Instructables

The Instant Mini Jack-o-lantern Army (made of citrus!)

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 Happy Halloween! This simple trick serves as a last minute decoration/treat to serve up on Halloween. Nothing says halloween like the iconic face of a Jack-o'-lantern. But what's one to do if it's getting down to the wire, and you have neither the time, tools, funds, or access to a good supply of pumpkins? Make them out of citrus! The idea comes from our friends' Halloween party last year - around this time of year colds are a plenty and mikan tangerines are in season. She put out a big bowl of these and they were a big hit.

This is a good way to sneak something healthy *gasp* into your All Hallows' Eve festivities. It takes mere minutes to make these, and they're just as fun to eat. Also, this makes a safe and relatively mess free project to work on with kids.
 
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Step 1: Harvest "pumpkins" & gather tools

Choosing a pumpkin substitute:
This part is entirely dependent on your personal preferences and what's available and in-season at your local market. For this instructable we chose to go with the humble mikan, but really any smallish, oblate, orange citrus will do: satsuma, clementine, tangerine, mandarin or other diminutive orange. These closely approximate a pumpkin in shape, though not in size.
If you want something with a bit more heft to it, a regular sized sweet orange or tangelo might work, but as these have a tendency to roll around it would be best to keep them in a bowl. If you're working on the 'small is cute' principle, you can even up the ante with kumquats.

"Carving" tools:
Basically we are talking Sharpies here. Colors are at your discretion, but black is basically all that is really needed.

Note:
In order to make up for the lack of a real pumpkin we're going for scale here. The more citrus you can get your hands on the better. Cost comes into play too: if you figure an average pumpkin will run you $6 - $10 at the grocery store, you can spend the same amount and get a case or two of citrus at about the same price - plus you'll actually eat the citrus. We'd all love to say that freshly carved pumpkin becomes freshly baked pie but I'll be the first to admit that mine usually end up moldy and double-bagged in the trash bin. Tiny oranges, however, you'll have to keep from disappearing before Halloween rolls around.


Stacking*
I'm going to try staking the oranges and drawing in them as a big "pumpkin" instead of a lot of small "pumpkins"
Ploopy8 months ago
Cool!
lilperegrine8 months ago
It's really cute, but be careful with which pen you use here: I tried it with whiteboard markers and the clementines "drank" the ink (so it was not edible!) It was a cute decoration, but such a waste of good clementines!
Awsome!
jmiksanek2 years ago
Love these! I can't wait to make them for work. I always want to bring food, but have been trying to find the occasional healthy alternative to my cookies:) Thanks a lot!
rheinze12 years ago
SUCH a cute idea!
atyk3 years ago
So cute and easy! Thanks for the idea!

*I wish I'd have followed your directions to really wash the oranges first. The waxy buildup ruined the tips of my Sharpies... :(
oranges.jpg
neologik atyk3 years ago
he he. i loved the cat...

=3
atyk neologik3 years ago
thx :)
neologik3 years ago
simply, genius....

oh... adorable!

i am really touched by those faces... ^o^

greets
AbleApril3 years ago
I posted this on parenthacks.com's FB page a few days ago and later they featured it on the site: http://www.parenthacks.com/2010/10/citrus-jack-o-lantern.html

I hope it brought you some traffic and ratings. It's a brilliant (if unintended) hack!
:)
wazzup1053 years ago
Great idea ... made this this morning (with oranges)

http://img257.imageshack.us/img257/1761/101031halloween.jpg
Great idea!! My mom loved this lolz :) Thanks!!
Sassy Cat3 years ago
What a cool idea. And it's healthy too. I love, love, love it. Thanks a bunch.
easy, fancy n nice :) 5 stars for this instructable

Cheers!!!
thepelton3 years ago
I recall in "Spider Man", both the Movie and the Comic Book, that the Green Goblin had hand grenades that looked like little pumpkins.
wazzup1053 years ago
Ow... nice one.
Sunbanks3 years ago
YESSSSSS

I really love this. So so much.
ITS ANOTHER INVASION!
 BELIEVE IT OR NOT~~ I know it's late but during 2009's hallowe'en, I made watermelon invasions, I caused 15 casualties and got a fine, I'm really sorry...The year before I did a kumquat invasion...lol!
ah now thats a plan, a kumquat invasion!! That would be a really good practical joke - sneak into your friends house on the night of halloween and fill his house with 1000 kumquat invaders....
ChrysN3 years ago
I love their expressions, cute!
Jayefuu3 years ago
Ha. Brilliant.
zascecs3 years ago
Haha, neat idea
thomaskovac3 years ago
wow looks amazing!
namhandsome4 years ago
Well, I never once thought of making mini "pumpkins" like this. Brilliant idea! You know, I'm not really good at carving so I guess now I can enjoy halloween without buying tons of pumkins :)). Outstanding!!!!
Marsanni4 years ago
Well, this will be the only thing on Halloween with a trace of vitamin C in it...
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