It’s almost here — HALLOWEEN!! So to get your brain juices juicy, here is a brief history of Jack-o-Lanterns:
The Tale of Stingy Jack & the Jack O’ Lantern: An Irish Folktale
Once upon a time there was a miserable old butthead named Stingy Jack. When Stingy Jack got drunk, which was daily, he like to play tricks on people, even the Devil himself– for what could possibly go wrong when tricking THE DEVIL?! One day, he tricked the Devil into climbing up a tree then placed crosses around the trunk of the tree. Unable to touch a cross, the Devil was stuck in the tree. Jack made the Devil promise him not to take his soul when he died, and when the Devil pinky swore, Jack removed the crosses, and the Devil climbed down out of the tree in a fiery huff.
Many years later, Jack died and probably no one cared. He went to the pearly gates of Heaven, and was turned away by Saint Peter because he was mean and cruel, and had led a miserable, worthless life on earth! Jack then went down to Hell. The Devil kept his promise and would not allow him to enter Hell. “Go be someone else’s problem, you turd!” Now Jack had nowhere to go but to wander the dark Netherworld between heaven and hell forevermore. He asked the Devil how he could leave since he couldn’t see in the pitch black. The Devil tossed him an ember from the flames of Hell to help Jack light his way and told Jack not to let the door hit him on the way out. Luckily, Jack had a turnip with him — one of his favourite foods! Jack hollowed out the turnip, and placed the ember the Devil had given him inside the turnip. From that day onward, Stingy Jack roamed the Earth without a resting place, lighting his way as he went with his “Jack O’Lantern”.
On all Hallow’s eve, the Irish hollowed out Turnips, rutabagas, gourds, potatoes and beets. They placed a light in them to ward off evil spirits and keep Stingy Jack away. These were the original Jack O’Lanterns. In the 1800’s a couple of waves of Irish immigrants came to America. The Irish immigrants quickly discovered that Pumpkins were bigger and easier to carve out. So they used pumpkins for Jack O’Lanterns.
Wow, cool huh?! Now take a look at these famous celebrity Jack-o-Lanterns.
You may recognize this grin from Halloween 2. What those hollowed-out eyes have seen…That’s a smile of pure fear.
Here’s Jack O’Lantern, maybe based on the folk tale? Has his face gradually over time become more and more like a weathered pumpkin? Or is that just the way a mortal looks after roaming purgatory for hundreds of years with an ember in a turnip? I’d probably want to carve townsfolk up too.
I’m sure this jack-o-lantern is a great guy, just so misunderstood! He’s just here for a good time, but that darn headless horseman is giving his a bad name. He’s not a violent gourd! I always imagine that every “monster” is misunderstood….it helps me cope with the fear better.
Notice the mischievous sparkle in his eye, no double added by the “special effects legend”. OOoooOOOOooo!
This ‘kin was just born with an aggressive overbite, making him look like he’s got a mouth full of fangs. Doesn’t help his situation much that he’s sitting next to a CRAZY PERSON with a sack on their head! Don’t settle, get better friends.