Jack ‘O’ Lanterns are typically crafted from Pumpkins that have had the top cut open, the insides removed, and a pattern carved into the remaining “shell” of the pumpkin. Quite often the carving resembles a grotesquely smiling face with a too few teeth for a healthy head. Then a candle or another source of light is placed inside the carved out pumpkin to ‘glow’ through the shell carving and make a lantern.
Here are the 3 historical facts about Jack ‘O’ Lanterns you should know:
- Pumpkins weren’t always the vegetable of choice. In fact, in the 19th century, The Irish, who are thought to be the inventors of the Jack ‘O’ Lantern used turnips for what we can only assume were smaller, smellier, and very brown Jack ‘O’ Lanterns. They used turnips in honor of a folk legend about a man named Jack who walked the earth with a turnip eternally lit by the flames of hades. Since the Irish weren’t known to have the flames of hades, we assume they used candles like we do.
- It was Americans who adopted the Pumpkin instead of continuing to use old turnips. It’s understood they did this because they associated the more colorful and welcoming pumpkin with harvest.
- The biggest Jack ‘O’ Lantern in the history of the world, as judged by the Guiness Book of World Records, was a 2010 creation carved by artist Scott Cully. It weighed more than 1800 pounds, and as you can see in the video, it was creepy af.
There you have it. A brief history of the Jack ‘O’ Lantern and 3 facts you should absolutely know about them.