But how did this tradition start?
Let’s go back to the origin of Halloween, which began in Ireland’s Celtic past.
Let’s go back to the Irish folktale about a man named Stingy Jack.
According to the story, a man once invited the Devil to have a drink with him. True to the nickname he was given, Stingy Jack did not want to pay the tab. He cleverly convinced the Devil to turn himself into a coin so they could pay for their drinks. However, once the Devil complied, Stingy Jack kept the coin - next to a silver cross in his pocket so the Devil couldn’t transform back.
Stingy Jack finally decided to free the Devil under the condition that he not bother him for one year, and that should he die, that the Devil would not claim his soul.
The year passed and Jack was able to trick the Devil again, this time for ten years, and under the same conditions.
Alas, all things do come to an end. It was Stingy Jack’s time to meet his maker - he died.
God did not want such a despicable soul, so prevented him from entering Heaven.
The Devil had to keep his promise of not taking Stingy Jack’s soul, so prevented him from entering Hell.
Stingy Jack was left with a burning coal inside a turnip to light his wretched way, and has been roaming the Earth ever since.
Known first as Jack of the Lantern, he eventually became Jack O’ Lantern. People began carving scary faces into turnips and placing them near windows and doors to scare off Stingy Jack and any other wandering spirits.
When the Irish immigrated to the United States, they found that pumpkins made for easier carving and the perfect jack o’ lanterns.