Ever wondered why we leave out pumpkins on Hallowe’en? Well, according to Irish myth, it all started when a man by the name of Stingy Jack kept playing tricks on the Devil.
When Jack eventually died, neither God nor the Devil would let the trickster into their respective abodes. He was left to wander the dark night with only a burning coal to light his way. Jack placed it into a carved out turnip, and has wandered the earth with it ever since. Thus, he became known as ‘Jack of the Lantern’, which later became Jack O’Lantern.
It became a tradition in Ireland and Scotland for people make their own lanterns out of turnips or potatoes. They’d carve scary faces into them and place them in windows or doorways to frighten off Jack and other nasty spirits.
When the Scots and Irish moved to the New World, they discovered a native fruit called the pumpkin, which made a very good lantern.
And then they started creating more and more ridiculous Jack O’Lanterns, a few of which can be seen here. Enjoy. And happy trick or treating, kids. RM