Halloween & Ag
The last day of October is one that everyone looks forward to: candy, costumes, pumpkins, and scarecrows. The child in all of us comes out on this spooky night to celebrate with tricks and treats of all kinds. Many things are associated with Halloween, but many don’t realize that agriculture is one of the most important in this childhood-favorite holiday.
Halloween is a holiday that is believed to have come from Samhain, a traditional Gaelic festival that celebrates the end of harvest. This celebration marks the beginning of winter and, throughout history, has some scary connotations that give Halloween it’s famous spooky trademark. Celts would dress up as ghosts and sinister beings to ward off any evil spirits that might affect or harm their crops or themselves. Today, people no longer dress in costumes on Halloween for this purpose, but agriculture still plays a large part in the day.
Year round, farmers tend to their fields growing plump, bright colored pumpkins, ranging from smooth to bumpy, white to bright orange, round to misshapen. The little plants grow from tiny seeds that are planted in late May where they then grow throughout the summer so they’re ready to be harvested in the fall.
The history of the scarecrow starts in Egypt, where farmers put out scarecrows to ward off flocks of quail from damaging their wheat fields along the Nile River. Nowadays, we have pesticides and other tactics to keep unwanted pests away, but this popular fall decoration wouldn’t exist if it weren’t for agriculture workers trying to protect their crops!
We all know that farmers plant, grow, and harvest important crops like corn, soybeans, or other fruit and vegetables, but they also grow crops that are essential for tasty treats like candy! Cornstarch, sugar, flour, and chocolate are some of the few important ingredients that are needed for our favorite candies, all of which are derived from certain crops that must be planted, grown, tended to, and harvested in order to make our sweet treats.
Many of Halloween's most important and memorable factors are brought to us through agriculture. Remember to thank agriculture for bringing us the things that make your favorite holiday so special.