Posts Tagged ‘pumpkin’

27th October
2012
written by scott

I love pumpkin carving – it’s my favorite part of Halloween.  This year, I decided to do something a little different with my jack-o-lanterns: animate them!  I was inspired by the guys at DigitalDudz, who came up with the very clever idea of brining Halloween t-shirts to live by taping your smartphone or tablet inside the shirt and playing a video that aligns to the image on the front of the shirt.  If it works for a t-shirt, why not a pumpkin?

The process is quite simple. 

  1. Start by picking a video that you want to incorporate into your pumpkin design. There are lots of videos on YouTube that will work, but I really liked the HallowEyes video pack ($6 CAD) from Hallowindow.com
  2. Next, pick the device that you’ll use to play the video.  Any digital device will work: an iPad or iPhone, any other smartphone, a Kindle Fire,  a digital picture frame that supports video playback… even a small monitor or pico projector connected to a laptop.  For extra versatility, consider using more than one device (ex. a smartphone for each eye).
  3. Load the video onto your device.  Then, lay a piece of paper over your device’s screen and trace the outline of the important part of the video.  In my case, I traced the outline of each eyeball.
  4. Pick the side of your pumpkin that you wish to carve.  Transfer the outline from the paper to the pumpkin by poking a series of small holes into the pumpkin around the lines on the paper.  Be sure to pick an area on your pumpkin where the device will fit nicely, remembering that most devices have a bezel that adds extra width.
  5. Cut a hole in the opposite side of the pumpkin, ensuring the hole is large enough to fit your device.  Scrape out the guts. 
  6. Put your video device in a clear plastic bag to protect it from the guts of the pumpkin.  Most touchscreens will still allow you to control them through a thin plastic bag.
  7. Make a small alignment hole where you want the video to appear.  In my case, I made a 1/2” hole in the center of each eyeball.  Insert your device with the video playing and check the alignment against those holes.  Then, working with a small amount of material at a time, scrape out the inside flesh of the pumpkin until your device fits against the inside wall.  Be careful not to scrape too far or you could puncture the inner wall of the pumpkin.
  8. Remove your device from the pumpkin.  Working from the outside face, gradually expand the alignment holes until they reveal the correct part of your screen.
  9. Finally, insert your video device one last time and hold it in place using toothpicks inserted into the inside flesh of the pumpkin.  Play the video (on repeat, if your device supports it).

If you liked this project, check out my primer on carving pumpkins with a laser,

31st October
2011
written by scott

pumpkin cotton candy jack-o-lantern

This is effin cool.  We centrifuged a can of pumpkin to yield a few tablespoons of a clear, orange pumpkin-flavored liquid.  We saturated it with sugar and spiked it with pumpkin pie spice, then heated the mixture to 300F and cast it into hard caramel molds.  Then, we spun the hard caramel in a cotton candy machine to make 2” puffs of pumpkin-flavored cotton candy.  Then, we squeezed the puffs into the shape of a skull and cut out triangles for the eyes and nose.  Finally, we put it on a stand with a candle behind it.  Presenting the pumpkin cotton candy jack-o-lantern, as interpreted by Jet City Gastrophysics.

Happy Halloween!

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13th October
2010
written by scott

Halloween 035

I am a pumpkin carving geek.  I can’t get enough of it!  As soon as October rolls around, there’s nothing I want to do more than buy a dozen of the largest pumpkins Fred Meyer carries and sit at home with my pairing knife whittling away at orange flesh.  [Tip: Fred Meyer’s scales max out somewhere around 30 lbs., so find the heaviest pumpkins you can and you’ll get a great deal!]

Over the past few years, I’ve developed a few pumpkin carving techniques (ahem… using lasers), but I am certainly not alone when it comes to geeking out over gords.  Check out this collection of nerd-o-lanterns!

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30th October
2009
written by scott
Laser Pumpkin Carving

I’m a huge geek, and I love carving pumpkins.  So, when I found out that I had access to a 30W CO2 cutting laser, there was only one thing that came to mind: laser-carved pumpkins.  Every October, I spend a few weeks in the lab working on new techniques for perfecting my laser pumpkins.  Below is a research paper I wrote detailing the process.  It might be a little dry, but the results are, well, scary!  And, in case you haven’t seen the results, here are my laser-carved creations from the past few years.

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