Pumpkins are great for a number of things that go far beyond Halloween. In fact, you can even kill a kid with one. Here are six ways of looking at these funky orange gourds:

Art and photo Ryn Gargulinski

Art and photo Ryn Gargulinski

As artistic expression –

Check out the artistry of some fabulously talented TC.com readers who sent entries into our Pumpkin Decorating Contest. The slide show below showcases their creativity and the poll is open for votes through Saturday Nov. 7. Winner will receive a yet-to-be-created piece of creepy Rynart.

As protection –

Jack-o-lanterns came about not because people wanted to enter pumpkin decorating contests, but rather as a form of protection.

Legend has it this guy named Stingy Jack played a few trick on the devil and, when Jack died, would not be admitted into either heaven or hell, according to History.com.

The devil gave the guy a piece of burning coal and told him to go wander the earth for eternity. Jack carried around the coal piece in a hollowed-out turnip. Europeans for years used turnips, potatoes and beets for jack-o-lanterns until they immigrated to America and found the pumpkin to be the perfect choice.

This guy looks dead 100 years/Photo Ryn Gargulinski

This guy looks dead 100 years/Art by Loews pastry kitchen, photo Ryn Gargulinski

As a killer –

A little German kid died after his 10-year-old sister hurled a pumpkin at him as a joke and it hit him in the stomach, according to an 1884 archived news report posted at NYTimes.com. “He became very sick and died in a few hours,” the report said.

An unattended jack-o-lantern is also being blamed for staring a Northwest fire that killed three dogs and two cats, according to a report in the Arizona Daily Star. Two dudes who lived in the house at 1200 block of West Giaconda Way reportedly lit candles in the decorative gourds – then left the house to go to work.

As a weapon –

Since we already know pumpkins can kill, perhaps the sight of one would be an ample deterrent for muggers, degenerates and unleashed dogs encountered on narrow Tucson pathways.

Please be advised it may take some ingenuity – and muscles – to walk around town with a pumpkin and may be much simpler to invest in pepper spray or a retractable baton.

As a healthy snack –

Pumpkin pie laden with whipped cream, sugar and other strange additives is not necessarily on the healthy menu, but plain ole pumpkin is. Pumpkin is rife with fiber, minerals, vitamins and antioxidants.

Canned pumpkin, with no additives, is also a great way to get rid of a pet’s diarrhea, as my dog Sawyer found out when he got 1 tablespoon per day until his ailment passed, pun not intended.

As a seduction method

KoreyK. shared the story of the political pumpkin entries, which were used to seduce:

“One of my brother’s friends gave the pumpkins away, without my permission, to two sorority girls to take to their party, thinking it would get him laid. It didn’t. In fact, they wouldn’t even tell him the location.”

TC.com pumpkin decorating contest entries in alphabetical order (top four culled from hundreds of thousands submissions):


Vote now through Nov. 7 for your favorite entry in the TC.com pumpkin decorating contest.



What do you think?

Did you carve or smash any pumpkins this Halloween?

Is pumpkin a part of your daily diet?

What other uses to pumpkins have?