There’s a very high chance of seeing lots of orange decorations today, maybe some jack-o’-lanterns, maybe some bats or witches or mummies or goblins.

But if you want an authentic Halloween item that’s way off the beaten path, it’s time to bust out some turnips.

Amazingly, the history of Halloween decorating starts not with gourds like pumpkins, but with root vegetables.

Halloween has its roots in a Celtic festival known as Samhain, which started at sunset on October 31.

As Mental Floss reports, people who celebrated this holiday believed that this was when spirits could return to the living world and, if they wanted, scare people.

The living tried to keep those spirits at arm’s length by carving scary faces into root vegetables, like potatoes, beets and turnips.

In fact, the original Jack-o’-Lantern was a turnip.

There’s an old Irish legend of “Stingy Jack,” in which a man cheats the devil multiple times and as punishment he is cast out of heaven and hell.

The devil curses Jack to roam the earth forever, carrying only one glowing coal in a hollowed-out turnip.

It was said any time you saw a light in the darkness that you couldn’t explain, it was Jack of the Lantern, or Jack-o’-Lantern for short.

Jack-o’-Lanterns became pumpkins when Halloween spread through the United States, because pumpkins are pretty common in this part of the world.

We do have lots of root vegetables here too, but let’s face it, you have a lot more room for carving on a pumpkin than you have on a turnip.

And you just know that on Halloween some vegetables are gonna turn-ip.

Back in 2017 there was a Halloween story about Alex Schwarz, a student at the University of Akron in Ohio.

He saw his dormmates putting up Halloween decorations and so he decided to carve a pumpkin and put out a Jack-o’-lantern.

But a higher-up at the school said the gourd had to go, because as it rotted, it might bring pests into the dorm.

Schwarz, a food and nutrition major, said, noted that they had only banned pumpkins.

So he carved apples and pineapples instead.

Before We Carved Pumpkins for Halloween, People Carved Turnips (Mental Floss)

Pumpkin dorm ban? Akron student carves apples, pineapple instead (FOX 8 News)

Back us on Patreon and we’ve got some treats for you

Photo by Cristian Ungureanu via Flickr/Creative Commons