The history of jack o’ lanterns can be traced back centuries to the Irish legend of Stingy Jack.

Stingy Jack, a shrewd character, tricked the Devil on several occasions. When he died, neither God nor the Devil welcomed this con artist into their realm. Instead, Jack was sent into the dark night with only a burning coal to light his way. He has been haunting us since, carrying his embers within a carved out turnip.

This ghoulish myth gave rise to the term “Jack of the Lantern.” Each Fall, the Irish carved frightful faces into turnips and potatoes to scare Jack from their porches. When the European tradition came to America, turnips were replaced with native pumpkins.