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One story about Jack, an Irishman, who was not allowed into Heaven because he was stingy with his money. So he was sent to hell. But down there he played tricks on the Devil (Satan), so he was kicked out of Hell and made to walk the earth forever carrying a lantern.
Well, Irish children made Jack's lanterns on October 31st from a large potato or turnip, hollowed out with the sides having holes and lit by little candles inside. And Irish children would carry them as they went from house to house begging for food for the village Halloween festival that honored the Druid god Muck Olla. The Irish name for these lanterns was "Jack with the lantern" or "Jack of the lantern," abbreviated as " Jack-o'-lantern" and now spelled "jack-o-lantern."
The traditional Halloween you can read about in most books was just children's fun night. Halloween celebrations would start in October in every elementary school.
Halloween originated as a celebration connected with evil spirits. Witches flying on broomsticks with ghosts, goblins and skeletons have all evolved as symbols of Halloween. Bats, owls and other nocturnal animals are also popular symbols of Halloween. They were originally feared because people believed that these creatures could communicate with the spirits of the dead.
Black cats are also symbols of Halloween and have religious origins as well. Black cats were considered to be reincarnated beings with the ability to divine the future. During the Middle Ages it was believed that witches could turn themselves into black cats. Thus when such a cat was seen, it was considered to be a witch in disguise. All these are popular trick-or-treat costumes and decorations for greeting cards and windows.
Black is one of the traditional Halloween colors, probably because Halloween festivals and traditions took place at night.
Pumpkins are also a symbol of Halloween. The pumpkin is an orange-colored squash, and orange has become the other traditional Halloween color. Carving pumpkins into jack- o'-lanterns is a Halloween custom also dating back to Ireland. A legend grew up about a man named Jack who was so stingy that he was not allowed into heaven when he died, because he was a miser. He couldn't enter hell either because he had played jokes on the devil. As a result, Jack had to walk on the earth with his lantern until Judgement Day. So Jack and his lantern became the symbol of a lost or damned soul. To scare these souls away on Halloween, the Irish people carved scary faces out of turnips, beets or potatoes representing "Jack of the Lantern," or Jack-o-lantern. When the Irish brought their customs to the United States, they carved faces on pumpkins because in the autumn they were more plentiful than turnips. Today jack-o-lanterns in the windows of a house on Halloween night let costumed children know that there are goodies waiting if they knock and say "Trick or Treat!"