Halloween is upon us and people are looking for pumpkins to carve, decorate and get into the mood of the holiday approaching on Oct. 31.

The holiday itself is rather interesting when you think of its origins back to the Irish who came to America during the 1840's because of the
Irish Potato Famine.

Irish Folklore tells of a man named Jack who wandered alone in the darkness carrying a carved out turnip with a light inside until Judgment Day.

Because of this, the Jack'O'Lantern was born.

Since the Irish have come to America the pumpkin due to them being more available and much easier to carve replaced the turnip.
In more recent years pumpkins have been made readily available at pumpkins patches hosted by churches and groups.

For the last 10 years Christ United Methodist Church on Dogwood Dr. has hosted an annual pumpkin patch and a large group of visitors each year.

"We got a truck load this year of close to 3,000 pumpkins from out in New Mexico," said Richard Bigner. "We have all different size pumpkins and each year we host several groups of kindergarteners here who enjoy a hayride, pick out a pumpkin, do crafts, enjoy a story time, and more."

For each class the church even gives the class a pumpkin they can decorate as well.

The patch itself is open from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. each day. The pumpkins sold at the Christ UMC event goes to help kid and youth programs at the church

"It is a lot of work, but a lot of fun as well," said Judy Knecht, Christ UMC's Director of the Pumpkin Patch. "When the pumpkins were delivered we got a lot of help from the Milton NJROTC to unload the truck.

"The truck driver told us it took them eight hours to load the truck, but it took the NJROTC about an hour to unload it."

While Knecht has worked with the pumpkin patch for several years, she has a tip for those purchasing a pumpkin to put out on their doorstep.

"Instead of carving the top, cut the pumpkin at the bottom and hollow it out," Knecht said. "Then you can put the base down and put your candle on the base before you lower the top of the pumpkin onto the candle.

"It is a lot easier and safer than trying to reach inside to light the candle from the top or to switch out the candle."



Tips to take care of your pumpkin
Pumpkins are just one of the several investments you will make in preperation for the holiday season.
After purchasing your pumpkin you will want to do everything you can to make sure you make it last as long as possible.
Here are some tips to do just that according to www.mommasays.net
Carve your Jack'O'Latern two or three days ahead to stay at its scary best.
Extend the life of your creation use petroleum jelly.
Keeping the pumpkins moist is the key for its prolonged care.
Bonus...make your pumpkin smell sweet by using some pumpkin spice on the inside.
During the day make sure to keep it out of direct sunlight. Sunlight will just make it spoil faster and promote mold to grow.
You can also add moisture by giving your pumpkin a nice soak.
If your Jack'O'Lantern has started to shrivel an overnight bath with some ice should bring it back to life.
To stop mold, add a cap full of bleach to a spray water bottle. Use this daily inside to help keep the pumpkin moist.