For many who grew up with Charlie Brown’s story “It’s The Great Pumpkin,” you know just how special finding the right pumpkin can be. And why not? This popular orange fruit is full of fun possibilities in autumn.

But would we be as excited if original Celtic tradition still took place? The tradition of carving a “jack-o-lantern” began in Ireland because of an Irish folktale about a man named Stingy Jack. The Irish didn’t have pumpkins at the time, so they carved turnips and potatoes and placed a candle inside to ward off evil spirits.  When the tradition of carving made it to America, the Irish discovered pumpkins were bigger and easier to carve. While carving can be fun, there are other ways to use pumpkins. They’re so versatile.

When you do pick out your pumpkin (or pumpkins, who can stop at just one?), here are some ideas on what to do:

pumpkins

Pumpkin carving elevated to art.

  1. Carve art. The tradition of carving pumpkins has remained the same to many, but it has also been elevated. Today, artists go beyond eyes, a nose and a mouth. They carve the likeness of celebrities’ faces, intricate scenes and other works of art.
  2. Light it up. Let your pumpkin be a beacon of the season. Signal trick-or-treaters that you’re home. Light the way to your seasonal soiree or just brighten up your neighborhood.
  3. Pumpkin Festival

    Penn State’s Arboretum was the place to find cool pumpkins this fall.

    Paint night. If you don’t trust yourself to be careful with a knife or you just don’t enjoy the mess that comes with cleaning out the inside of a pumpkin, you can paint your pumpkin and decorate with all sorts of embellishments like glitter, sequins, plastic spiders and more.

  4. Say it with flowers. Pumpkins don’t only look pretty, they can showcase other pretty things. Slice off the top, clean out the inside and place a water saturated block of floral foam inside where you can insert floral stems to create a beautiful floral centerpiece.

    Making a beautiful floral arrangement this fall has never been more fun.

  5. Soup’s on. Pumpkins are featured in a number of recipes, including this one for soup.  Roasted pumpkin seeds also make a great snack.  There are numerous recipes on Pinterest alone, and so many others that are a real treat.
  6. Scrub away scary dry skinYou can make a rejuvenating body scrub and more.