People Used to Carve Turnips Instead of Pumpkins, and the Results Are Terrifying

by Shelby Scott
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Less than a week remains until our favorite spooky holiday. As Outsiders prepare ahead of Halloween, jack-o-lanterns are being put outside of houses across the country. Further, pumpkin carvings are diverse, dependent on the personalities and interests of the person who carved it. And while some Outsiders may pride themselves on the fear in which they instill upon Trick-or-Treaters with their horrifying jack-o-lantern designs, none compare to the terror stricken by Irish turnip lanterns during the span of the 19th century.

Prior to pumpkin carving, the Irish began a tradition of carving turnips. However, these turnips boasted horrifying faces, serving as incredibly intimidating lanterns and lights. Oftentimes, these glowing turnip lanterns were carried by individuals at night while walking, or placed in windowsills. And while we’re sure your pumpkin carving this year is pretty scary, wait until you see this Irish turnip lantern.

I told you. This turnip is definitely going to be haunting my dreams tonight. Nevertheless, the simplicity of the design combined with the ambiguous tones of the vegetable’s expression make for a rather grotesque image. Mummy-like in appearance, this particular example, housed at the National Museum of Ireland, originated around the very early 20th century.

According to the National Museum of Ireland, these particular lanterns originated from ancient Samhain festival celebrations. The Celtic holiday marked the end of the harvest season and the onset of winter. The celebration served to honor the arrival of the darker part of the year. Interestingly, the museum’s Keeper of the Irish Folklife Division, Clodagh Doyle, revealed these lanterns could be made from potatoes as well.

Outsiders Face Potential Shortage of Pumpkins This Halloween

Because of the incredibly warm temperatures that overran the United States this year, many Americans might face a pumpkin shortage. Farmers across the U.S. have resorted to imports of pumpkins from out of state this year. Others simply halted their pumpkin supply until next year.

As such, it may be a good idea to check the current turnip situation, as pumpkins will be hard to come by. After all, for Outsiders obsessed with the scary and grotesque side of Halloween, turnips may be the way to go in the first place: see above.

Nevertheless, this Halloween will prove interesting. Earlier this month, reports stated North Carolin saw their pumpkin supply cut almost in half. As a result, farmers across the Southern state began importing pumpkins from northern Ohio.

Kansas farmers experiencing this autumn’s mass increase in temperatures saw their pumpkins succumb to rot. The heat and humidity caused the produce to lose its foliage and from there, bugs moved in, ruined the crops, and attracted scavenging animals such as raccoons.

So, should you experience a difficult time securing pumpkins this holiday, perhaps try the old Irish tradition of carving turnips instead!

Outsider.com