What's Halloween without pumpkins?
I love pumpkins!
Those usually orange squash piled high in grocery stores and farm stands this time of year. Large, small, rounded, not-so-round, orange, yellow, white and striped. There are all kinds of pumpkins. Some you can eat, some are for show, but they're all pumpkins, and they all say fall. In the form of jack o'-lanterns, they also say Halloween.
Although pumpkins are native to the Americas, their usage in Halloween traditions originated in Great Britain. Lighted vegetable lanterns have long been part of Britain's harvest festivals. The vegetables most often used were turnips and mangelwurzels, which are relatively small, solid and hard to cut. Columbus introduced to Europe many of the Americas' plants and animals, pumpkins among them. Called pompions in Tudor England, pumpkins made their way to Scotland, Wales and Ireland. Since pumpkins are hollow and easy to carve, they replaced the turnips and mangelwurzels as the vegetable of choice for harvest lanterns.
hman or a man who carried a lantern. Later the phrase attached itself to the ignis fatuus, or will-o'-the-wisp, a bobbing sphere of marsh gas ignited by spontaneous combustion. Not until 1837 did its modern usage of "vegetable lantern" arise.
The Irish legend of Shifty Jack adds a layer of Halloween evil to the various meanings of the jack o'lantern.
Shifty, or Stingy, Jack was an Irish blacksmith who used a cross to trap the Devil up
Pumpkinnapper, my Regency Halloween comedy, incorporates pumpkins, bobbing lights and geese (yes, geese) that go bump in the night into the story of a pumpkin kidnapper, or pumpkin thief.
Ghoulies and ghosties and long-leggedy beasties and geese that go bump in the night!
Pumpkinnappers--pumpkin kidnappers or pumpkin thieves--want to steal Emily’s pumpkins. Hank is out to catch them--which may be a mistake. Her pet goose hates him and the autumn night is long and cold. Ten years have passed since he and Emily last saw each other. Can a flame from so long ago once more burn bright? Or will the pumpkinnappers and the goose thwart them? A sweet, drawing room not bedroom, Regency romantic comedy.
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Thank you all and Happy Halloween.