Each year on Halloween, I teach a history lesson about how Halloween came to be the holiday it is today. We discuss the religious and cultural aspects of the holiday and how those different ideas and beliefs blended into what Americans celebrate.
My favorite Halloween myth is the one about Stingy Jack. It is the story of how Jack O'Lanterns came to be.
When Stingy Jack eventually passed away several years later, he went to the Gates of Heaven, but was refused entrance because of his life of drinking and because he had been so tight-fisted and deceitful. So, Jack then went down to Hell to see the Devil and find out whether it were possible to gain entrance into the depths of Hell, but the Devil kept the promise that had been made to Jack years earlier, and would not let him enter.
"But where can I go?" asked Jack.
"Back to where you came from!" replied the Devil.
The way back was windy and very dark. Stingy Jack pleaded with the Devil to at least provide him with a light to help find his way. The Devil, as a final gesture, tossed Jack an ember straight from the fires of Hell. Jack placed the ember in a hollowed-out turnip...one of Jack's favorite foods which he always carried around with him whenever he could steal one. From that day forward, Stingy Jack has been doomed to roam the earth without a resting place and with only his lit turnip to light the way in the darkness.
Have a fun Halloween!!