Introduction: Jack-o'-Lantern With Fog (No Dry Ice)
Jack-o'-lantern with Fog (No Dry Ice)
Fog and Halloween go together. So what could be more appropriate and spooky than a jack-o'-lantern with fog curling out of its mouth and eyes. Now you could resort to 'fog juice' heated fog machines or dry ice, but I have always liked using ultrasonic humidifiers to produce fog. They don't have the hassles and hazards of procuring dry ice and the fog hangs low just like dry ice fog. Ultrasonic humidifiers* are relatively inexpensive with the least expensive starting around $30 on the internet and thrift store acquisitions setting you back far less. They also require little attention after set up allowing you to enjoy your Halloween festivities rather than attending to a fog machine or adding dry ice.
*An ultrasonic humidifier uses high frequency sound waves in the water to break the surface tension and produce extremely fine water droplets - fog. This type of humidifier is often referred to as cool mist or visible mist; however these terms are also sometime used to describe non-ultrasonic types also. Ultrasonic humidifiers do not use heaters and do not have paper filter media that evaporates the water. You want to make sure that the humidifier produces a visible 'fog' without the use of heat or filters; then you can be sure you have an ultrasonic humidifier. You can also identify an ultrasonic humidifier by the presence of the piezo disk located in the bottom of the water tray (see step 4).
Step 1: Supplies
You will need the following supplies and tools:
Jack-o'-lantern - You can carve your own or use a plastic one.
Ultrasonic Humidifier (As noted, a thrift store is a good option, but you might want to make sure it works before leaving the store)
Foam pipe insulating wrap - 'non-slit' type if available. (Other types of tubes will work, but this was least expensive option at <$2.)
PVC pipe fittings (see text)
Duct or Masking tape
Utensils to carve your Jack-o'-lantern
Step 2: Connect to Your Ultrasonic Humidifier
Most Ultrasonic Humidifiers have a output nozzle to direct the mist. The nozzle lifts out of hole/groove in the top of the tank. You should be able to find some PVC pipe fitting that will fit into the opening where the nozzle was located. You might have to wrap some duct or masking tape around the PVC fitting to get a snug fit.
I used a 2" to 1" reducer and a shot length of 1" PVC pipe to make my adapter to connect my hose to my humidifier.
The hose is foam insulation sleeve to cover hot water pipes. It was the cheapest 'pipe' I could find, and at <$2 for the 6 foot length it was a bargain. Other pipe will work, its just that this was the least expensive option for me.
Step 3: Connect Your Jack-o'-Lantern
You are going to connect the pipe coming from the humidifier to the jack-o'-lantern. Trace the outline of the pipe on the back of the jack-o'-lantern and cut an opening just a tiny bit smaller than the pipe.
With a little bit of effort insert the pipe into the jack-o'-lantern.
Step 4: Fog Away!
Fill the humidifier with water, plug it in to a wall outlet and switch on! Set the humidifier controls to maximum output and watch the fog billow out. Fog is water vapor and will condense on surfaces it touches so make sure to either place the jack-o'-lantern on a water proof surface or put some plastic down. Also be careful that the pipe between the humidifier and the jack-o'-lantern does not have dips in it (portions lower than others) as condensation will tend to collet there also, and even fill up the pipe until fog can't make it through.
The humidifier blows the water droplets out with a steam of air. Sometimes the amount of air is too large to get the fog effect you want - Blasting through the eyes and mouth, instead of the slow curling creeping fog you envisioned. To correct this you can reduce the air flow by putting some packing tape over the air outlet in the area of the water tray. Play around with the amount of opening until you get the fog effect you want.
Position your fogging pumpkin in its spot of honor and watch the fog billow for hours.