Did you ever wonder where the Jack O’Lanter originates from? Did you know Jack O’Lanterns used to be carved from turnips? Want to find out more? Well read and find out about the story of Stingy Jack and the devil. Then grab a copy of our Halloween Mask Printables – a Devil and a Pumpkin – dress up for Halloween or have a go at acting out the story.
This is a great set of Halloween Maks to Print and color!
What is a Jack O’Lantern?
A Jack O’Lantern is a pumpkin carved out, usually people carve a spooky face into it and place a light inside. The ideas is to ward of evil spirits with it and people light them on All Hallowe’s Eve.
Where did Jack O’Lantern Come From?
The story of the Jack O’Lantern has its history in Ireland, dating back to the 1500s. The original Jack O’lanterns were carved from turnips and potatoes and not Pumpkins.
Jack O’Lantern was referred to a mysterious light that was often seen glowing over marshes and bogs. These lights were caused by gases from decomposing plants, that would sometimes ignite naturally as they oxidized. The light was explained with the varying stories of Stingy Jack and his pact with the Devil.
The origin of Jack O’Lantern is often attributed to Stingy Jack (see below).
Who was Stingy Jack? Or The Story of Stingy Jack!
Stingy Jack was a drunkard who loved to deceive and play tricks on people. The devil heard about his cunning, and curious, the devil went to seek out Stingy Jack. Together, they went for a few drinks. Stingy Jack, true to his reputation, didn’t want to pay for his drinks and managed to persuade the devil to turn into a coin to pay for them. He said, we would then go with the devil to hell.
The devil turned himself into a coin. Stingy Jack snapped up the coin and put it in his pocket with a crucifix – the presence of which, prevented the devil from changing back. Stingy Jack then told the devil, he would only release him, on if the devil agreed to leave him for another 10yrs.
10yrs passed and the devil return to claim Sting Jack’s soul. This time, Stingy Jack persuaded (the somewhat gullible) devil to climb up a tree and throw him an apple as “one last meal” before descending to hell. Stingy Jack, quickly placed a crucifix at the base of the tree and again, the devil was caught out.
This time Stingy Jack persuaded the devil to promise never to take his soul to hell.
The year’s past and eventually Stingy Jack died. He made his way up to heaven. But at the gates of St Peter denied him access. Stingy Jack had not been a good person in life. St Peter sent Stingy Jack down to hell.
Upon arrival, the devil, having made a promise, grinned and told Stingy Jack that he wasn’t welcomed there either. He gave Jack a single burning goal and sent him on his way – damned for eternity to neither hell nor heaven.
It is said that Stingy Jack, placed the coal into a lantern that he carved out of a turnip and used this lantern to light his way eternally.
Sting Jack became known as Jack of the Lantern, which later became Jack O’Lantern.
This story is included as a printable below!
Modern Day Jack O’Lanterns
The Irish brought the tradition of carving turnip lanterns to America. Once in America, they discovered pumpkins and saw that they were easier to carve. So the turnip lanterns became pumpkin lanterns instead.
How long do Jack O’Lanterns last?
A fresh, uncut pumpkin in good condition can easily last 8-10 weeks! So if you choose to decorate a pumpkin without damaging the skin, it will last you all autumn. And you can probably still cut and eat the “insides” to make some yummy Pumpkin Soup or Pumpkin Cake.
Once a Pumpkin has been cut into a Jack O’Lantern, you are looking between 5-10 days – it all depends on how much of the flesh you have scraped out – the more you scrape out, the thinner the remaining wall of the pumpkin and the quicker it will rot. We always scrape as much as possible as we like to eat our pumpkin flesh too! Once cut, keep your Jack O’Lantern in the cool outdoors, so it lasts longer!
Halloween Mask Printables – Devil & Pumpkin
Now you have learn all about the Jack O’Lantern, Stingy Jack and Devil… we have created for you some fun Halloween Mask Printables to print, cut and colour in. It also includes an apple and coin, so you can re-enact the Stingy Jack story!
Free Halloween Mask Printables & Stingy Jack Story
This year, we got together with the lovely people at HP. You can hop over and grab your FREE Halloween Mask Printables and printable story here:
Also available in our Halloween Print & Learn series are:
- Halloween Cootie Catcher Scavenger Hunt – gorgeous coloring pages, that will get kids active
- Halloween Cootie Catcher Quiz – gorgeous coloring pages & quiz, that will get kids learning
- A set of 4 Frankenstein Bookmark Designs – 2 Frankenstein Corner Bookamrks and 2 easier to cut Frankenstein Bookmarks with Facts
- Mary Shelley Inspired Spooky Story wirting prompts (4 prompts, 3 spooky story sheets)
We have many more Free Halloween Printables for you to browse here:
And more great Paper Halloween Crafts here: