Jack O’ Lanterns have been a fun Halloween staple for centuries, giving old and young alike a chance to show off their artistic ability by creating beautiful masterpieces, but do you know how the pumpkin carving practice got started?
Legend says the Jack O’ Lantern came from an old man named “Stingy Jack” who liked to play tricks on people. One day, Stingy Jack invited the devil to have a drink with him. After some time, Old Jack decided that he didn’t want to pay for the drinks, so he convinced the devil to turn himself into a coin. Then Jack decided to keep the coin and placed it next to silver coin in his pocket, trapping the devil. Jack eventually released him, but made him promise not to bother him for another year, and if he died, the devil could not claim his soul.
One year passed and again Jack tricked the devil into climbing an apple tree. Once he was up the tree, Jack made the sign of the cross in the bark again trapping the devil. He let him down, but again made him promise not to bother him for another ten years.
Stingy Jack eventually died and made his way up to Heaven. Saint Peter told him that he was not allowed in. The devil, keeping his word and still upset by the tricks, would not allow him into hell either. He sent Jack off into the night with only a piece of coal lighting the way. Jack put the coal into a carved out turnip and has been roaming the earth ever since.
In Ireland and Scotland, people began to make their own version of Jack’s lanterns by carving scary faces into turnips and potatoes, in an attempt to ward off Stingy Jack and other wandering spirits. As immigrants came to America, they brought their tradition with them, but found pumpkins to be perfect for Jack O’ Lanterns.
Have you carved your Halloween pumpkin yet? If not, we invite you to show off your Lions Pride with these fun patterns: