Although it’s most common to carve pumpkins this time of year, the tradition started with turnips. Several hundred years ago, Celtic people in Ireland started carving turnips and rutabagas to ward off evil spirits.
When Irish people emigrated to America, they more readily found pumpkins and began the tradition of carving those instead.
A friend Kathryn gave me a carved rutabaga (on the left in photo) and I found it delightfully more creepy than my smiling, jagged mouth Jack-o-lantern. I looked up other fruits and veggies people carve and it turns out there are many options.
Carving tips: Find a large turnip and use a small spoon to scoop and small knife to carve. Cut off the rounded bottom so it can’t roll away.
Carving tips: Use a knife to cut around the inside of the pineapple, leaving about a half inch of yellow flesh on the sides. Score the fruit through the core to make it easier to remove the chunks of pineapple. Enjoy the extra natural creepiness of the craved pineapple's rough rind and spiny leaves.
Carving tips: Carve an apple much like you would a pumpkin, but with smaller utensils. Shrunken apple heads are also fun to make this time of year.
4. Butternut squash
Carving tips: Carving squash requires the same tools and methods as carving a pumpkin, but there are more options for the appearance. Oblong ghosts are easy to make with white butternut squash.
Similar to a turnip, the rutabaga is a very cartable root vegetable that creates a more ghoulish-looking Jack with its rough and earthy-colored skin.
Molly Snyder started writing and publishing her work at the age 10, when her community newspaper printed her poem, "The Unicorn.” Since then, she's expanded beyond the subject of mythical creatures and written in many different mediums but, nearest and dearest to her heart, thousands of articles for OnMilwaukee.
Molly is a regular contributor to FOX6 News and numerous radio stations as well as the co-host of "Dandelions: A Podcast For Women.” She's received five Milwaukee Press Club Awards, served as the Pfister Narrator and is the Wisconsin State Fair’s Celebrity Cream Puff Eating Champion of 2019.