Chestnut Hill Academy Pumpkin Carving Contest this week? Me! Professor Watermelon!
I love carving pumpkins, but even more, I love writing stories about them. Looks like we’ve found another MUSE!
Pumpkins originated in Central America, but now they grow all over the world. The United States alone grows over 1.5 BILLION pounds of pumpkins a year – WOW! There are about 30 different kinds of pumpkins, but the best carving kind is the Connecticut Field Pumpkin.
The world’s largest pumpkin was grown in Rhode Island this year – 2009 pounds! Take a look at this article and video to see this gigantic gourd!
Pumpkin is also a healthy food. They are very low in fat and have lots of potassium like bananas! My favorite pumpkin recipe is PUMPKIN PIE! Sadly, this dish is not as healthy, but one little slice won’t hurt you (wink). Here is a great video on how to make Pumpkin Pie. It is fun to watch, but if you want to make a pie of your own, make sure to have an adult around for help.
Another healthy way to eat pumpkin is to eat the PUMPKIN SEEDS! So when you are carving your Jack O’ lantern this Halloween, don’t throw the seeds away. Wash them off, sprinkle them with salt, and ask an adult to roast them in the oven for a few minutes. Pumpkin seeds are a great source of protein, and there are about 500 seeds in an average pumpkin. YUM!
Now before we talk more about Jack O’ Lanterns, did you know that there is a World Champion Punkin Chunkin Competition in Delaware every year? (Say that 10 times really fast.) Competitors from all over the country meet in a gigantic field and launch pumpkins from several different kinds of contraptions. Take a look at this series of videos to experience the fun.
Jack O’ Lanterns are a Halloween favorite. Legend has it that this tradition came to the United States with Scottish and Irish immigrants. The belief is that Jack O’ Lanterns will keep the spooks away. That is why you will see Jack O’ Lanterns guarding front porches and doorsteps across America on Halloween night.
Like I mentioned at the beginning of this post, pumpkin carving is TONS of fun. Take a look at this video to see how to carve a traditional Jack O’ Lantern. If you want to stretch your imagination, take a look at what Martha Stewart has done with her pumpkins!
I can’t finish this post without sharing some of my favorite PUMPKIN stories. My favorite is “The Runaway Pumpkin” by Kevin Lewis and illustrated by S.D. Schindler. Here is the Amazon link. And no Halloween season is complete without watching “It’s the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown.” Here is the full video of this classic.
With this new knowledge, what kind of story could you write? Maybe these WHAT IF questions will help you get started.
WHAT IF your main character went to the Punkin Chunkin Competition and was able to launch a pumpkin to the MOON?
WHAT IF your main character carved a Jack O’ Lantern, and it spoke to him/her?
WHAT IF your main character planted the pumpkin seeds from his/her Jack O’ Lantern and they grew into witch’s brooms instead of pumpkin plants?
The possibilities are endless, and please leave your own “WHAT IF” questions in the comment section below. I’d love to see what you come up with.
So, grab a cup of hot cocoa, a pencil and a piece of paper, and let’s begin. With your imagination, we can go anywhere. I look forward to seeing where you take us.
The word of the day is “CONTRAPTION”. Here is the definition: a mechanical object, gadget or device.
Photo Credits: Jeremy Seits, Chris Connelly, and Joe Shlabotnic