Jack O' Lanterns have been carved
for centuries at Halloween.
The practice originated from an Irish myth about a man nicknamed “Stingy Jack.”
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,
which prevented the Devil from changing back into his original form.
Jack eventually freed the Devil,
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 until the Devil promised Jack not to bother him for ten more years.
Soon after, Jack died.
As the legend goes,
God would not allow such an unsavory figure into heaven.
The Devil, upset by the trick Jack had played on him and keeping his word not to claim his soul,
would not allow Jack into hell.
He sent Jack off into the dark night with only a burning coal to light his way.
Jack put the coal into a carved-out turnip and has been roaming the Earth with it ever since.
The Irish began to refer to this ghostly figure
as “Jack of the Lantern,”
and then, simply “Jack O’Lantern.”
In Ireland and Scotland, people 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.