A long time ago, an Irish guy went to the pub with Satan. All good stories start with a visit to the pub.
His name was Jack, or “Stingy Jack” to his mates because he avoided buying rounds by not taking any money out with him. We all know that person.
Being a deity with little use for money, the Devil had no way to pay either. However, being a deity, Jack convinced the Devil to turn himself in to a coin so that they could pay for their drinks. The Devil did so, but Jack pocketed the coin next to a silver cross, meaning that the Devil couldn’t turn back.
We all know the person who doesn’t give you your change when you send them to the bar with your money.
Eventually Jack let the Devil out of his pocket in exchange that he would not bother Jack for one year and that, should Jack die, he would not claim his soul.
A year later, the Devil and Jack went out again. Jack, showing great banter having had an obviously heavy session, got the Devil to climb a tree to pick some fruit and, while he was up the tree, Jack carved a cross in the bark meaning that the Devil couldn’t get down.
Another deal was struck that the Devil could come down if he wouldn’t bother Jack for a decade. Obviously the Devil is one of those people who tags along to a night out and won’t take a hint.
Anyway, Jack kicked the bucket and God decided that he was a bit of a moron and wouldn’t let him to Heaven. The Devil, having made a promise not to take Jack’s soul and also thinking him a bit of a moron wouldn’t let Jack in to Hell either. Payback’s a bitch.
Instead, the Devil sent Jack off in to the dark with only an ember of coal to light his way. Jack put the burning coal in to a turnip and has been roaming the earth with it ever since.
And, oddly, that’s why carve ghoulish designs in to pumpkins (not turnips) for Halloween.
I realise that some people may have known that already, but I didn’t!