I went to a friends house over the weekend. It wasn't like it was a huge party, just a little get together. It was a Fall type fun party, where everyone brought their own pumpkin so we could carve some jack-o-lanterns. I (Jrod) have no kids yet, but I've always loved Halloween. So I was way down for the party, and at the end of this blog I'll show you my carving job. (Not as good as the pic above, but what do you expect, I tell jokes not carve Jack-O-Lanterns)
But it got me thinking, and I usually know a little bit about a lot of things, but I didn't know the answer to this. Why do we carve pumpkins into Jack-O-Lanterns on Halloween?? So I did some research and here is what I found out.
The history of the jack-o'-lantern depends a little bit depending on who's telling the story. But all stories involve a clever drunkard (kind of like me) that pulls one over on the devil. Legend has it, in 18th-century Ireland, a foul-mouthed drunk and disreputable miser named Stingy Jack asked the devil to go have a drink with him. The devil obliged and when the bill came, there was that awkward moment that we're all so familiar with. Jack expected the devil to take care of things, and the devil thought Jack should pony up. Seeing as how Jack had no money anyway, he convinced the devil to turn himself into a six pence coin to pay the bill, I mean who wouldn't want to be turned into money so you can take care of the bar tab LOL. The devil fell for it and Jack skipped on the bill and kept the devil at bay by sliding the coin into his pocket to lay at rest beside a silver cross.
The devil was stuck in Jack's pocket, trapped by the cross, but Jack decided to be a good egg and let him out, providing that the devil wouldn't come after Jack for a period of one to 10 years, depending on who you ask. The devil had no choice but to agree and once the coin was removed, he turned himself back into the devil and went on his not-so-merry way, I don't know if I would mess with the devil like this, so in my book Jack is a bad a$$. At the end of the agreed upon timeframe, the devil found Jack for a little payback. Somehow, Jack convinced him to climb a tree in search of an apple for Jack before they set off for hell. The horned one once again obliged, only to see Jack carve a cross into the tree trunk, and leaving the beast stranded again.
Jack must have felt bad, because he agreed to let the devil down if he promised to never claim his soul for Hell. The devil was caught between a rock and hard place once again, so he agreed. When Jack died, St. Peter rejected him at the pearly gates because of his suspect credentials. The devil wouldn't and couldn't let Jack in to hell, per their agreement at the tree. In the end, Jack was given a lump of burning coal by the devil to light his way through purgatory. Jack carried the coal inside a hollowed out turnip.
Irish families told the tale and began to put carved out turnips in their windows to prevent Stingy Jack and other ghouls from entering the home. Some had scary faces carved into them to frighten away any comers. Once the tradition hit the United States, Irish immigrants soon realized that the pumpkin, native to the states, was an ideal fruit for carving. That's why you see jack-o'-lanterns on porches around Halloween.
I thought this was very interesting. So now we can all say we (according to legends) know why we carve pumpkins at Halloween. So....Still want to see my Scary Pumpkin?? Don't make fun, but here you go.
Don't judge, we wanted a scary one but opted for the easy one to carve since we were having beers LOL. Happy Halloween!!!