Every Halloween, we head off to the pumpkin patch and find the plumpest, brightest pumpkin and take it home, to carve elaborate, intricate designs and make them the most appealing Jack-O'-Lantern in the entire neighbourhood.
Everyone knows and loved the spooky, lit up Jack-O'-Lantern, but not many know the tale of Stingy Jack, with whom the tradition of pumpkin carving started.
Legend has it that in the 17th century Ireland, there lived a man named Stingy Jack, a miserable, old drunk who loved playing tricks on everyone; his friends, family and the Devil himself. Although the stories as to how he tricked the Devil differ based on whom you ask, but his trickery is one common factor that every Jack-O'-Lantern expert will agree on.
According to History Channel, Jack, who invited the Devil for a drink, later decided that he did not want to pay for it and tricked the Devil asking him to turn into a coin. Jack, who immediately pocketed the coin agreed to let him go on one condition; he had to leave Jack and his soul alone.
If you are a subscriber of the tale propagated by Pumpkin Nook, Jack coerced the Devil into climbing up an apple tree and placed crosses around it, effectively holding the Devil a prisoner in the tree. He was allowed to go after agreeing to not take Jack's soul after the latter's death.
Finally, when old Jack died, he is said to have met Saint Peter at the gates of heaven, who told him that due to his cruel and miserable existence on the Earth, he would not be allowed inside.
Meanwhile, the Devil who had promised to do nothing with Jack's soul couldn't let him inside hell too.
With nowhere to do, Jack was destined to loiter forever between heaven and hell.
Pitying him, the Devil is said to have given Jack an ember from the flames of hell, which he placed inside a carved out turnip. He then used it as a lantern to see in the dark and has since been roaming the Earth without a resting place, lighting his way as he went with his Jack-O'-Lantern.
On every Halloween night, the Irish hollowed out Turnips, rutabagas, gourds, potatoes and beets in remembrance of the restless Jack and placed a light in them to ward off evil spirits and keep Jack away.
When Irish immigrants who reached the new world of America realised that it is much easier to carve out Pumpkins, and they started visiting the pumpkin patches for their Jack O'Lanterns needs.
Now, the tradition of pumpkin carving has become more of an art.
Here are some of the most creative, witty and elaborate Jack-O'-Lantern for Halloween 2014.
Triceratops made from pumpkins, seen at the Great Jack O'Lantern Blaze at Westchester County's Van Courtlandt Manor pic.twitter.com/9fFwMnOB2k
— IFLScience (@IFLScience) October 29, 2014
— Half a Chicken.com (@HLFaCHKN) October 13, 2014
ผีตะเกียงฟักทอง (Jack-o'-lantern) ฮารุจัง แกกกกกกกก ฉันอยากโดนหลอก ( و•̀ω•́)و @'bashauma_ pic.twitter.com/Jqhstz6PEL
— ทุ่งดอกโอลีฟ (@Olivezxy) October 30, 2014
BEST JACK O LANTERN...EVER pic.twitter.com/ysRocuFtR6
— DAVID DRAIMAN (@DAVIDMDRAIMAN) October 27, 2014
Terrifying Jack O'Lantern. pic.twitter.com/lZFR69XTnu
— Steve Silberman (@stevesilberman) October 25, 2014
— b2ben (@b2ben) October 30, 2014