Written by Lindsey Gietl
In a small Irish pub, a man nicknamed “Stingy Jack,” invited the Devil to have a drink with him. The Devil, of course, came down and drank with the mortal man. After they had finished their drinks, Jack came up with the idea for the Devil to turn into a coin to pay for their drinks. The Devil agreed and he “paid” for their drinks. However, after Jack had paid he pocketed the coin. In Jack’s pocket he kept a small silver cross, so the Devil could not reverse back. Jack eventually let the Devil go under one condition: the Devil was not allowed to bother him for a year. If Jack was to die, the Devil could not have his soul. The Devil agreed.
The next year Jack fooled the Devil again. Jack convinced him to climb a tree for food. While the Devil was up in the tree, Jack etched a cross into the bark preventing the Devil from descending. Jack told the Devil his conditions for release, this time ten years. The Devil agreed and Jack freed him. Later when Jack passed, God refused to let him into heaven due to his unclean soul. The Devil, keeping to his word, would not let Jack into hell. Instead the Devil gave Jack a burning piece of coal and let him wander the Earth. Jack put his coal into a carved turnip and roamed the Earth for years. The Irish call Jack’s ghost “Jack of the Lantern” or “Jack O’Lantern.”
As the years went on the Irish and Scottish carved turnips and potatoes to scare Jack away. When the Irish migrated to America, they brought the carving tradition with them and instead of potatoes or turnips, Americans used Pumpkins.