Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Halloween Spooky Stories - The Legend of Jack O'Lantern! A story - picture book, printables, worksheets, and a craft.

Hey everyone!

We are only days away from Halloween!

I was thinking about carving pumpkins, calling them Jack O'Lanterns and thought..what is the (hi)story behind this? I looked into it online and came about some quite spooky stuff about who Jack O'Lantern really was (according to an old Irish legend) and how carved pumpkins became a Halloween must. I found this very interesting and I think it would be a hit in class too! 

How the story goes in a nutshell:

There was a man in Ireland called Jack who people called Stingy Jack. He liked playing tricks on everyone, even on the Devil (!) who he tricked twice. When he died, Saint Peter wouldn't let him into Heaven and the Devil wouldn't let him into hell, so he had no choice but to come back to Earth. As the way back was really dark, he asked for the Devil's help who tossed him a coal from his fire. Stingy Jack took the coal and put it in a turnip which he first hollowed out and carved and turned into a lantern. Since then, he roams the Earth with his lantern and that's why we call him Jack O'Lantern, which is short for Jack of the Lantern. The Irish were the first to carve turnips, potatoes, beets, and other vegetables for Halloween. They put them in front of their houses to keep evil spirits out. When they immigrated to America, they discovered that pumpkins are easier to carve. Americans liked and adopted this custom.

Not many images or art of the "real" Jack O'Lantern are out there, but all stories seem to agree that he was a "stingy old man" (!) Some "Stingy Jack" art from the web:


(Images belong to their rightful owners)

I could not NOT write a kiddo-friendly story about this and add some activities too..!

A preview of the little picture book I wrote. Includes a Jack O'Lantern craft too!

You can check this unit out by following the link below:



  1. Kindergartener is spelled KINDERGARTNER.

  2. Anonymous, first of all thank you for your input. The spelling "kindergartner" follows the German noun "Kinderg√§rtner". For my page and logo I chose to use the spelling kindergarten-er , which follows the English -er formation. A number of dictionaries agree that both are correct. E.g The Merriam-Webster dictionary : "kin·der·gart·ner also kin·der·gar·ten·er" , Collins Dictionary "kin-der-gar-ten-er", Oxford Dictionaries " kin-der-gar-ten-er also kin-der-gart-ner" .