The Origin of the Jack-o-Lantern

We're having a pumpkin carving night with friends this weekend so another visit to our local pumpkin patch was necessary. I always look for a pumpkin with a nice shape and deep orange color, but Thomas is usually on the hunt for the largest pumpkin he can find. He found one this year that probably weighs as much as me and I'm excited to see what he carves it into. Did you know the tradition of carving jack-o-lanterns actually originates in Ireland? They didn't have pumpkins so they carved turnips--which seems far more difficult! The tradition comes from an Irish legend about "Stingy Jack." He's actually quite the clever fellow in the story which is a bit long to squeeze into a blog post, but briefly: he outwits the Devil several times through various clever tricks and even makes the Devil promise to not take his soul when he dies. But when his time comes he can't get into to Heaven and since the Devil promised not to take his soul, Jack is sent off into the night with a burning coal to light his way. Jack puts the coal in a carved out turnip (as you do) and has been wandering the Earth ever since. In his ghostly visage his named changed from "Stingy Jack" to "Jack of the Lantern" or more simply Jack O'Lantern. People started carving scary faces into turnips and putting candles inside to frighten away Stingy Jack and other evil spirits. It's pretty fun that now the pumpkin, the most popular fruit for carving into jack-o-lanterns, has found its way back to Ireland where the tradition started and we'll be carrying on with the scary face carving ourselves this weekend. A little bit of America and a little bit of Ireland mixed together like so many of our personal traditions.

Unique Vintage has some of the cutest Halloween-y clothes! I'm especially partial towards their tees, like this Creepin tee, or the Ghoul Gang one, and I also have the Not Your Ghoul tee. So good (you know I love a good theme!) and they're on sale now--perfect time to stock up for next year!


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