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The Spooktacular History of Halloween

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Carved pumpkin on Halloween

Jack o' Lanterns


The meaning behind Jack o' Lanterns is a rather tragic tale. As the story goes, a drunken farmer named Stingy Jack was turned away from both heaven and hell. As Jack wandered the darkness of purgatory, he made a lantern out of a carved out turnip and a lump of coal to help light the way and guide his lost soul.

The Celtics believed that placing Jack o' Lanterns outside helped guide lost souls home as they wandered the streets during Samhain. The scary carved faced on each also served to scare evil spirits away. When the potato famine forced many families to flee to America they began using pumpkins as a substitute since they were much easier to come by.

Next: Trick-or-Treating in Costumes

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