The First Jack O’ Lanterns Were Carved From?
In the history of Jack O’ Lanterns, the pumpkin as a preferred canvas for carving is a relatively recent change. For centuries before the pumpkin was used for ghoulish carving, English and Irish children would carve faces into turnips, mangelwurzel, or beets and then tuck candle stumps inside them to serve both as lanterns they could carry around and that could be left on fence posts and hidden around corners to startle unsuspecting travelers.
What the children called their lanterns would have varied widely based on region and century. While we uniformly refer to all carved and lit up pumpkins, gourds, and such as Jack O’ Lanterns now, they were historically known by a wide variety of names besides Jack O’ Lantern, including Will-o’-the-Wisp, Hoberdy’s Lantern, Hobany’s Lantern, and ‘Hob and his Lantern’.
Image by Bodrugan.