Guest article by Alex Williams
Halloween is upon us again, so let’s explore a selection of pumpkin patches and see how some householders have used the colourful squash to decorate their doorsteps. With the dead’s annual return to earth imminent and Jack o’lanterns lit to scare off evil spirits (if not trick or treaters), these pumpkins may offer some ideas for defending, or simply decorating, your own front yards and gardens.
Children trick or treat while freaky faces grimace back from the burning lanterns. Come wind, rain, snow or shine, all manner of pumpkin designs decorate doorsteps and windows, along with other Halloween decor in the case of the townhouse at bottom right.
Lanterns range from traditional to elaborate and complex, hand carved and stenciled, but maintain all the hallmarks of the practice’s origins, when Celtic folk carved turnips to ward off evil spirits at the Gaelic festival Samhain.
The New World replaced traditional turnips with popular pumpkins, and today the bright orange squashes are a familiar Halloween sight across the continents. But they don’t appear out of thin air in time for October 31st. The images above and below show pumpkin patches and stalls, a popular pre-Halloween destination, a symbol of the fall and an enduring legacy of ancient tradition.