The tradition of carving pumpkins started in Ireland when Irish children started to carve potatoes for haloween. When the Irish potato famine started, the children started to carve pumpkins instead, and called them “Jack-O-Lanterns” in honor of an Irish villain named Jack.
In addition to the previous post by johnmallory34, another Irish myth that pertains to the origins of the Jack O’Lantern tells the story of an Irish man nicknamed “Stingy Jack.” After repeatedly being a cohort with and then deceving the Devil, Jack fell out of favor with both the Devil and God. After his death, his spirit had nowhere to go and was seen with a lantern (made out of a turnip) wandering the earth. This earned him the nickname of “Jack of the Lantern.”
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