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Spooky goings on at Henry Street – Pumpkin time!

Published: 24th October, 2018

Pumpkins for Halloween at Henry StreetHalloween is a time of celebration and spookiness. It’s nearly upon us, and supermarkets, greengrocers and garden centres, including Henry Street, are filled with walls of orange pumpkins and scary costumes.

Modern Halloween dates back over 2000 years to the Irish festival Samhain, an ancient Celtic religious celebration to honour dead ancestors. This was celebrated on November 1st and it was believed that on the eve of Samhain, or All Hallows Eve, the souls of the dead would revisit the mortal world. In an attempt to ward off visiting evil spirits, bonfires were lit and faces carved out of vegetables such as turnips and potatoes with lighted candles inside them to create lanterns. These would be situated along paths, in fields and outside farms. It was a major part of the religious calendar.

With the influx of immigrants into North America from Ireland and Scotland in the mid-1800s, the tradition travelled with them, but the turnips were replaced with pumpkins which are native to North America and more readily available. They were also discovered to be bigger and hence easier to carve. By the late 1800s Halloween had become a widely practiced celebration in America and pumpkin carving grew more and more popular as the years went on. Parties and costumes became the norm, and “trick or treating” soon followed in the mid-1930s.

Throughout Britain, Halloween has traditionally been celebrated by children’s games such as bob-the-apple and ghost stories as well as carving of faces into hollowed-out vegetables. We also now use pumpkins in preference to more traditional veg such as swedes and turnips.

Halloween has of course lost its religious significance and these days is much more about fun. Children have the time of their lives dressing up as their favourite spooky characters and running from house to house with bags of sweets and treats. But it isn’t just kids who can enjoy the celebrations…

Get involved and decorate your house this year with some amazing pumpkin carvings. Instead of carving scary faces, why not go more sophisticated and try a tasteful pattern or polka dots? All you’ll need is a pumpkin, sharp knife, spoon and a pencil. The possible patterns are endless, and kids will love the chance to be creative.

Henry Street Garden Centre has a bumper crop of pumpkins in store and, while stocks last, we’re even offering a free carving kit with every pumpkin!

Our half term Halloween pumpkin hunt is also on. Look out for all 10 in store and hand your answers in at the tills to claim a ghoulish reward.

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