Contact Us

Why Do We Carve Jack-o-Lanterns, Anyway?

The Jack-o-lantern is a time honored Halloween tradition going back centuries. Yes, centuries. But why do we carve up perfectly good produce, only to throw out the guts and set it on fire?

There’s an old Irish Folktale called “The Legend of Stingy Jack,” who, according to the tale, cheated the Devil (yes… THE Devil) not once, but twice, and made a deal that the Devil couldn’t collect his soul. Unfortunately, Jack didn’t lead a good life, so when he died, God (yes… THE God) denied him entrance into heaven. Since the Devil couldn’t collect his soul, the Devil made a point to not let him into hell, either. To make an example of Stingy Jack, the Devil doomed him to walk the Earth with nothing but a burning piece of coal in a hollowed out turnip to light his way, as a make-shift lantern. Stingy Jack became Jack of the Lantern, which then became Jack O’Lantern.

As with any folktale, that’s the basic gist of it, it varies based on storyteller and region of the British Isles where it’s told. It has variations predominantly in Ireland and Scotland, but also Wales and England. People would in turn set up their own hollowed out turnips with scary faces and embers inside as a way to frighten away Stingy Jack and other evil spirits. When settlers came over to the New World, where pumpkins are native and grow plentiful, the legend got adapted for these larger gourds, and thus… tradition is born.

Subscribe to KICK FM, Today’s Best Country on

Best of 97.9 KICK FM

Recommended for You

Best of the Web

Leave a Comment

It appears that you already have an account created within our VIP network of sites on . To keep your personal information safe, we need to verify that it's really you. To activate your account, please confirm your password. When you have confirmed your password, you will be able to log in through Facebook on both sites.

Forgot your password?

*Please note that your prizes and activities will not be shared between programs within our VIP network.

It appears that you already have an account on this site associated with . To connect your existing account just click on the account activation button below. You will maintain your existing VIP profile. After you do this, you will be able to always log in to http://979kickfm.com using your original account information.

*Please note that your prizes and activities will not be shared between programs within our VIP network.

Please fill out the information below to help us provide you a better experience.

(Forgot your password?)

Not a member? Sign up here

Sign up for KICK-FM Country Club quickly by connecting your Facebook account. It's just as secure and no password to remember!

Sign up to have exclusive KICK-FM Country Club contests, events, coupons, presales, and much more delivered to you for FREE.