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smiling jack o lantern

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

If we were to ask you what object best symbolizes the month of October, how would you respond? If you’re like many of us, you would probably say the pumpkin. During this month, the famous orange gourd has shown up on doorsteps, featured in coffee drinks and has become the scent of choice for houses across the country.

To celebrate America’s favorite squash, National Pumpkin Day was born. The unofficial holiday is commemorated on Saturday, October 26. To honor the celebration, we thought we’d have some fun with the story of the Jack O’ Lantern.

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. Old Jack decided that he didn’t want to pay for the drinks, so he convinced the devil to turn himself into a coin. Instead of paying for the drinks, Jack decided to keep the coin and placed it in his pocket next to a silver coin; therefore, trapping the devil. He eventually agreed to release the devil but made him promise not to bother him for another year. 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, he made the sign of the cross in the bark, again trapping the devil. He let him down but made him promise not to bother him for another decade.

Soon after, Stingy Jack died and made his way up to Heaven. Saint Peter told him that he was not allowed in, so he tried to get into hell. The devil also denied his entrance because of his promise not to claim his soul. 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 forced to roam the earth ever since.

In an attempt to ward off Stingy Jack and other wandering spirits, people In Ireland and Scotland began to make their own versions of Jack’s lanterns by carving scary faces into turnips and potatoes. As immigrants came to America, they brought their tradition with them but found pumpkins to be perfect for Jack O’ Lanterns.

If you still haven’t carved your annual pumpkin, there’s no better day to get creative than this Saturday. We invite you to show off your Lions Pride spirit with this fun pattern from Pumpkin Stencils:

Lion Pumpkin Pattern

Be sure to keep away Stingy Jack by carving your Halloween Jack O’ Lantern. Happy decorating!