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The Hauntingly Spectacular History of Jack-o-Lanterns

History of Jack-o-LanternsThey’re creepy and they’re kooky, mysterious and spooky; they’re all together ookyJack-o-Lanterns! Okay, so that might not be exactly how the song goes, but we like our version a little better, especially for this week’s blog topic: The Hauntingly Spectacular History of Jack-o-Lanterns. As you may recall from last week’s blog, we discussed the history of pumpkins on Halloween, touching briefly on everyone’s favorite Halloween tradition: the Jack-o-Lantern. This week, we are going to take an even closer look at the history of those creepy carved pumpkins.

How Did Jack-o-Lanterns Originate?

As the legend goes, an Irish man named “Stingy Jack” invited the Devil for a drink. Being a stingy individual (you don’t get a name like Stingy Jack without being extremely frugal), Jack devised a plan to get out of paying the bill. He convinced the Devil to turn into a coin for Jack to use to buy the drinks. When the Devil transformed himself, instead of paying for the drinks, Jack stuffed the coin into his pocket next to a silver cross, which prevented the Devil from changing back into his original form. Jack eventually freed the Devil, but under certain conditions. 1) The Devil could not bother Jack for a year. 2) If Jack died, the Devil could not claim his soul. The Devil agreed and Jack freed him.

The next year, Jack again tricked the Devil. This time, Jack convinced the Devil to climb a tree to pick a piece of fruit. While in the Devil was in the tree, Jack carved a cross into the trunk, preventing the Devil from climbing down. Jack eventually freed the Devil, but under certain conditions. 1) The Devil could not bother Jack for 10 years. 2) If Jack died, the Devil could not claim his soul. The Devil agreed and Jack freed him.

Soon after, Jack died. According to the legend, God would not permit such a devious individual into Heaven. The Devil, meanwhile, would not allow Jack into Hell. The Devil instead sent Jack off into the dark night with nothing but a burning coal to light his way. Jack put the coal into a carved turnip and has been roaming the Earth ever since. The people of Ireland referred to the ghostly figure as “Jack of the Lantern,” which was eventually shortened to Jack-o-Lantern.

People began carving their own Jack-o-Lanterns and placing them in their windows to ward off Stingy Jack and whatever other evil spirits might be lurking about. The Irish originally carved their Jack-o-Lanterns into turnips or potatoes, but when Irish immigrants arrived in America they found an overabundance of pumpkins. And an American tradition was born.

Some Jack-o-Lantern Inspired Candy

Wockenfuss is a family owned business, now in its fifth generation of candy-making. As one of the oldest candy makers in Maryland, we know a thing or two about what it takes to make great candy. And we are excited to offer a wide range of Halloween candy, including a few Jack-o-Lantern inspired treats: Gummi Pumpkins, Milk Chocolate Pumpkin Pop, and Peanut Butter Filled Pumpkins.

Just like all of our other delicious candies, you can buy all of our Halloween candy in one of our 8 convenient locations or you can place your order online. Just allow 3-6 business days for shipping.

If you have any questions about ordering Halloween Candy online, please contact Wockenfuss Candies, by calling 1-800-296-4414 or email When you’re not savoring our sweets, stay satisfied by following us on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and Pinterest!

This entry was posted on Wednesday, October 8th, 2014 at 8:08 pm. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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