The Legend of Jack O’ Lantern

Halloween History From Ireland
In my book ‘Storytellin: True And Fictional Short Stories Of Arkansas’ I write about one of the first Halloween adventures I can recall as a young child with my younger brother and parents as we went about trick-or-treating American style in the 1950s. We encountered plenty of costumes and decorations, most notably the ever-present carved pumpkins called jack-o-lanterns, without consideration of the origins of the holiday art.
Did you know the carving tradition began in Ireland?
Ed Mooney, an accomplished and award-winning Irish photographer and storyteller posted a very interesting tale titled ‘The Legend of Jack O’ Lantern’ on his blog ‘Ed Mooney Photography ~ The home of Kildare based Photographer, Blogger and Self-Proclaimed Ruinhunter’.
Pumpkins are indigenous to the Americas but not to Ireland. When it came to Irish Halloween carving, turnips were all the rage according to a post-Christian Irish legend and a rather interesting fellow named Stingy Jack (no relation, I hope!)
Here’s Ed’s retelling of the old story he heard as a youngster:

8 thoughts on “The Legend of Jack O’ Lantern

  1. I think it’s a bit easier carving a pumpkin that a turnip, Jack. It’s hard enough to slice a turnip for cooking. I didn’t know it originated in Ireland, thanks for posting Ed’s story about it.

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