AHS News & Blog

Halloween Horticulture History

Did you know that several Halloween rituals are rooted in horticulture? Our friends at the Royal Horticultural Society got the dirt on some of these stories. Here are three that we love.

  1. Apples – When cut down the middle, apples were said to reveal the witch’s five-pointed star, thus reflecting a symbol of magic.
  2. Turnips – Creating lanterns to scare off frightening spirits is thought to have originated in England, Ireland and Scotland centuries ago and still remains a tradition today with carved pumpkins. However, pumpkins and other winter squash only arrived in Europe in the 1500’s, so previous ancestors carved turnips and other hard-skinned autumn vegetables like swede (known as a rutabaga in America) and beetroot.
  3. Kale – As storied by Robert Burns in his poem “Halloween” published in 1785, kale was used to predict future romances. The length and shape of the stalk was said to represent your future partner’s height and figure while the amount of soil around the roots represented wealth.

For more fun Halloween horticultural history, visit Museum Crush.