When it comes to Halloween traditions and customs, it is the Jack-o-lantern Halloween tradition that deserves a special mention. The Irish folklore traces the custom of trick-or-treating to a man named Jack. Jack was believed to be a notorious drunkard and a trickster. Jack was famous for not sparing anybody. He even played trick on his family and friends.
Once he was wicked enough to have tricked Satan into climbing an apple
tree. He had mischievously trapped the devil up the tree by drawing a
cross on the tree trunk. The devil was later released by Jack on the
promise that he would never ever tempt Jack again and after his death
would not take away his soul. Read further to gather information about
the custom of Jack-O-Lantern
The folk tale continues that after Jack died, he was not allowed to
enter the Heaven, on account of his mischievous ways and the wretched
and wicked life that he had led on earth. He was also not permitted to
enter Hell, because he had tricked the devil and the devil had promised
not to touch his soul. Jack was afraid that he had nowhere to go and
with the thought of having to wander forever in the darkness between the
heaven and the Hell, he asked for light from the devil. All the devil
could do was provide Jack a single ember to light his way through the
frigid darkness. Jack placed the ember inside a hollowed-out turnip to
keep it glowing longer.
Initially, following the ancient folklore, the Irish used to use
turnips as "Jack's lanterns." They carved out turnips,
rutabagas, gourds, potatoes and beets and placed a light inside, to ward
off the evil spirit of Jack. But when the immigrants came to America,
they discovered that pumpkins were far more abundant compared to
turnips. So the Jack-O-Lantern in America assumed the changed form of a
hollowed-out pumpkin, lit with an ember.