Stingy Jack the Jack O’ Lantern

Why do Jack O’ Lanterns have curved human-like ghoulish faces? 

To browse this question, let’s go back to the history behind Jack O’ Lanterns. Jack O’ Lanterns originated from Ireland in the name of Stingy Jack, an imaginary character from  a folktale. 

Stingy Jack, a man who tricked the devil into his catch, invited the Devil to have a drink with him. However, Stingy Jack then refused to pay for the drinks. Instead, he used his cunning idea of convincing the Devil to turn itself into a coin and decided to keep the coin with a silver cross that prevented the Devil from returning. Eventually, Stingy Jack freed the Devil under the condition of not claiming Jack’s soul. 

The next year, Stingy Jack tricked the Devil again to pick up a fruit that was dangling on a tree. When the Devil was on the tree, Stingy Jack decided to carve a sign of cross. This stucked the Devil in the tree. However, Stingy Jack freed the Devil under the statement of not harming him for 10 years. 

Soon, Stingy Jack died. However, God did not allow such a maleficent person to heaven, so instead sent him to hell. The Devil kept his word for not claiming his soul and sent him back into Earth in a night with a lump of burning coal to light his way. Stingy Jack has been roaming around the earth since then with his burning coal inside a turnip. People call him “Jack of the Lantern” simply “Jack O’ Lantern.”

by. Minjung Kwon