Carving pumpkins is fun for Halloween. There is quite a history behind the jack o' lantern that may surprise you. Here are the top 5 things you didn't know about the jack o' lantern.


  • Carving Started In Scotland And Ireland

    This tradition started in Scotland and Ireland. In Ireland, they used to carve beets, potatoes, and turnips and then put embers or candles inside them. They started carving scary faces into the vegetables and set them in windows and near doorways to scare off evil spirits. Irish families who emigrated to America brought this tradition along with them. When in the United states they discovered pumpkins and found they were much easier to carve.


  • Pompion Means Pumpkin

    Pumpkins were not always called pumpkins. They were called pomion. Irish families that came to America replaced turnips and beetroots for pomions. They were plentiful in the new world. Pomions were much bigger and so much easier to carve. Pomions were an important food source and critical to their survival through winter months.

    Paul Grecaud/TSM
  • Stingy Jack

    The tells the Irish myth about a man nicknamed “Stingy Jack.” According to the story, Stingy Jack invited the Devil to have a drink with him. True to his name, Stingy Jack didn’t want to pay for his drink, so he convinced the Devil to turn himself into a coin that Jack could use to buy their drinks. Once the Devil did so, Jack decided to keep the money and put it into his pocket next to a silver cross, which prevented the Devil from changing back into his original form. Jack eventually freed the Devil, under the condition that he would not bother Jack for one year and that, should Jack die, he would not claim his soul. The next year, Jack again tricked the Devil into climbing into a tree to pick a piece of fruit. While he was up in the tree, Jack carved a sign of the cross into the tree’s bark so that the Devil could not come down until the Devil promised Jack not to bother him for ten more years. Soon after, Jack died. As the legend goes, God would not allow such an unsavory figure into heaven. The Devil, upset by the trick Jack had played on him and keeping his word not to claim his soul, would not allow Jack into hell. He sent Jack off into the dark night with only a burning coal to light his way. Jack put the coal into a carved-out turnip and has been roaming the Earth with ever since.


  • Jack Of The Lantern

    The story of 'Stingy Jack' leads us into the term jack of the lantern. Jack comes from the 'Stingy Jack' story. The Irish began referring to the ghostly figure of a carved pumpkin as 'jack of the lantern' and then simply 'jack o' lantern.'

  • Cucurbitaceae

    Here's a few facts about pumpkins. Pumpkins are Cucurbitaceae, a family of vegetables that includes cucumbers and melons. They are fat free and can be baked, steamed, or canned. Many commercially available “Halloween” pumpkins are specifically grown to be oversized, thin-walled, with a huge seed pocket and a relatively small proportion of flesh, perfect for carving funny or scary faces.The smaller sugar pumpkins have more fleshy pumpkin meat for cooking and often have better flavor and texture.

    [eat out eat well]