History of Jack-O’-Lanterns and Other Uses for Pumpkins

Every year, October marks the time for different festivities for people in the United States and other parts of the world. Nearly every porch or doorstep you see is decorated with ghoulish looking pumpkins, illuminated by candles, signifying the beginning of another Halloween Season.

But have you ever wondered where did this practice of decorating “Jack-O’-Lanterns” comes from? Although many tales and theories are used to describe the origins of this tradition, the most popular version comes from an Irish folktale about a man named ‘Stingy Jack.’

The Legend Of ‘Stingy Jack’

As the story goes, an Irish man named Jack –often described as a blacksmith– invited the Devil to join him for a drink. He didn’t want to pay for the drinks and convinced the Devil to turn himself into a coin which he can use to settle the bill.

The Devil did so, but instead of using the coin to pay for the drinks as they decided, Jack put the money into his pocket alongside a silver cross to prevent the Devil from shifting back to his original form.

Eventually, Jack freed the Devil but under one condition – that he wouldn’t seek revenge on Jack or claim his soul. Later, Jack again irked the Devil by convincing him to climb up a tree to pick a piece of fruit. He then carved a cross on the tree’s trunk to stop the Devil from climbing back down. As it happens, he did let the Devil go afterward, on a condition that the Devil will not claim his soul after his death.

When Jack died, he was denied entry into heaven because of his treacherous character while the Devil refused to let him into hell. Instead, the Devil gave him a piece of burning coal to light his way and damned him to wander on the earth for eternity. Jack, doomed to a hell of his own, carved out a turnip to put the coal in it and has supposedly been roaming the earth since then.

Inspired by this tale, Irish people started carving out ‘Jack O’Lantern’ from potatoes and turnips and putting them on their windows to ward off Jack’s wandering spirit. The tradition was brought to America by Irish immigrants, and since then it has become a part of its culture- just that we use pumpkins!

Pumpkin On Halloween

Here are some interesting ways for you to use pumpkins this Halloween!

Pumpkin Soup

One of the best ways to use those leftover pumpkins after Halloween is to use them for soups. Not only are they easy to prepare but they are also known to be extremely beneficial for your health. Use the leftover innards from your Jack-O’-Lanterns to make soup and serve it.

Pumpkin Pie

Who doesn’t like pumpkin pie? The taste of spiced pumpkin mixed with delicious custard filling and different aromatic spices really makes it a must-have on Halloween. Not to mention, it is a symbol of harvest time and good health!

Pumpkin Seeds

There are so many ways for one to use pumpkin seeds. You can just roast the pumpkin seeds or bake them with spices for a yummy treat. Or you can mix them with oats, nuts, and cranberries to add a distinct flavor to your dishes.

Pumpkin Vase

A pumpkin vase can be a great addition to your home. Just cut a hole on the top of a medium-sized pumpkin and clear out the insides. Then place a bowl or glass filled with water inside it, plant your favorite flowers and you are set!

Use your unique ideas (and lots of pumpkins) and make your Halloween celebrations more fun!


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