The tradition of lantern carving started in Scotland and Ireland where it was typically carved from a turnip or beet. They were created on All Hallows Eve and left on doorsteps as a 'treat' to ward off evil spirits. The tradition made its way to the Americas with immigrants, but in the United States pumpkins were typically used as they were more plentiful than turnips or beets.
The record books were shattered on Friday September 28, 2012 when Rhode Island farmer Ron Wallace became the first person to grow a one-ton pumpkin. According to The Boston Globe, it's the largest fruit ever grown. Wallace's colossal pumpkin topped out at an astounding 2,009-pounds, breaking the previous record by 165 1/2 pounds.