10 Glowing Kids' Books About Jack-O’-Lanterns

Lila and the Jack-o'-Lantern

Lila and the Jack-O’-Lantern

An excellent story that give readers the background on how these carvings originally came to be. This is the story of Lila, an Irish immigrant, who is in search of a turnip to carve and light. In her native country, the kids walk around on Halloween with their little turnip lanterns to trick Stingy Jack, an evil man from Irish folklore. But in America, Lila learns that kids turn pumpkins into lanterns instead. An interesting story that connects cultural celebrations and provides some interesting history.



Glowing Kids' Jack-O’-Lantern Books

There are so many good books to read around Halloween. Stories about ghosts, witches, trick-or-treaters, and haunted houses are always good options for little ones excited for the holiday. Be sure to add the best kids' books about jack-o'-lanterns to the mix. Pumpkins spring to life once their faces have been carved and they are lit from within. Kids will love reading about the wide range of spooky, friendly, and silly picture books about this popular Halloween decoration. After reading, be sure to gather some pumpkins and other supplies ready for kids who will surely want to carve their very own.

the light inside

The Light Inside

A wordless little book for toddlers and preschoolers who will relate to the dilemma. He has lost his beloved stuffed toy and head out into the night to find it. The tiny orange fellow must find courage within and face his fears about what could be lurking in the darkness. Kids will have fun using their own words to tell the story along with the semi-spooky illustrations.



Little Pumpkin, Where’s Your Light?

Little Pumpkin, Where's Your Light?

A little pumpkin needs the help of friends so he can be restored to a brighter version of himself. Halloween is right around the corner, so all the creatures band together to search for the missing light. A cute, simple story for kids who will enjoy the light and happy ending.


    the fierce yellow pumpkin

The Fierce Yellow Pumpkin

Just like kids who dream of what they will be, a little pumpkin longs for the day when he will be fierce. From the author of Goodnight Moon, this story is an endearing look at a little one's desire to grow up and do big things. Eventually, the pumpkin becomes large enough to join the ranks of others that cause fright. Glowing pictures and poetic verse elicit all the feels for this Halloween classic.

Pumpkin Jack

Pumpkin Jack

A fantastic book that teaches kids about decomposition and revitalization. Tim spent hours carving his very first pumpkin, taking great care to create a ferocious-looking face. Like all the rest, this one soon started to decay, so Tim moved it into the backyard garden where it eventually disappeared into the ground. When spring arrived, Tim was thrilled to discover a flower in the place where the jack-o'lantern had been, and eventually a brand new, healthy pumpkin grew.


 Jack and Jill: A Halloween Nursery Rhyme 

Jack and Jill: A Halloween Nursery Rhyme

A large board book with a fun twist on a classic nursery rhyme. A couple of jack-o'-lanterns, named Jack and Jill, head up the hill to fetch a pail of water. The rest of the story follows exactly like the original, with a fun pumpkin spin.



 Pumpkin Heads

Pumpkin Heads

A gorgeous picture book with detailed pictures capturing a variety of haunting scenes perfect for Halloween. Readers are taken on a journey from the pumpkin patch to the kitchen table to carve the perfect jack-o'-lantern. The sparse text gives readers lots of room to dive deep into exploring the amazing illustrations. Amazing pumpkin carvings include witches, cowboys, snowmen, and a variety of other interesting characters. This book is more like a piece of art rather than a lengthy read, making it a nice supplement to more in-depth stories.



 The Story of the Jack O'Lantern

The Story of the Jack-o’-Lantern

A legendary story more suitable for older children who are introduced to an unsavory character. A man named Jack made a deal with the devil and has to repay his debt. One the day of redemption, the situation turns violent and ugly. The devil tosses a hot coal at Jack who catches it inside a pumpkin he is carving. From that day forward, Jack is condemned to walk the earth carrying a lantern. Loosely based on the Irish folktale with some deviations from the original story, this book has elements of fear and violence only for kids who can handle a darker tale.


Ten Little Jack O Lanterns

Ten Little Jack-o’-Lanterns

Kids will love counting backwards as little pumpkins disappear one by one. With each turn of the page, another one disappears from the group. A cute rhyme keeps kids engaged, but the real appeal lies in the little smiling pumpkins built into the pages. They rattle around and provide a fun tactile experience for babies and toddlers.



  J is for Jack-O'-Lantern: A Halloween Alphabet

J is for Jack-O’-Lantern

A festive Halloween alphabet book that is packed with information and fun facts about the holiday. Kids learn everything from A to Z about the traditions, decorations, and history of the biggest day in October. The reason why they say "trick-or-treat" when greeted at the door is fascinating, as well as the background behind all the other traditions. And of course, when readers reach the letter J, they are treated to all kinds of interesting information about why people carve spooky pumpkins and light them up from inside.

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History of the Jack-O’-Lantern

The origins of the jack-o'-lantern can be traced back to an Irish legend about a man, Stingy Jack, who was doomed to roam the earth with a lit turnip. However, in North America the the carved pumpkin was originally associated with the harvest season. In 1895, a small newspaper ran a Thanksgiving holiday column with fun games for kids. The author suggested giving jack-o'-lanterns as prizes for the winners. Eventually, people carved evil faces into the pumpkins and used them as Halloween decorations instead, alongside spooky scarecrows, skeletons, and other creepy creatures. This association is more closely aligned with the evil associated with the Irish legend. Today, both friendly and mean faces are carved into pumpkins and set out on front porches to greet visitors. Reading children's books about jack-o'-lanterns provide a little history lesson in fun way as  these pumpkin characters as they come to life.




Facts for Kids About Jack-O’-Lanterns

    Turning ordinary pumpkins into ghastly faces with evil eyes and chiseled teeth is a fun exercise in creativity. Kids and adults alike gather around the kitchen table every Halloween with sharp tools to cut and carve pieces of pumpkin into horrifying facial features. Seeds are scooped out and baked into a nutritious snack while everyone is busy competing to make the scariest jack-o'-lantern. This pumpkin-carving tradition may seem just like a fun and frivolous activity, but it is actually rooted in some interesting history. Kids will enjoy learning about how these creations came to be, as well as all kinds of other interesting facts.


    Jack-o'-lanterns were not originally made from pumpkins. 
    In Ireland on All Hallow's Eve, people carved out the insides of turnips, gourds, potatoes, beets, and rutabagas. Then they placed a candle inside to ward off evil spirits.


    The history can be traced to a man named Stingy Jack. 
    According to Irish folklore, Jack was a man to escaped the hands of the devil on multiple occasions. One time the devil threw a glowing piece of coal to Jack so he could see his way out of the dark underworld. So Jack carved out a turnip and placed the hot coal inside, thus inventing the first jack-o'-lantern. Old Jack is rumored to still roam around the world, becoming most active on All Saints Day which is November 1st.


    The largest ever carved, according to Guinness World Records, weighed 2,560 pounds. 
    Named Maverick, after the hit movie, the gigantic pumpkin was carved into the shape of a helmet. It was grown in Anoka, Minnesota by Travis Gienger, who believes that Maverick's seeds could produce another record-breaking jack-o'-lantern.

    Pumpkins will start to rot just a few days after they are carved into jack-o'lanterns. 
    However, there are a few ways to preserve the pumpkin for just a little longer. One suggestion is to spray the inside and all carved surfaces with a combination of bleach and water. The mixture will kill off bacteria and mold that lead to decay. Hairspray, especially anti-humidity products, has also been observed to slow down rot. Some people apply olive oil or petroleum jelly to the carved parts to help prevent dehydration.
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