Long before carving pumpkins became a staple of Halloween there was a tradition of carving turnips to create lanterns on the 31st of October. These lanterns were left overnight on gateposts, doorways and in windows in many parts of Britain.
31st October – The Samhain festival marked the end of summer and the beginning of winter in the Celtic calendar, and is one of the four Celtic fire festivals – the quarter points in the solar year. It marked the point in the year were a time of plenty gave way to more lean times, in all probability the reason for its association with dread and eeriness.
Held on the nearest Saturday to the 18th October, the festival was established in 1267 and involved the distribution of crab-apples amid fun, games and traditional Cumberland Wrestling.