Jack and His Lantern
November 01, 2010
Now, I know Halloween is over, but every year around this time I start thinking about how Halloween became Halloween. I feel like there is more to the date than costumes, candy, and trick-or-treating. I began my research on our MCPL list of history databases. Searching individual databases was not providing me with a ton of general information, so I decided to do a cross search on multiple databases (top of the page). This search brought plenty of results, including a rather interesting tale from Ireland.
Jack o’ Lanterns. Pumpkins carved into vicious faces or characters. We think of it as a fun activity to do with the little siblings, but there is more to the tale than I thought. Apparently, there was a very mean man named Jack who tricked the devil into not taking his soul. This pact was great while he was alive, but when he died he had nowhere to go. God and the Devil did not want him. He was cursed to roam the Earth with only a lantern to guide his way. The people of Ireland began carving lanterns and hanging them in the front yards to ward off evil spirits. When the Irish came in the US in the mid-1800’s, this practice came with them. Pumpkins were added when people realized they provided a cheap and easy (a probably pretty creepy) way to create a lantern.
Blue Springs North Branch