I was pretty bummed this weekend to not be able to do any pumpkin carving so I've set out to find creepy jack o lanterns online. I stumbled across a site called All things Halloween in my search that gave a history of the jack o lantern that I really like:
Jack O'Lanterns come from Irish folklore. As the story goes, there was once a trickster named Jack. One day he tricked the Devil into climbing up a tree to pick some fruit. While the Devil was in the tree, Jack carved a symbol of the cross into the bark, and the Devil could not come down. Jack made the Devil promise to not temp him or take his soul when he died before he would let the Devil down (because the Devil always keeps his promises).
Eventually, Jack died, but God wouldn't allow the soul of such a bad man into heaven, and the Devil couldn't let him into hell. Instead, the Devil gave him a burning ember which Jack put into a hallowed out turnip to guide his way in the darkness. This gave him the name Jack of the Lantern, and later just Jack O'Lantern.
Irish people would put scary faces into hallowed turnips to try to frighten away the spirit of Jack and any other lost souls during Halloween. When Irish settlers came to America they found that Pumpkins made for even better jack o'lanterns and used them instead.
The site also has a jack o lantern gallery where I found the photo above among many other creative pumpkin carving projects like these:
And, as I have turned to her site for all other things Halloween, I went to Martha Stewart for her jack o lantern ideas.
There were some like these two so intricately carved! They're absolutely amazing!
And this one just reminds me of Jack the Pumpkin King!