Jack-o’-lanterns is one of the biggest Halloween traditions next to trick-or-treating, but the jack-o’-lantern dated back to the 17thcentury that started as an Irish legend. The first jack-o’-lanterns weren’t made of pumpkins, but rather large turnips or potatoes affiliated with the folklore tale of Stingy Jack.                                            

According to folklore, Stingy Jack invited the Devil to share a drink with him but following his namesake, Jack didn’t want to pay for his drink so he convinced the Devil to transform into a coin so Jack can pay for his drink. Once the Devil transformed into a coin, Jack decided to keep the money in his pocket next to a silver cross that prevented the Devil to transform into his original form. 

Eventually, Jack freed the Devil under the conditions he would not bother Jack for one year and if Jack was to die, the Devil would not claim his soul. The following year, Jack attempted to trick the Devil into climbing a tree to pick a piece of fruit. While the Devil was up in the tree, Jack carved a cross into the tree trapping the Devil under the conditions he would not come down to bother Jack in 10 years. 

Soon after tricking the Devil, Jack passed away with the legend stating God wouldn’t allow Jack into heaven for being an unsavory person into heaven that upset the tricked Devil. The Devil was upset being tricked by Jack and kept his promise that he wouldn’t take his soul as promised, sending Jack away in the dark night with only one burning coal to light his way.

Jack placed the burning coal into a hollowed turnip and has roamed the Earth since becoming a part of Irish folklore referring to him as “Jack of the Lantern” that transformed over the years to the simple name of “Jack O’Lantern.”  The research for this article is sourced from the History website and History News Network.