Introduction: El Día De Los Muertos (The Day of the Dead)

I wanted to install an audio system in his hat so Pirate Pete the glow in the dark skull could recite this poem unfortunately I didn’t have the time this year. So I settled with making him glow with flashing lights and now I have until next year to make him say.  

El Día de los Muertos

I be pirate Pete I say.
And to my words attention do pay.
Or with thy soul upon my blade.
Yea guts spill out thy belly splayed.

For on this night the day of the dead.
Evil comes and seek yea head.
So lock yea door put out thy light.
For they shall come within the night.

Ghosts goblins, banshees and more,
shall come and pound upon thy door.
And if yea dare to open wide,
and let these spirits step inside.

Trick or treat they sing with joy,
from every girl and every boy.
For Halloween it be here,
filled with children’s laughs and cheer.

And with no treats that yea can pay,
it is with tricks they shall play.

Josehf Lloyd Murchison

During holidays every one helps with the decorations a friend of mine gave me the Rum bottle shaped like a skull, my son Joshua panted the glass, my wife Anne made the hat, and I wrote the poem and built the circuit that flashes the blue and red LEDs. I needed the hat to hide the circuit board and battery for the LEDs.

Step 1: Painting the Skull

For painting the skull you need four things, a glass or crystal skull, paint, a brush, and a Kid with a steady hand that likes to paint. The glass Rum bottle skull was already etched so the paint had no problem sticking to the skull and remember kids always make a mess so you will need a mop a bucket and rags to clean up.

Step 2: Making the Hat

I needed a hat to cover the electronics for the flashing lights, my wife Anne made the hat by following how another hat was made and making a pattern for the size of the glass skull. She then cut the four parts and sewed the parts together. She pined up three sides of the brim with a couple of stiches and tried the hat on the skull for size.

After making final adjustment she added feathers to the hat and the hat and skull was ready for the electronics.

Step 3: Electronics Parts and Tools.

I started with a stalk 555 timer schematic and adjusted it so the circuit would do what I wanted the circuit to do and gathered the parts and tools. All the parts you can get at your local Source (Radio Shack in Canada) or on line.

Parts List

One through hole proto board
One 9 volt battery terminal
One 9 volt battery
One 555 timer
One 2N3904 transistor
One 2N3906 transistor
One red LED
One blue LED
One 10 nF ceramic capacitor
One 22 uF 16 volt electrolytic capacitor
One 1 kΩ resistor
One 100 kΩ resistor
Two 18 kΩ resistor
Two 330 Ω resistor
Wire I chose red green and blue wires
Joint insulators


Bread Board
Needle nose pliers
Side cutters
Wire stripers
Small drill bit
Two spring loaded tweezers
Soldering iron

Now don’t complain about the pink insulated handles the tools only cost a dollar each and they work well.

Step 4: Assembling and Testing the Circuit

First I assembled the circuit on a bread board and tested all the functions making sure it works as I planned. If I find something that needs to be adjusted or is not working I replace the part and make the changes on the schematic.

Step 5: Mounting the LEDs

I start mounting the LEDs by taking the drill bit and making three holes in the cork for the Rum bottle.

After I have the three holes in the cork I pass one red, one green, and one blue wire through the cork, each wire about six inches long and I strip the ends.

I slip the joint insulators over the wires and using the spring loaded tweezers I solder the green wire to the anode of both LEDS. Using the same method I solder the red wire to the cathode of the red LED and the blue wire to the cathode of the blue LED.

Once assembled I connect the mounted LEDs to the bread board and test all the functions again, if the circuit needs something fixed this is the time to do it.

Step 6: Assembling the Circuit Board

Using the spring loaded tweezers to hold the components in place I take one component at a time from the bread board and solder them on to the proto board.

When the proto board is fully assembled I test the circuit functions one more time before installing it onto the glass skull.

Step 7: Final Assembly of the Skull

Using a funnel I add white sparkles to the rum bottle so the sparkles will reflect the light into the glass skull.

Then I put the cork in the bottle and adjust the mounted LEDs to get the best reflection of the light and wrap the circuit and wires around the neck of the Rum bottle.

The Last thing is to place the hat on the skull to hide the electronics and you have your glow in the dark pirate skull.

Make It Glow Contest

Participated in the
Make It Glow Contest

Halloween Decorations Contest

Participated in the
Halloween Decorations Contest