Halloween Color

A smiling pumpkin

October 2005

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Once again, it's basically just a jack-o-lantern for Halloween. This one's main special feature, which you can't see from the above photo, is the lighting.

A few years ago, I found a couple of sets of battery-operated Xmas lights on the discount pile at the craft store. Each set has ten little "grain-of-rice" bulbs in five different colors. The bulbs blink on two at a time, and the whole thing runs for hours off of two AA cells. They were on clearance for a dollar or two, so I bought four sets.

The design is nothing too exciting, but with the blinking colored lights, the whole effect is psychedelic and disturbing. The constantly changing color and angle of the lights makes the face of the pumpkin shift around. I also made sure to put the four red bulbs directly behind the glass marbles of the eyes, which makes it particularly menacing.


Back of pumpkin, showing wiring

In this picture, you can see the wiring and batteries a little better. The bulbs are randomly distributed around the back, except for the four red bulbs that feed through the slot just under the lid.

Besides the pumpkin and the lights, I used two glass marbles for the eyes. These wound up sacrificed to the pumpkin gods, as I didn't want to touch them after they'd been sitting in a rotten pumpkin for two weeks.

The Process

I used the "print out the pattern and poke it through with a nail" method to transfer my design to the pumpkin, and then carved out the design with a variety of specialized tools. The lights weren't held in, they were just pushed through holes poked in the pumpkin.

Bonus: Sharon's Scowl-O-Lantern

A scowling pumpkin

This is possibly the most malevolent jack-o-lantern I have ever seen.

Happy Halloween 2005

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