Introduction: Jumping Jack-O-Lantern!!!!!

Picture of Jumping Jack-O-Lantern!!!!!

Every year my kids have new an innovative ideas for "what" they want to be for Halloween, but I typically must come up with the "how"!    One year, my son wanted to be a Jack-O-Lantern and part of being me is never doing anything part way.  Also, it is very important, especially for younger kiddos, to light them up for safety at night, keep them warm because wearing a coat over your costume is n fun and make them comfortable or they won't wear it after all your hard work.  With these basic principles in mind for any costume I make, the Jumping Jack-O-Lantern was born!  Btw, my son won 2 costume contests with this costume!j

For this project, you will need the following:

Fabric - Orange Fleece (pumpkin colored - yardage will depend on size of person)
Fabric - Yellow Fleece (inside pumpkin colored - yardage will depend on size of person)
Fabric - Dark Green Fleece (color of pumpkin vines)
Fabric - Orange mesh (stiff) netting material
Matching thread for all material
Bean Bag sewing pattern (available in fabric stores)
Poly Fiber stuffing (available in fabric or craft stores)
Black 1 1/2 inch elastic (2 yards)
Package of Velcro
Sewing matching
Straight Pins
Small rotary cutter or really good small scissors that do precise cuts
Freezer Paper
Pencil or marker
8 battery operated tea lights (flickering one's are better)

Step 1: 1. Cut the Pattern to Fit

Picture of 1. Cut the Pattern to Fit

The first step is to cut out the part of the bean bag sewing pattern that makes the sectioned bean bag shape and modify this to fit the child from chest to just above their knees, by measuring and then tracing the shape of the sewing pattern piece at the new measurement onto freezer paper.  I use freezer paper frequently when modifying a pattern as it holds up well.  For my son, this measurement was about 20" or so from chest to just above his knee.  I also cut a notch in the bottom of the pattern, once sewn, this made a nice section for his feet to go through.

Step 2: 2. Cut Pumpkin Sections

Picture of 2. Cut Pumpkin Sections

Next, cut orange and yellow sections of the pumpkin.  In my case, I needed 6 orange sections and 6 yellow sections to properly fit around the child; you may need more or less depending on size.  To cut, fold your fleece to just wide enough to fit the pattern piece.  Place the straight edge of the pattern on the fold as shown and pin.  Then, cut around the curved part of the pattern, which when unfolded, will give you an odd shaped piece; your first wedge of pumpkin.  Repeat this process having the same number of orange and yellow sections.

Step 3: 3. Sew Sections Together

Picture of 3. Sew Sections Together

Next, pin two sections together one one side; this is the side you will machine sew (ONLY THIS SIDE).  Once you have completed the joining of these first two sections, add another orange section in the same manner until all the sections of one color are sewn together.  Machine sew all the orange sections together and separately sew all the yellow sections together in this manner (these will be combined in a future step).  You may use whatever seam allowance you like, I use around 5/8" or a bit less.  

Step 4: 4. Sewing Each Section

Picture of 4. Sewing Each Section

You should now have all sections of each color sewn together.  For this next step, fold right sides together on each section, pin and machine sew a final seam that joins the two end pieces together.  You should now have two "round" sections; one orange and one yellow that will begin to look like something the child can wear, as shown.

Step 5: 5. Joining Orange & Yellow Sections

Picture of 5. Joining Orange & Yellow Sections

This next step can be tricky but is much like the concept of making a pillow.  Match "right sides" and pumpkin points of orange and yellow sections, tucking orange inside the yellow section and pin.  Machine stich carefully around the points of the pumpkin ONLY.  Once this is complete all the way around, turn the pumpkin right side out forming more of a pillow look with the points.  

Step 6: 6. Creating Sections to Stuff!

Picture of 6. Creating Sections to Stuff!

Now that your pumpkin is sewn at the points and is right side out (orange side should be out, yellow side should in in), you will now match the seams of each color together, pin and sew these two sections together up each seam carefully, leaving the bottom open for stuffing.  This will create a pocket section for each to be stuffed.

Step 7: 7. Cutting the Face & Securing

Picture of 7. Cutting the Face & Securing

Next, draw on freezer paper whatever face you would like for your jack-o-lantern and cut it out.  Make sure it fits on the front section.  I did this by putting a pillow or stuffing bag in the middle of the pumpkin to give it shape so I could get a better view.  Then, tape your shapes onto the front where you want them.  Once in place, remove the pillow in the center and add a cutting mat (could be self healing or not) and use a rotary cutter to cut out the face.  You will be cutting through both layers of material.  IMMEDIATELY pin around each section of the face to hold the shape.

Step 8: 8. Applying the Mesh to the Face

Picture of 8. Applying the Mesh to the Face

I highly recommend doing this step PRIOR to stuffing any section of the pumpkin.  Now, take your orange mesh (or whatever mesh you have chosen), turn the pumpkin inside out (yellow side out) and pin the mesh over the entire space where the face is.  Machine stich carefully around each eye, nose and mouth.  Fleece is very forgiving.  I recommend using a zigzag stich for this as it looks more finished and is durable.  Then trim off the excess mesh.  This gives stability to the face.  use several layers of mesh if needed.

Step 9: 9. Stuffing Each Section

Picture of 9. Stuffing Each Section

Next stuff each section of the pumpkin from the bottom to desired fullness.  It helps to try the costume on periodically to the child for optimal fit.  For the face section, use a chop stick or other long blunt tool, to work the stuffing around the face section.   Once complete, just machine sew up the bottom together to hold the stuffing in.  This will not show underneath them.

