From Sabbats: A Witch’s Approach to Living the Old Ways, by Edain McCoy
The jack-o’-lantern is at least 2,000 years old. the first were made in Ireland, and were simple faces carved in turnips which could be easily carried if one needed to travel during the night. They were designed to frighten away evil spirits who were following deceased loved ones and blocking their way into the Land of the Dead, and also to protect the living. Today, jack-o-lanterns are still usually carved with leering faces, and are seen as offering protection through the dark October nights.
Even if you don’t have the time or interest to devote to these detailed carvings you can still make your jack-o-lantern a little different. Try carving stars, hearts, interlaced knots, or pentagrams instead.
You can cut the top of smaller pumpkins and gourds and use them as candle holders in your home, circle, or four party. medium sized pumpkins can be turned into lovely luminaria to light party guests or trick-or-treaters way to your door. Luminaria, a Latin word meaning lights, are you usually seen at Christmas and are made by placing candles or other lights in paper bags. Both of these luminaria have the same function to light the way for night Travelers and friendly spirit.