The word “Halloween” is often associated with costumes, candies, and parties that last till the break of dawn. But beyond its heavily capitalist image today, the holiday is first and foremost a commemoration of the deceased, which takes root in the Celtic festival of Samhain, and some countries across the globe sure know how to observe it rather uniquely. From carved root crops to fortune-telling fruit breads, here are seven of the most obscure Halloween customs that the world has seen:
The OG Jack-O-Lanterns – Ireland, UK
Sorry to break it to you pumpkin-lovin’ folks, but the original Jack-O-Lanterns are carved from turnips and beetroots. Resembling decaying shrunken decapitated heads, they look far more terrifying than their bright orange American cousins.
A tradition that Celts in Ireland started, carving turnips and other root crops is believed to ward off evil spirits roaming the earth. While pumpkins continue to gain popularity each year, a lot of children in Ireland and the United Kingdom would still carve turnips or beetroots before hitting the streets on All Hallows’ Eve to ask for treats, usually money, from neighbors.