The Jack-O’Lantern

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It’s that time of year when pumpkins become very popular as people uphold Halloween tradition and carve a Jack-O’lantern to sit by their door. But why do we do it?

The tradition of pumpkin carving has been around for centuries and is believed to have come from an Irish myth about a man known as “Stingy Jack.” As legend has it, Stingy Jack invited the Devil to have a drink with him but Jack did not want to pay for his and convinced the Devil to turn himself into a coin which he could use to buy them their drinks.

However, after the Devil turned himself into a coin, Jack decided to keep the money and placed it in his pocket alongside a silver cross which stopped the Devil being able to change back. When Jack freed the Devil, he had him promise not to bother him for a year and if he should die in that time, the Devil could not claim his soul.

The following year Jack once again tricked the Devil, this time convincing him to climb a tree to pick them some fruit. Whilst the Devil was in the tree, Jack carved a cross into the bark so that the Devil could not come down until he promised to not bother Jack for 10 more years. When Jack finally died, God decided not to allow him into Heaven due to his tricks, and the Devil would not have him either and turned him away too.

Jack was sent off into the dark with only a burning coal to light his way, which he placed in a carved-out turnip, and has been roaming Earth ever since. The turnip was replaced by pumpkins when the tradition arrived in America as the pumpkin is America’s native fruit. People have since then been making their own versions of Jack’s Lantern by carving scary faces into pumpkins to scare away evil wandering spirits like Stingy Jack on Halloween. Some people have gotten very creative over the years!


Check out the awesome Jack-O’Lanterns below!


Article written by D Mulhern

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