Introduction: Dry Ice Pumpkin for Halloween

Picture of Dry Ice Pumpkin for Halloween

This year for Halloween I made a jack-o-lantern that blows dry ice water vapor. A friend turned me on to I thought it was amazing but I figured it was well beyond my abilities artistically speaking. Then I thought up this idea and had to give it a shot.

If you like this then check out my jack-o-lantern from last year.

Please check out my other instructables and I also have a diy podcast called

Step 1: Materials

Picture of Materials

You obviously need a pumpkin! Free- $5

Ice bucket -$2

Old vacuum hose Free -$0.67

Dry ice - $1/lb from a welding supply store (20 lbs would keep this running for a while)

pumpkin carving tools - $9 exacto-knife kit (on sale)

- potato peeler

- spoon

Step 2: Jack-o-lantern

Picture of Jack-o-lantern

I carved a tapering hole to fit the vacuum hose where the mouth would be. From there I used the potato peeler to remove the rind from an area where I was to carve the face. Then it was just a matter of hacking away until a face forms. Be aware of where you want your high spots to be.

Sorry that when it does not blow vapor it looks a little like a blow up doll for people with a real sick fetish.

I was quite pleased with how it turned out considering I have never sculpted anything in my life before. No comparing to though.

You would be amazed at how much you can cut away without poking through. I think the thinnest spot of my face is still 1/2 an inch thick. One trick I found was to poke a thin exacto blade through the wall until it just sticks through on the inside, then pinch the blade and pull it out to gauge how much wall is left. The blade hole you poked will be invisible.

Step 3: Dry Ice Delivery

Picture of Dry Ice Delivery

I went to a junk store looking for an old pressure cooker but all I found was the ice bucket. It was still good because the lid sealed but the pressure cooker would have been better because it could have sat on a hot plate or camp stove to keep the water warm.

Important note***
Dry ice will not form water vapor if the water temp is below 50 degrees. So I had to keep dumping out the cold water and adding more hot every 5-7 minutes.

I wanted a sealed unit because I wanted the jack-o-lantern to "blow" the vapor, not just have it dribble out of it's mouth.

It was easy to cut a hole in the lid to fasten the vacuum hose with an exacto knife. ( this would have been harder with a pressure cooker)

I drew a skull on the lid to let my son know not to touch.

All that was left was to cut a hole in the back of the pumpkin the route the hose to the inside of the mouth.

Step 4: Video

To make it work, just put some dry ice in the bucket, add warm water. Snap on the lid and watch the kids freak out! This video was taken about 4 minutes after the water was added. The vapor shot out further earlier on. As I said before, to reinvigorate all you have to do is add more hot water and/or more dry ice.

notes on dry ice-

Dry ice is just frozen carbon dioxide. The "smoke' you see is just water vapor and is not harmful or toxic.

The only way the carbon dioxide can hurt you is if you displace the oxygen in a small enclosed space.

However, the ice is very cold (-109 F!!!!!) and will actually cause burns to your skin. You could pick up a chunk of dry ice and as long as you bounce it around like a hot potato you will not get burned. UNLESS your hands are wet, in which case it will burn you almost instantly (trust me) Plan on wearing gloves.

If you have to store the dry ice for long. Store it in a large cooler and wrap the cooler in sleeping bags and blankets. Don't think you are going to get more than 24 hours without having a substantial amount of your dry ice literally vanish into thin air.


wbogen (author)2015-04-23

Did something similar once. Adding a Chemlume stick in the pumpkin makes the fog glow a nice green.

dgingera (author)2014-10-28

how long will a pound of dry ice last?

shaneomacmcgee (author)2009-10-29

Dry ice smoke is Carbon dioxide, not water vapor... isn't it?
I've always heard not to stick your head in the clouds of smoke, not because of toxicity, but to avoid suffocation

brykun2 (author)shaneomacmcgee2010-10-31

Dry ice is carbon dioxide, but the water in the air condenses to form a cloud of water vapor you can see.

bleachworthy (author)2007-10-31

nice job man! I would do this with a real pumpkin, but the only available one in town weighs 184 pounds, and is $50! even if I had the cash, it would be too big to fit in my car! so, i am using a plastic one, it fogs very nicely with about a pound of crushed dry ice, and a liter of water, just poured in it. I found dry ice for $0.67 a pound here, so naturally, I bought 15 pounds of it, :P. I found that if you take a laundry basket (solid tub style), and put 10 pounds crushed in, with it half full of hot water, you can fog up an entire lawn, or a house easily. (in the house, the fog rose to about 2.5 feet! great job!

lol i'm gonna use my friend's pumpkin, weighs 597 pounds and the seeds sell for up to 50 bucks a seed, and there's thousands inside, gonna be a good halloween :)

Why $50 per seed?? a regular pumpkin seed has just as much of a chance of being big as one from a big pumpkin.

porcupinemamma (author)2009-10-09

Veeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeryyyyyyyyyyyy Scarrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrry ;0)!! ;0)

M F (author)2008-10-23

I like using CAR FLARES in my pumpkins. they make it glow and sulfur smelling smoke comes out. use layered cuts for the full 3-D effect some of the little kids are afraid to come to the house. use a ceramic plate and extra vent holes in back. It doesn't really get too hot. it's made of water. one car flare lasts 30 minutes. if it's too big just break it in half.

Zem (author)2008-10-12

Could this be done with a fog machine?

Awesome Possum (author)Zem2008-10-16

If you could fit it inside the pumpkin, then probably. Just make sure that the machine doesn't need ventilation.

Weissensteinburg (author)2007-10-30

Where did you get the dry ice?

they have it at safeway too.

Bran (author)Weissensteinburg2007-10-30

I'm not sure about Florida, but 'round here, dry ice is sold by Wal-Mart Supercenter, Publix, and I believe Kroger. I think you have to show ID that you are 18, for safety reasons (dry ice bo.mbs).

fwjs28 (author)2008-10-12

im gonna try this with fog machine.....should could make a cannon shape and blow the fog out lol.....

Zem (author)2008-10-11

I've seen dry ice at Wal-Mart's, Price Choppers, I think CVS too.

abscam (author)2008-10-10

very cool. why not just put d.i. in a tupperware w/ water inside the pumpkin? also, couldn't you cut the skin really shallow at the eyes, add a light or candle (maybe not w/ the dry ice) inside for a glowing effect?

dave spencer (author)abscam2008-10-10

putting the dry ice away from the pumpkin allowed me to refill without worrying about moving the pumpkin or stuff around it and kept the dry ice away from the kids. Good idea about the light but I don't think a candle would have worked. Leds next time.

iamthemargerineman (author)2008-10-08


trooperrick (author)2007-10-30

i was going to do this with a fog machine and fog chiller

Pie_eata (author)2007-10-30

suite idea dude would look uber sectcy w/ leds

tiuk (author)2007-10-30

My dad did this when I was a kid, it was the first time I had seen dry ice. He had painted the pumpkin black and attached "legs" made of foam tubes, making the pumpkin look like a spider. Anyway, it's a very cool effect, and amazes a lot of people.

About This Instructable




Bio: I have had a few careers so far, soldier, school teacher, arborist, millwright. I love change and I love learning.
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