The history of the Jack o Lantern custom is thought to date back to an old Irish tale. The story says that a man named Jack (who was a famous trickster), fooled Satan into climbing a tree and then trapped him there by carving images of a cross in the trunk of the tree. Jack then made a deal with the devil to let him go, in exchange Jack would never be tempted by the devil again.
The tale continues after Jack dies, as he is denied access to both heaven and hell. The devil (still angry about being tricked by Jack) gives him a single ember to light his way through the darkness. The light was placed inside a turnip to keep it glowing longer. The Irish made their “Jack’s lanterns” out of turnip, but when the custom came to the US, they begin using pumpkins instead of turnips.
Today there are many aspects of the holiday that are seen as common practices when celebrating Halloween
- Trick or Treating/ Decorating – Children go door-to-door collecting candies and other goodies. Most families decorate their homes for the holiday and spend money on costumes for their children. After Christmas, Halloween is the holiday that most people spend the most money for decorations. Halloween is the #! holiday when the most candy is sold in the U.S. Over 85% of homes hand out candy on Halloween.
- Jack o Lantern – pumpkins are carved out and lit on Halloween night as decorations
- Halloween Parties – these are very popular as part of the holiday celebration. In fact, after the superbowl and new years eve, Halloween is the third most popular time for a party.