Life360 Inc.


The Story of the Jack O’ Lantern

One of my favorite stories to tell the kids around Halloween is one that isn’t told as often as many of the legends and fables we hear around Christmas time. It’s the story of Stingy Jack and how the Jack O’ Lantern came to be.

The best thing to do while telling this story to the kids is to either tell it while carving your own Jack O’ Lanterns or while doing some fun and easy pumpkin crafts you can find for free on websites such as DLTK (my personal go-to website for fun crafts to do with the kids).

Many people assume pumpkin carving is an American tradition, but it actually originated in Ireland not with pumpkins but with turnips. As the story goes, the Devil himself was wandering the streets of Ireland one night and overheard two men talking about the most devilish trickster ever to walk the earth, a man named Stingy Jack. The Devil, being the Devil, found himself somewhat jealous. Curiosity got the better of him, and the Devil went in search of Stingy Jack. Jack was wandering the streets, up to no good. The Devil decided then and there that he would claim Jack’s soul and take it with him back to Hell. When the Devil came upon Jack and told him it was time to collect his soul, Jack lamented, having already figured the day would come eventually. But he asked the Devil for one favor before they left. “Please one last bite to eat before I go” asked Jack. The Devil agreed, and made his way up a fruit tree to pick Jack some fresh fruit. Once the Devil was in the highest branches of the trees Jack quickly laid a circle of crosses around the base of the tree. This prevented the Devil from being able to climb back down.

Again, Jack bargained with the Devil. The Devil agreed that if Jack removed the crosses from beneath the tree so that he could climb down, he would never allow Jack’s soul to enter Hell. Jack removed the crosses, and he and the Devil parted ways.

Eventually Jack died. He made his way to the heavenly gates where he was turned away. Lost and unsure where to go, Jack found his way to Hell. There he was reminded of the deal he had made with the Devil. The Devil explained that because of their deal, he could not allow Jack into Hell and that Jack was doomed to wander the earth in eternal darkness for the rest of eternity.

Because the Devil felt sorry for Jack, he gave him a small piece of burning coal to give him some light on his endless dark journey. Jack could not hold the burning coal, so he found a turnip. He cut it open then placed the burning coal inside. He carried the lit turnip by his side as he roamed the dark night. People came to fear old Jack; never knowing what tricks his aimless soul might be up to. So to keep him away they began carving turnips and placing candles inside and placing them outside their doors.

The tradition continued for many years and eventually the Irish brought the story of Stingy Jack with them to America, along with the tradition of carving turnips. But in America they found a fruit that they had never seen before — pumpkins. With a much better size and shape, pumpkins soon replaced the turnip. And in honor of old Jack they began calling the carved pumpkins, Jack O’ Lanterns.

Visit DLTK’s pumpkin craft section for some fun crafts ideas to do while telling your kids the tale of Stingy Jack.

18 Responses to “The Story of the Jack O’ Lantern”

  1. angie

    love this story! never heard it before! I found this on wiki: "Although every modern chronicle of the holiday repeats the claim that vegetable lanterns were a time-honored component of Halloween celebrations in the British Isles, none gives any primary documentation. In fact, none of the major nineteenth-century chronicles of British holidays and folk customs make any mention whatsoever of carved lanterns in connection with Halloween. Neither do any of the standard works of the early twentieth century.[5] "

  2. Shakira Stief

    After research a number of the blogs in your web site now, and that i truly much like your method of blogging. I saved it to my save web site list and will be checking back again soon. Please take a look at my site too and tell me what you think.

  3. Barry Wariner

    Howdy! This is kind of off topic but I need some help from an established blog. Is it very difficult to set up your own blog? I’m not very techincal but I can figure things out pretty fast. I’m thinking about setting up my own but I’m not sure where to start. Do you have any points or suggestions? Appreciate it

  4. Buster Leaphart

    Can I just say what a relief to seek out somebody who really is aware of what theyre speaking about on the internet. You positively know how to bring a difficulty to mild and make it important. Extra folks must learn this and understand this facet of the story. I cant consider youre no more fashionable since you definitely have the gift.

  5. jumpsuit

    Thanks for your submission. I would love to say that the first thing you will need to conduct is verify if you really need repairing credit. To do that you need to get your hands on a duplicate of your credit score. That should really not be difficult, considering that the government necessitates that you are allowed to get one no cost copy of your real credit report every year. You just have to consult the right people today. You can either find out from the website for your Federal Trade Commission as well as contact one of the main credit agencies directly.

  6. Denice Papandrea

    Just wished to say your blog is incredibly sensible. I usually like to hear thereforeme issue new regarding this mainly as a result of I actually have the similar blog in my Country on this subject so this help´s me a lot. I did an enquiry on an issue matter and observed a really smart number of blogs however nothing like this.Thanks for sharing most in your blog.

  7. Anibal Preisser

    Not to be in the perceive most of the time, I tend to dont like posts regarding this subject increasingly additional however since you write it in vogue additionally your own method, we gotta say really is truly 1 of those nice post to remember.

  8. Saturnina Buseman

    I’m impressed, I must say. Actually rarely do I encounter a blog that’s both educative and entertaining, and let me tell you, you have got hit the nail on the head. Your concept is outstanding; the difficulty is one thing that not sufficient persons are talking intelligently about. I’m very happy that I stumbled throughout this in my search for one thing regarding this.

  9. Junior Zwiener

    Hey! Quick question that’s completely off topic. Do you know how to make your site mobile friendly? My site looks weird when browsing from my apple iphone. I’m trying to find a template or plugin that might be able to fix this problem. If you have any suggestions, please share. Thanks!

  10. plush stuffed animal

    Thanks for your tips. One thing I’ve noticed is that often banks and also financial institutions know the spending behaviors of consumers as well as understand that many people max out and about their cards around the trips. They sensibly take advantage of this fact and begin flooding a person’s inbox in addition to snail-mail box along with hundreds of no interest APR credit cards offers immediately after the holiday season concludes. Knowing that should you be like 98% in the American community, you’ll get at the one opportunity to consolidate financial debt and transfer balances to 0 interest rate credit cards.

  11. africa asia europe

    I have realized that online education is getting favorite because obtaining your college degree online has developed into a popular option for many people. Quite a few people have never had a possibility to attend a regular college or university yet seek the elevated earning possibilities and career advancement that a Bachelor Degree provides. Still other people might have a degree in one discipline but would want to pursue another thing they already have an interest in.


Leave a Reply

  • (will not be published)