then carved an image of a cross in the tree's trunk, thereby trapping the devil up the tree. He made a pact with the devil that, if the devil would never tempt him to wicked ways again, he would promise to let him down the tree.

However, after Jack died, not only was he was denied in to Heaven because of his previous evil ways but was also denied access to Hell because he had tricked the devil. The devil instead gave him a single ember to light his way through the darkness. This was placed inside a hollowed-out turnip to keep it glowing longer. How exactly the pumpkin came to take its place is still a mystery .

… so where does “trick or treat” come into all of this?

If you thought trick or treating was a US invention then think again. Its origins can be traced back over 2000 not only to the Celts, but also the Chinese, Egyptians and Aztecs. Still closely tied with the night of the dead, it was believed that spirits required food and drink to placate them and so people would leave out morsels of food for their consumption. Not to do so may encourage them to enter your house, cause havoc and help themselves.

As time went on, people began dressing as spirits and performing antics in exchange for food and drink. It is this practice, called "mumming", which evolved into the present-day trick or treating.

… so what can you do with all the pumpkin flesh afterwards?

One of the easiest things is to make soup – very welcome now the nights are drawing in. Here are 3 soup recipes for you to try.



To find more pumpkin recipes on the site,  either visit our pumpkin recipes page or use the search form.  There's also a  page dedicated to this wonderful autumn vegetable containing lots information including origins, cultivation and uses.


Happy Halloween & Pumpkin Cooking !

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