In 1584, French explorer Jacques Cartier explored the St. Lawrence region of North America, he reported finding “gros melons” The name was translated into English as “pompions”, which has since evolved into the modern “pumpkin”.
It was also a nickname for the natural phenomenon known as ignis fatuus (fool’s fire) or “will o’ the wisp,” the mysterious, flickering lights sometimes seen at night over wetlands and associated in folklore with fairies and ghosts playing pranks on travellers. There is loads of folklore surrounding the Jack O’Lantern most famously the story of Stingy Jack (see full story below). To what extent this practice tied into “warding of ghosts and evil spirits” or the original pagan festival(s) of All Souls Day is unclear. What is clear that Halloween would not be the same without it.
We asked you to send us your Jack O Lantern images, here’s some of our favourites.
Congratulations to Chris, who carved these awesome Michael Myers and Ghostface pumpkins. He won the complete Halloween collection!