Jack Frost is the personification of frost and cold weather, a variant of Old Man Winter held responsible for frosty weather, for nipping the nose and toes in such weather, coloring the foliage in autumn, and leaving fernlike patterns on cold windows in winter.
Starting in early 20th century literature, more filled-out characterizations of Jack Frost have made him into a sprite-like character. He sometimes appears as a sinister mischief maker.
Jack Frost is a spirit and the personification of crisp, cold, winter weather, a variant of Old Man Winter. He is also at times shown as a mischief-making spirit, carefree and happiest when he can behave as he pleases. With no obligations, he is able to flourish.
He is traditionally thought to leave the frosty, fernlike patterns on windows on cold winter mornings (window frost or fern frost) and nipping the extremities in cold weather. He is sometimes described or depicted with paint brush and bucket coloring the autumnal foliage red, yellow, purple, and orange. Jack Frost is friendly but if provoked, he will kill his victims by covering them with snow. On the other hand, some versions depict him as a kinder being who only wishes to enjoy himself and bring happiness to others. He is often portrayed as an older man, though other depictions show him as a young adult or a teenager.
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His roots may originate from Anglo-Saxon and Norse winter customs.
In Russia however, he has taken a different form as Father Frost, and in Germany there is instead a different entity altogether. There are various other mythological beings who take on a similar role yet have different folklore to them.
In recent years, Jack Frost has made appearances as a character in pop culture - he garnered a brief mention in the wintertime song The Christmas Song and several roles as a character in television and movies. Over the years he has taken the role of both villains, heroes, and neutral entities.
In more modern mythology he is often the being that parents will warn their child of in frosty winter mornings before they go outside, as it is said he will pull tricks on them and cause their extremities to become cold.
In popular culture 
- In L. Frank Baum's The Life and Adventures of Santa Claus (1902), Jack Frost is the son of the otherwise unnamed Frost King. He takes pleasure in nipping "scores of noses and ears and toes", but Santa Claus, who likes Jack (who he sees as a "jolly rogue") though he mistrusts him, asks him to spare the children. Jack says he will, if he can resist the temptation. The same Jack appears in "The Runaway Shadows", a short story by Baum. In this story, he has the power to freeze shadows, separating them from their owners, making them their own living entities.
- In Laurell K. Hamilton's Meredith Gentry series, a character emerges as the original Jack Frost. Jack Frost has appeared as a minor character in the Rupert Bear stories, and in Jack of Fables (a Fables spinoff) the titular character became Jack Frost for a period of time. A second Jack Frost ("Jack too, or Jack two") appears as the son of Jack Horner and The Snow Queen.
- In the Rainbow Magic books by Daisy Meadows, Jack Frost is an antagonist who wants to freeze Fairyland. He is accompanied by pesky goblins who steal fairies, and try to sabotage them.
- Jack Frost also appears in "First Death in Nova Scotia", a poem by Elizabeth Bishop.
- Jack appears in the novels Reaper Man and Hogfather by Terry Pratchett and The Veil trilogy of novels by Christopher Golden.
- The Man Jack, an enigmatic and almost unnatural killer and a member of "The Jacks Of All Trades" calls himself Jack Frost in The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman.
- In comic books, Jack Frost appears as a superhero in works published by Timely Comics (now[update] Marvel Comics) in the 1940s. A man covered in ice, he could project ice and cold.
- Jack Frost, a Russian film from 1964, has the title Morozko—the Russian equivalent of Jack Frost.
- The character of Jack Frost appears in three American films, two of them named simply Jack Frost. In one Jack Frost, a serial killer turns into a snowman and continues his rampage. This movie spawned a sequel: Jack Frost 2: Revenge of the Mutant Killer Snowman, also starring this version of Jack Frost.
- In the other Jack Frost film, Michael Keaton plays a human by the name of Jack Frost, who is killed in a car-crash on Christmas Eve. A year later he returns as a snowman to spend time with his son.
