Updated: Dec 5, 2018
Theories hold that the tradition of making jack-o'-lanterns started in Ireland. During the 1800's, turnips were hollowed out to be used as lanterns during Halloween. Faces - often garish - were carved into the turnips. They were placed in windows or doorways to scare off "Stingy Jack" or other evil spirits.
"Stingy Jack" is an Irish myth about a man who invited the Devil to have a drink with him. Since Jack was stingy, he did not want to pay for the drink, so he persuaded the Devil to turn himself into a coin to pay for it. Jack kept the money and put it in his pocket next to a silver cross so that the Devil could not revert to his original form. Jack finally freed the Devil, but he imposed the conditions that the Devil would not bother Jack for one year - and if Jack were to die, that the Devil would not take Jack's soul.
Eventually, Jack died. God would not allow him into Heaven, and the Devil forbid his entry into Hell. The Devil sent Jack into the night with a burning coal to light the way. Jack put the coal into a carved out turnip and was destined to roam the Earth eternally. The Irish referred to this ghoulish creature as "Jack of the Lantern" - which ultimately became "Jack O'Lantern".
When the tradition made its way to America, pumpkins began to be used for the carving tradition. They were larger and more suitable than turnips - and much easier to carve. These have become the Jack O'Lanterns we all know today, and are one of the most well-known images of Halloween.
Thomas Glenn Holidays offers a wonderfully designed Jack O'Lantern ornament perfect for Halloween The ornament, aptly named "Jack O'" features two different beautifully crafted Jack O'Lantern carvings with yellow features to simulate candle light. The carvings are set against a pumpkin-orange background with green "veins" to represent a pumpkin. These ornaments are in stock and available for purchase at The Bronze Dolphin. Click Here.