ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

History of the Jack O' Lantern

Updated on October 1, 2016
Zodiacimmortal profile image

I was previously a writer on Squidoo 2008- folded. I write about entertainment, crafts, writing, beauty and anything else that inspires me

Jack * O * Lantern

a pumpkin carved to look like a face and lit from within (with a candle, glow stick, flash light or other form of light) and in association with Halloween (Samhain).

I've recently come to learn that the term Jack O'Lantern was originally used to describe the 'foolish fire' phenomena known as the Will O' the wisps

The History of my Friend Jack O'Lantern

The story of the Jack O'Lantern hails from Ireland, where the character is at a pub is partaking in some spirits of the wet variety. So while at the bar Jack comes face to face with the Devil , who is there to claim his soul.

Ol' Jack was a con artist and was able to trick the devil into climbing a tree. Once Satan was at the top branch, Jack carved a crucifix into the tree trunk trapping the devil.

Jack was able to escape with his soul that night, and lived his trickster lifestyle to a ripe old age. When he got to the pearly gates he was turned away for his dishonest life and after he then arrived at Satan's underworld. The Devil glared evilly at Jack and refused his entry, this stranded him in the blackness of purgatory. Jake begged the devil for a candle to light his way and was granted a burning coal by Satan who then turned his back on Jack.

Stingy Jack found a turnip (how the heck is there a turnip in purgatory?) and carved it out, then placed the glowing ember inside using it as a lantern. (wait how did he even carry it to this point)

The Jack O'Lantern became an Irish symbol for the damned soul, and was placed in windows to ward off evil spirits. When the Irish came to America, the custom continued however finding turnips hard to come by, they started using pumpkins as they were easier to find as well as easier to carve.

Here's a short video from History Channel on the Jack O Lantern

(actually Halloween Originally known as Samhain was a pagan holiday, then when the Christians killed anyone that would not convert those who did still kept their old traditions and therefore many if not all Christian holidays are originally Pagan and have both Pagan and christian traditions (but a christian name)

The Story of the Jack O'Lantern for children

The Story of the Jack O'Lantern
The Story of the Jack O'Lantern

Honestly I do not have this book, but my neighbor across the street has it and I think he's 6 or 7. I thought to include this being as I have what I think is at least is a summary of the story here but I don't remember to what length, as I typed up the summary of the story from what I could remember.

It a nice little story or fable if you will, but it's just one part of Halloween history (per say)


How to pick a pumpkin - for carving

I know this would be munch better with a video, but for now a text description will have to do until I get somewhere I like the look of the pumpkins.

(if I'm able to get a pumpkin this year)

  1. Of course first go to grocery or BEST go to a farmers' market. (That's where I got the one in the intro picture)
  2. look among the pumpkins till you find one that catches your eye
  3. This should be smooth at least on one side with hopefully NO scarring (unless there's a way you can use it as part of the carving, say a Frankenstein theme) as well as a nice medium to dark orange color. I prefer medium to large sizes that are vertical in length (those stout ones seem to be a bit harder to work with) this is because I do not have precision cutting tools or one of those Dremels either.
  4. once you find one to your liking go pay for it.
  5. by now you should be home Pencil a circle around the stem, just an inch or 2 wider then your fist and that there's about a 1/2 inch to full inch in from the edge. (while doing this you can also pencil the face on as well.
  6. Now use a Permanent (sharpie) marker (the medium to chisel point) to go over the pencil outline so you can see the line better.
  7. Cut around the circle you drew around the Pumpkin stem.
  8. Gut the pumpkin & SAVE those seeds! make your own roasted pumpkin seeds (they taste SO much better than the store ones! especially being you can season them however you like) put the pumpkin innards in a separate bowl if you or family plan to do some kind of pumpkin cooking or baking..
  9. Now carve out those eyes, nose, mouth or whatever design you made

Jack Who?

So what's your preference to decorate a pumpkin?

We all have our preferences.


Carve,& put a candle or flashlight or glow stick in it.

use those things you just stick in

or just leave it whole as a centerpiece

or maybe you do all of them in one?

I want to know what as far as designing goes, is your favorite way to make it

What's your favorite way to decorate a Pumpkin?

See results

Screaming Hallows

OMG I want to get those fangs!

I am trying to find some of the NON carving Pumpkin kits Like the one I have that You can make A Cat, Bat or something else. (Haven't used it in a few years) But i'll add it when I come across it (as I'm not sure what it's called to find it)

Sources & Recommended Reading


The Little Big Book of Chills and Thrills

The Halloween Tree by Ray Bradbury

Origins of the Jack o lantern

You can Find some Pumpkin carving tools here

Happy Carving - Guest & Ghouls book

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • Zodiacimmortal profile image

      Kim 4 years ago from Yonkers, NY

      @TanoCalvenoa: Oh My Thank you for all the kind words! Wish I could get at least a Lens of the Day honor if not for this than one of my other lenses.

      Thank you again!

    • profile image

      TanoCalvenoa 4 years ago

      My kids are small (four of them, nine and younger), and I let them decide each year what type of face I'm going to carve. I buy one huge pumpkin for our family.

      This is a truly great Halloween lens! Deserving of accolades, awards, medals, and various other celebratory actions.