- Jack Frost appears as the primary antagonist in The Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause played by Martin Short. In this portrayal, he desires to take control of Christmas and claim it as his own, as is he is jealous of the attention and popularity Santa Claus has.
- Jack Frost is one of the main characters in the DreamWorks animation Rise of the Guardians where he and his fellow friends; Sandman, the Tooth Fairy, the Easter Bunny and Santa Claus take on the Boogeyman [Pitch Black] who wants to engulf the entire world in nightmares. This version of Frost is portrayed as a fun-loving teenage boy who has no interest in being bound by rules or obligations and just wants to use his magical staff to spread his winter magic for the sake of his amusement, and for the amusement of others.
- Jack Frost appears as the title character in a 1934 release of Ub Iwerks's ComiColor Cartoons.
- He is the main protagonist of the 2012 film Rise of the Guardians. In this film, he is portrayed as a mischievous yet kind-hearted and gentle winter spirit who takes the form of a teenage boy and loves to play tricks on the other spirits and bring fun and joy to the local children. He can fly thanks to his staff. He was chosen by the Man in the Moon to join the Guardians of Childhood which are Santa Claus, the Tooth Fairy, the Sandman and the Easter Bunny to defeat the antagonist of the film, the Bogeyman.
Radio and television
- Prior to the popularity of television, Jack Frost appeared in the children's radio serial The Cinnamon Bear.
- In television, Jack Frost (voiced by Paul Frees) makes an appearance in the Rankin/Bass Christmas television special Frosty's Winter Wonderland, in which he grows jealous of Frosty the Snowman because of the attention the children lavish upon him. He tries to render Frosty lifeless by stealing his magic hat but is eventually chosen as the best man at Frosty and Crystal's wedding.
- Jack Frost reappears to bring Frosty and his family back to life at the end of Rudolph and Frosty's Christmas in July.
- In another Rankin-Bass TV special produced in 1979, Jack Frost, the title character (voiced by Robert Morse) falls in love with a human girl and seeks to become human. Father Winter grants his wish, but tells him that if he does not have a house, a horse, a bag of gold, and a wife by "the first sign of spring" he will become a sprite again.
Jack Frost has appeared in many video games including AdventureQuest, OverSoul, Killing Floor, City of Villains, Guild Wars, Granado Espada, Ragnarok Online, Rise of the Guardians, and RuneScape. Frost also functions as a trademark character for the game-developer Atlus and as a mascot of the Megami Tensei series, in which it learns mainly Ice skills; in the games Persona 3 and Persona 4, he appears as a Persona of the Magician Arcana. He also appears as a character in Scribblenauts Unlimited. A female version of Jack Frost is also on Scribblenauts Unlimited.
Jethro Tull have a song titled "Jack Frost and the Hooded Crow". Saint Vitus depict Jack Frost as an evil spirit of winter on their album V. The radio station WRHS-FM 89.7 in Norridge, Illinois brands its holiday music format "Jack Frost". The name has been employed as a pseudonym by musicians Bob Dylan and Jack Dempsey. Jack Rosenberg (later known as "Werner Erhard") used it as a nickname while selling cars in Philadelphia in the 1950s.
See also 
- Oxford English Dictionary, first edition, s.v. 'frost' and 'Jack'
- Bartholomew F. Bland, Laura L. Vookles, William H. Gerdts, Laura L. Vookles. (2010) Paintbox Leaves: Autumnal Inspiration from Cole to Wyeth. Hudson River Museum. p. 41. ISBN 0943651301.Tveten, John L. and Gloria Tveten. (2008). Nature at Your Doorstep: A Nature Trails Book. Texas A&M University Press. p. 47. ISBN 1603440364.
- The Life and Adventures of Santa Claus by L. Frank Baum, Part 2, Chapter 2: How Claus Made The First Toy
- The Runaway Shadows or A Trick of Jack Frost by L. Frank Baum
- Pressman, Steven, Outrageous Betrayal: The dark journey of Werner Erhard from est to exile. New York: St. Martin's Press, 1993, page 6. ISBN 0-312-09296-2