The Rich History Behind Halloween Jack-O-Lanterns

Jack-o-lanterns are a Halloween staple, but there did they come from? Why do we use them?

The History Guy’s Lance Geiger is always offering all sorts of fun and interesting looks at past historical occurrences. That’s why his YouTube channel is such an awesome watch. We have learned about so many things that we never expected to find out more about. Now that the Halloween season is upon us, we knew that Lance was going to provide us with some more fun info.

He has not let us down one bit. In a recent video, he provides us with a closer historical look at our old friend, the Jack-o-lantern.

Photo: YouTube/The History Guy: History Deserves to Be Remembered

Of course, they have been a key aspect of Halloween traditions for many years now, so it is not shocking to see that they have such a rich history. This is one of the more enlightening takes that you are going to see.

“It is October, and millions of American children will be participating in an annual tradition, traveling to a local pumpkin patch to choose the orange orb that they and their parents will carve into a Jack-o-Lantern. But where did the entire idea arise? And how long has it been going on?” Geiger wonders. These are certainly fair questions to ask.

Photo: YouTube/The History Guy: History Deserves to Be Remembered

Geiger is happy to pass along a wide range of stories that are supposed to provide a proper explanation for how carving traditions came about. We must warn you: there is no real way to fact-check these tales. The terms meaning “lantern” and other cases “man with a lantern” are going to differ greatly, depending upon which geographic region of the world is being discussed.

Geiger is sure to note that the pumpkins could have been a secondary consideration. They may have just been a way to encompass the light that was relied upon on a seasonal basis. That is not all that Geiger had to share, though.

Photo: YouTube/The History Guy: History Deserves to Be Remembered

“In fact, a Jack-o-Lantern could simply mean a literal Lantern …a practical purpose also evolved. Methyl lanterns were quite expensive so people would hollow out root vegetables and over time people started to carve faces and designs to allow light to shine through the holes without extinguishing the ember,” he says.

To find out more, please be sure to check out the following video.