The jack-o-lantern tradition originated in Ireland, where they carved turnips and put burning coals inside.
What it is: An orange squash native to North America.
Where it comes from: Pumpkins are native fruits of North America, with the oldest seeds originating in Mexico. It was a staple food of the Native Americans, who also used it to make medicine and wove dried strips of it into mats. About 90% of pumpkins processed in the U.S. are grown in Illinois.
Properties: The most common pumpkin colors are orange or yellow, but it can sometimes come in other colors as well. The inside pulp is high in nutrients, and its seeds contain lots of zinc, which is good for the skin.
What it’s good for: Pumpkins are full of multivitamins that are not only healthy, but also nourish the skin. Vitamin A softens and cleanses while vitamin C maintains skin health by keeping collagen from breaking down. Zinc helps to soothe irritated skin and heals acne blemishes, and alpha-hydroxy acids exfoliate and revitalize. Pumpkin pulp can also reduce the appearance of scarring.
Where you’ll find it: In the beauty section, it can be found in facial masks and peels, and anti-aging and acne creams. It’s also available in lotions, shampoos, and body washes. At the grocery store, pumpkin is found whole and in numerous food products.
Other uses: In the past, it was used as a cure for freckles and as a remedy for snake bites.