Every year the local business association holds a Pumpkin Parade across the street from my friends Bar. They invite all of the local businesses to submit pumpkins along with local residents. The winning pumpkin gets featured on the next years posters which are displayed on the local transit (which is great advertising for a local business!)
Since my friends bar is a Texas style BBQ joint called AAA I figured it would be best to play on that theme and creates and Pumpkin Smoker! While this is not a scary pumpkin (unless you are a pig!) it is totally "outside the box" and different than any other carved pumpkin I have ever seen.
Step 1: Pick and Prepare Your Peck of Perfect Pumpkins...
I found a large round pumpkin that had a flat spot on the back. I thought that this would be perfect for the "BBQ" as the flat spot could be used for the "hinge" since it was flat it would be a stronger join as I would not have to remove pumpkin material to make it flat.
To start I drew a line around the pumpkin about a 1/4 of the way down the body of the pumpkin. I then used a small serrated saw to cut all the way around the pumpkin being careful to stay as close to the line as possible.
Once the pumpkin was split I tool a large kitchen spoon and started to scrape the guts out. Once all the stringy bits were gone I continued scraping to get a clean smooth interior. This was done to bot the top and bottom of the pumpkin halves.
Step 2: BBQify It!
Every BBQ needs a grill so I picked up a cheap one at the dollar store that was about the right size. I set it on the pumpkin and traced the outline with tape. Using my always handy Dremel I cut the grill to the correct size (leaving enough room so that it would sit on top of the pumpkins walls).
On that flat spot on the back of the pumpkin I cut out a section as a "slot" and on the "lid" I left a matching "tab" so they would fit together. I was thinking that I would have to put a wooden skewer horizontally through the two halves to join them but it turned out that the weight of the pumpkin held it in place on its own as long as I had a support holding the lid open.
Step 3: Tag It...
The hardest part of this build was actually carving the bars name in the lid of the pumpkin. I am lucky it was only 3 letters! I printed a paper stencil and using a knife traced it into the pumpkin skin. I had to position it close to the stem of the pumpkin where the skin is actually the thickest and also the least smooth. My exacto knife was not long enough to go all the way through and the size of the letters was limited by the stem and the "hinge" so it was very delicate work with a knife to make sure the letters were readable from both sides of the pumpkin.
In the end it worked out good since the letter "A" is symmetrical it could be read from both sides and on the lid it almost looked like the air vent that would be on the top of a BBQ Smoker!.
Step 4: Pumpkin Ribs...
Did you know that Pumpkins had Ribs? Well they do you just have to dig for them... On a second pumpkin I cut a chunk out of its "chest" scraped its guts off and then trimmed away some flesh to reveal its ribs. :-)
Step 5: Putting It All Together...
I made to wood shims to hold the lid of the pumpkin open, this also served to keep the grill in place from curious little hands.
Inside the "BBQ" I took a bright 12V red LED and a 9V battery and taped it together (no need to make it sturdy as it would not be moved about too much). The LED was very bright so I took a section of a white plastic shopping bag scrunched it up and put it over the LED to diffuse the light a bit.
What is a BBQ without smoke? To add realism I took two incense sticks and stuck them in to the bottom of the pumpkin. This provided just enough wisps of smoke to give the desired effect and also made the area smell great too!
Step 6: Pumpkin Parade
The pumpkin is definitely not a conventional Jack-o-Lantern but it sure was a crowd pleaser. As soon as it was setup everyone was coming by to take pictures and point it out to their friends.
Step 7: On Display at the Bar
After the Parade the pumpkin was given a prime spot in the window of the bar.
I hope you enjoyed!