Jack-o'-lanterns and more: five symbols in the history of Halloween

Halloween has its own collection of seasonal iconography, much like a Christmas tree or an Easter basket. Since the October holiday straddles the line between celebration and superstition, it's no surprise some of the day's symbols are of a darker origin.

Here are five things that are intertwined with the history of Halloween.

1. Pumpkins

Kathy Kmonicek

Here’s a rundown of this favorite gourd-like fruit:

• A pumpkin grown last year weighed a record-setting 1,810 pounds, as much as a dairy cow or roughly half the weight of a small car.

US growers produce more than 1.5 billion pounds of pumpkins per year. That’s more than twice the weight of the Empire State Building.

• Top pumpkin-producing states are Illinois, California, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York, and Michigan.

• Pumpkins are a member of the gourd family, which includes cucumbers, honeydew melon, cantaloupe, watermelon, and zucchini. These plants are native to Central America and Mexico but now grow on six continents.

• Each pumpkin contains about 500 seeds.

• Pumpkins are low in calories, fat, and sodium and high in fiber. They're good sources of Vitamin A, Vitamin B, potassium, protein, and iron.

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