Introduction: Spirit-Despensing Jack-O'-Lantern
First off, I am entering two Halloween contests with this entry, so if you like my project, please take a sec to let the powers that be know that you appreciate us lowly makers. Thank you.
Likely, you've found this I'ble because you are in need of a last-minute party favor for Halloween or want to bring something original to the table. Well, I've got just the thing.
Two years ago, two of my favorite YouTubers, Treadbanger's Rob (should also mention the awesome Corrine, Rob's better half, and half the current Threadbanger team) and Hannah Hart offered a video in which they made a pumpkin tap. The end product looks great, though you might get some pumpkin in your drink. Bonus?
Anyway, I decided to make a much cheaper, and in my mind, easier version of their project. I could make it easier, quicker, and much, much cheaper.
And mine is black cat approved, so there's that.
One admission before we get started, the box wine bag I used is made from a #7 plastic. so if that makes you nervous, beware ye who enter here!
So here we go:
Step 1: Gather Your Instruments
Gutting tool (I recommend a grapefruit spoon)
Box Wine (you can change out the liquid if you like)
Optional for changing liquids:
If you want to replace the wine with something with a stronger kick, you'll need:
A closure (I used one end of a pants hanger, just snapped it off)
Optional for carving:
A hobby knife (e.g. Exacto)
A small chisel or flathead screwdriver
Step 2: Decapitate and Eviscerate an Unsuspecting Pumpkin
Simply take off the top, cutting in at an angle and cutting away from yourself. Let your cat and dog take deep whiffs of fresh pumpkin, and then remove the delicious guts inside.
I found using a grapefruit spoon to de-gut the pumpkin worked great and took minutes. No need for those silly tools they sell at the market.
Use the guts. That stuff has a million uses. Or just throw it to the squirrels, but don't be wasteful. Or do. I'm not the police.
Step 3: Decide on Your Spirit
If you want to use the box wine, and there are some great "black wine" options, your job is simple and you can skip this step.
If you want something else in that pumpkin, empty the wine. Slowly now. Those boxes hold a good four bottles or so. Nick a slit on one side of the back and empty out the rest of the wine. Maybe do this the night after you empty the wine.
You'll notice when you cut the slit that the wine is double-bagged, meaning you need to fill the bag in the middle, not either of the pockets formed by the outer bag. I recommend slitting the outer layers just a bit so it's easy to split the middle bag open for filling and refilling.
Rinse out the bag. Use the nozzle to let the water do it's thing, cleaning out the wine.
Fill the bag with anything as or less dense than wine/water/booze. I haven't tested the nozzle with juice or anything frozen, etc, but my instinct tells me it wouldn't end well. All booze, wines, and thin liquids should do fine.
Once your liquid is in the bag, fold over the side that is cut twice and place a closure on it. I used a clip from an extra pants hanger. You can use a rubber band and a binder-clip instead. You want a good seal and a strong clip. That's what will allow us to avoid spilling.
Step 4: Carve a Hole
Use a caliper or a string and a ruler or whatever you have on hand to measure the diameter of the largest ring from the nozzle to the bag. Make a hole that is this large and no larger. I made a hole that was slightly smaller and then worked my way to the exact size. Getting the hole right is the most important part of this project. Too big a hole, and the nozzle will move around and make you look sloppy. We don't want that.
Carve the hole close the bottom.
Step 5: Brain Transplant
Open pumpkin, put in bag. Test nozzle for fit. If you have a pumpkin that is too small for the liquid in the bag, drain some out. The pumpkin I used was medium to small, and it housed well over a large bottle of the hard stuff, and (alternately) three bottles worth of the box wine (it comes with 4 and I had to drain a little less than a bottle's worth.
Step 6: Find a Base
I like to go grave-robbing in my recyclables bin. In the pics, you see I used a bowl. You can use an empty package tape dispenser or many other things. The goal is to get it elevated so that the pumpkin doesn't need to sit at the edge of the table for people to get a glass. Make sure your pumpkin is sturdy.
If all you want is the dispenser, then you are done. Congrats! If you want to get a little more fancy, read on.
Step 7: Optional: Slopped Innards
If you have a particularly large pumpkin, or a wide on the bottom pumpkin, you may find the bag does not dispense enough for your liking. You can rig a strong piece of cardboard with cardboard supports to support and slope the bag. I was ready to do this step myself, but I didn't find it to be necessary on my pumpkin.
Step 8: Optional: Carving and Lighting
Unless you don't mind folks seeing the blood of the pumpkin slowly draining from the bag inside, you don't want to carve all the way through. Instead, you want to chisel out a design. I Googled "Line art" and then the type of shape I wanted. I went with a "poison" theme because that's what I thought of.
To carve, I attached the line art (parts of it) where I wanted it, and then used a #2 Exacto to carve out the negative with an outline around the shape. After cutting the lines with the knife, I used a flatheaded screwdriver to chisel out the unneeded orange bits. Easy as it sounds.
If you use lights, use LEDs that are pumpkin safe. Not only do you want to protect the pumpkin, you want to protect the liquid from getting warm.
When Halloween is over, you can safe the nozzle and attach it to various things using food-safe silicone if you like. Let your imagination run wild.
I hope this helped lots of people. Drink safe and stay responsibly.