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Jack Facts

 Across Canada kids and families are busy carving pumpkins into Jack O'Lanterns to create an eerie atmosphere to delight young trick-or-treaters.

 But how did the pumpkin get linked to Halloween?

 The tale stars in Ireland with a fellow named Jack , a turnip and a gullible Devil.

 On his way home after a long night at the pub one All Hallow's Eve, Jack met the Devil, who had come to claim his soul.

 Trying to buy time, Jack begged the Devil to let him have one more drink. The Devil agreed and the smooth-talking Irishman persuaded he was short of cash and the Devil should assume the shape of sixpence so Jack could pay for his drink.

 But once he'd turned into a coin, Jack grabbed him and stuck the Devil in his wallet.

 Jack eventually agreed to free the Devil, if the Devil wouldn't bother him for a year.

 On the next All Hallow's Eve, Jack again ran into the Devil, who demanded Jack accompany him.

 Again, Jack out-smarted the Devil.

 He tricked the Devil into climbing an apple tree, then carved a cross on the trunk, stranding the Devil on a limb.

 The Devil agreed to leave Jack alone, if one he could get out of the tree.

 Jack accepted the bargain, but following another year of whisky and wild living, Jack died.

 When he tried to enter Heaven he was rejected. When he tried to enter Hell, the Devil turned him away.

 But the Devil tossed Jack a lump of coal so he could find his way in the darkness of limbo.

 Jack carved a hole in a turnip, lit the coal and stuck it in the create a make-shift lantern.

 Jack was doomed to wander in darkness with his lantern until "Judgment Day" and Jack of the lantern (Jack o'Lantern) became known as the symbol of a damned soul.

 For decades the Irish carved turnips, or beets into lanterns to celebrate the festival of All Hallow's Eve.

 When potato famine of the 1840s drove hundreds of thousands of themto North America they continued the custom, but used the plentiful pumpkins, instead of turnips.