A jack O’lantern is a carved pumpkin or turnip lantern, associated with the holiday of Halloween and named after the phenomenon of a strange light flickering over peat bogs, called will-o’-the-wisp or jack-o’-lantern. In a jack O’ lantern, the top of the pumpkin or turnip is cut off to form a lid, the inside flesh is scooped out, and an image, usually a monstrous or comical face is carved out of the rind to expose the hollow interior. To create the lantern effect, a light source is placed within before the lid is closed.
1. John Greenleaf Whittier wrote a poem in 1850 about jack-o’-lanterns called “the Pumpkin.”
2. The largest jack-o’-lantern weighs almost a ton.
3. New York and L.A.’s ‘RISE of the Jack-o’-Lantern’ exhibitions feature 5,000 professionally-carved pumpkins.
4. Artist Ray Villafane creates hyper-realistic sculptures out of pumpkins. They are so realistic, it’s scary!
5. A smashed jack o’ lantern implies Ichabod Crane’s poor fate in Washington Irving’s seasonable Legend of Sleepy Hollow.
6. Artist Shawn Feeney carves a memorial pumpkin every Halloween to honor a musician who died that year.
7. The Keene Pumpkin Festival holds the record for the most jack-o’-lanterns collected in one place. It also was ruined this year by a bunch of drunk college kids.
8. There is a Spider-Man super-villain named Jack O’Lantern.
9. The first jack-o’-lanterns weren’t pumpkin-based. Instead, they were made of turnips!
10. Jack O’ lanterns have roots in an old Irish folktale.