Next, for the inside, cut a rectangular piece of yellow fabric to fit inside across the belly of the child and hand sew in to the sides of the pumpkin.  This creates a block of yellow color (child is wearing black) which creates the illusion.   Then take the black elastic, measuring on you child, and sew securely into the inside to create straps.  This was very funny at night when he would run because the elastic caused the jack-o-lantern to bounce or "jump" which is all we could see in the dark!  Hours of hilarity for the adults :-)

Lastly, glue or hand sew some velcro into the inside of the pumpkin at the sides and stick 4 battery operated candles on each side (8 total) to create the light without seeing the candles.  

Step 10: 10. Now for the Hat

Picture of 10. Now for the Hat

Start by using a pattern for a hat or hood you already have.  This could even be from another Halloween costume pattern.  Cut it out and machine sew it according to the instructions.  Use yellow fleece as this creates the illusion of your child having just popped out of the center of the pumpkin.

Step 11: 10. Now for the Hat.

Picture of 10. Now for the Hat.

For the top part, I hand drew all the rest of the pieces I wanted to sew onto the hat.  You can be really creative with this step.  I measured the opening of the finished costume to try and get a sense of the size of top I would need to attach to the hat.  

I stuffed each section as in the pumpkin, leaving a little room for the sections to droop a bit.  I then cut a stem and leaves from the green fleece, stuffed the stem and added stitching to the leaves for effect.  Here are a few photos of my process.

Step 12: 12. Jumpin Jack-O-Lantern!!

Picture of 12. Jumpin Jack-O-Lantern!!


curie14 made it! (author)2014-10-29

Finished! Thank you so much for the awesome project, and for taking the time to answer my question! You're brilliant! :o) Here's our jack 'o' lantern -- my kid is asleep now, but it fits my tall four-year-old exactly as it fits your son in the pictures. I used a free youth bean bag chair pattern by Joanna at Stardust Shoes -- you can find a link for the pattern in this post from Making It Fun: This is a great pattern and I look forward to one day making a chair from it. :o) I only needed five of the football-shaped pattern pieces, and I used about 1-1.5 yards of orange and yellow fleece. I followed the extremely clear and helpful instructions from this Instructable to the letter, and the finished shape of my pumpkin was a lot like the pictures here. Mine probably has less stuffing, but it's perfect for us. There are parts of the project that require close attention -- the hardest parts for me were handling the points at the top, and doing the zig-zag stitch around the face through the layers of mesh and fleece. But it was all fine. The points were OK once I figured it out, and the shape was improved when I went back and sewed over the long seams to create the stuffing pockets. The zig-zag stitch through the mesh created no problems -- I just worked slowly. (I'm a beginning sewer.) I did find it easier to cut out the facial features with scissors instead of a rotary cutter, but I'm not very experienced with a rotary cutter. I used four layers of yellow tulle and did a wide, loose zig-zag to loosely stitch it all in place before going back over it with a tighter zig-zag. One more small change: We had better results with the elastic sewn in an x-shape in the back, as shown in my picture. We are completely content to have a small flashlight in the pocket instead of the little candles -- our bright little flashlight looks like a candle in a real jack 'o' lantern, and even more importantly, the pumpkin-wearer can independently turn it on and off. :o) This is such a fantastic costume. I am so thankful to aingeal69 for taking the time to make the tutorial. We are all THRILLED with it over here.

Ericaj221 (author)curie142014-11-01

looks great. I struggled with the face. I used black tulle and just ended up hand sewing the eyes and mouth. I somehow managed the nose but the eyes and mouth gave me lots of trouble. I also did the criss cross in the back with elastic and did a button in one side in the front to make getting in and out a little easier.

aingeal69 (author)2014-10-30

curie14 - You did an AMAZING job! The face is adorable and your cross straps are genius. Sometimes, modifications need to be made for the kiddos we have! :-) I hope your little one loves it running around tomorrow night! I LOVE seeing pictures of other's creations with this costume. I am so happy you shared it as well as your modifications. Happy Halloween to you and your family. Be safe and have fun!

curie14 (author)2014-10-21

Thank you so much for this wonderful Instructable! This is genius -- I love that it has the sweetness of a jack 'o' lantern with the extra "cool" factor of the light-up face and bouncing shoulders. :o) I have a question about modifying the pattern. You're not scaling down the size of the pieces, right -- just cutting them to the appropriate length? Thanks so much!

aingeal69 (author)curie142014-10-21

Thanks for the compliment! I just shortened the bean bag pattern to fit kid body and redrew the curve as needed. It wasn't that difficult. also made a mock up out of throw away material I had laying around to see the it was going to fit properly before cutting into the good fabric. Hope that helps.

jhill12 (author)2013-10-16

This is fantastic! Great Instructable! I am currently in the process of finishing this for my 7yo daughter and have a question/clarification request - can you please describe in more detail how you finished the bottom of the pumpkin? You've got a great edge there and I'm just sure how to go about it.

Thanks again!

aingeal69 (author)jhill122013-10-17

All I did on the bottom was fold up and hem. At first I thought elastic might be needed but as it turned out the shape of the rest of the pumpkin drew the bottom in enough no elastic was required to gather it in, so I just hemmed. Hope that's helpful.

Penolopy Bulnick (author)2012-10-26

That is so adorable, and using tea lights was brilliant. So easy, no worries about wiring!

Thank you! i really enjoyed making it. As there is no such pattern in the world of sewing, I do often end up creating my own. Santa has Christmas, my busy season is Halloween.

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