The Story of the Halloween Jack O Lantern

Ever wonder why we carve pumpkins at Halloween? As you prepare you Halloween cosutumes and send out your Halloween party invitations, impress your friends with the story of the Halloween Jack O Lantern. In October, pumpkins can be found everywhere in the country from doorsteps to dinner tables. For such widespread practice, few, people really know how the jack o’ lantern pumpkin carving tradition began.

The Legend of “Stingy Jack” – The Halloween Jack O Lantern

Legend has it that the practice of making jack o’ lanterns (carving pumpkins) originated from an Irish myth about a man nicknamed “Stingy Jack.” According to the story, Stingy Jack invited the Devil to have a drink with him. True to his name, Stingy Jack didn’t want to pay for his drink, so he convinced the Devil to turn himself into a coin that Jack could use to buy their drinks. Once the Devil did so, Jack decided to keep the money and put it into his pocket next to a silver cross, which prevented the Devil from changing back into his original form. According to this Irish myth, Jack eventually freed the Devil. upon the condition that he would not bother Jack for one year and that, should Jack die, he would not claim his soul. The next year, Jack again tricked the Devil into climbing into a tree to pick a piece of fruit. While he was up in the tree, Jack carved a sign of the cross into the tree’s bark so that the Devil could not come down. Jack allegedly bargained with the Devil and let him down from the tree after he promised Jack he would not to bother him for ten years.


Jack died shortly after his encounter with the Devil and the tree. As the legend goes, Jack wasn’t granted access into heaven due to his unsavory lifestyle. The Devil, keeping his word, would not to claim Jack’s soul, and therefore would not allow Jack into hell. The Devil decided to send Jack off into the dark night with only a burning coal to light his way. Jack allegedly put the coal into a carved-out turnip and has been roaming the Earth with his turnip lantern ever since. The Irish began to refer to this ghostly figure as “Jack of the Lantern,” which evolved into simply, “Jack O Lantern.”

Because of the legend of Stingy Jack, people of Ireland and Scotland began to make their own versions of Jack’s lanterns by carving scary faces into turnips or potatoes and placing them into windows or near doors to frighten away Stingy Jack and other wandering evil spirits. Immigrants from these countries brought the jack o lantern tradition with them when they came to the United States. They soon found that pumpkins, a fruit native to America, make perfect jack o’lanterns. And so we carry on our tradition of carving jack o’ lanterns each Halloween season. We carve up bright orange pumpkins with scary and silly faces to ward of the Jack Stingy’s of the night (as well as to have fun, make pies and toast the seeds inside this Autumn fruit!).

Now that you know why we’ve become accustomed to carving these orange fruits each Halloween, you’ll need some good ideas to inspire your pumpkin carving this season. When searching for pumpkin carving ideas, we liked this extreme pumpkin site, It’s full of advice from picking the perfect pumpkin to the best tools to use when carving. Happy Carving!!

Take a look at Little Known great Pumpkin facts & trivia for more great trivia! Having a pumpkin carving party or just a spooky Halloween get together. Look to PurpleTrail for all your Halloween party needs

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