Marco says, I really enjoyed trick or treating at Hallowe’en!. I wasn’t too keen on my costume at first though.
But once I’d been admired, and saw all the sweets and treats, I was very happy!
J told me the story of pumpkin carving.
The original Jack O'Lantern originated in Ireland. Ancient Celtic cultures in Ireland carved turnips on All Hallow's Eve, and placed an ember in them, to ward off evil spirits.
The actual name ‘jack-o'-lantern’, comes from an Irish folktale about a man named 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. But Jack decided to keep the money and put it into his pocket next to a silver cross – this prevented the Devil from escaping the coin.
Jack later freed the Devil, but made two conditions – that the Devil would not bother Jack and that, if Jack died, the Devil would not claim his soul. According to the legend, when Jack did die, God would not allow such an unsavory character 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. Irish people called this ghostly figure as “Jack of the Lantern,” and then, simply “Jack O’Lantern.”
In Ireland and Scotland, people began to make their own versions of Jack’s lanterns by carving scary faces into turnips or potatoes and placing them into windows or near doors to frighten away Stingy Jack and other wandering evil spirits. In England, large beetroots were used.
When people from Ireland migrated to the United States, and continued the tradition, they found that pumpkins, at that time only grown in America, made perfect jack-o’-lanterns.