Introduction: Jack-O-Scanner (Pumpkin Barcode Scanner)

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We use a barcode scanner to create a piece of functional Haloween decoration. Will work great for lobby check-ins that have barcoded membership cards like a Gym or Art Studio.

Step 1: What You Will Need

  1. A pumpkin large enough to fit your barcode scanner in it while in a stand.
  2. An auto-sensing barcode scanner and stand. With the scanner contained in the pumpkin pressing the trigger is problematic. If your barcode scanner does not auto-scan while in the stand normally you can set it to "always on" mode or "pulsing" mode where it either continuously displays the beam or pulses the beam every second. The stand is optional but it makes positioning the beam much easier.

    In our demonstration were using a motorola barcode scanner the DS4800.
  1. Pumpkin carving tools (scrapper, knife, saw, etc.)

Step 2: Cut a Large Opening in the Top of the Pumpkin

You will want the opening to be large enough that the scanner can fit in and the angle that it sits at can be adjusted. Cutting it too small might mean having to enlarge the opening which normally makes placing the lid back on problematic.

Remove the guts out of the pumpkin and try to get it as clean as possible. While many scanners have an ip seal that allows it to get some dirt and moisture on it, they don't all do so having a clean area to work with is best.

Step 3: Placing Your Scanner

Place the barcode scanner in the pumpkin and power it on. Take note on where the aiming reticle and/or beam is pointing. This is where you want the mouth to be cut out at. When you place the ID Card in the mouth you want a good scan so placing the mouth at the correct angle is crucial.

To help with this placement we took a knife and poked it through the aiming reticle so we could see on the face of the pumpkin where to cut the mouth opening.

Step 4: Cut Out Your Face

Cut out the Jack-O-Scanner's face out. If you place the eyes at the correct height the power and read LED lights are often visible adding a cool glowing eye effect.

Also if you don't want to run the cord out of the top of the pumpkin they you can cut a hole to run the USB cable through.

Step 5: Power Your Scanner on and Your Good to Go

With the scanner properly placed when you insert the barcoded ID card into the mouth of the Jack-O-Latern you'll get a good read.

Please note that if you place the scanner too far back in the pumpkin there might not be enough ambient light for the scan engine to read the barcode, in this case you may need to move the scanner forward, add an additional light source in the pumpkin, or cut a hole in the top letting light come in.

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