Arduino-Powered Pumpkin




About: I'm a Content Manager for LinkedIn Learning. I like to hack code and things.
This Halloween project uses an Arduino with a proximity sensor and a bunch of LEDs to greet guests at your doorstep.

Step 1: Program the Arduino and Hook It Up

The code for this is based on an example from Tom Igoe's Making Things Talk. It's pretty simple: the Arduino monitors a Sharp GP2D12 Infrared ranger, and if it detects movement nearby, it turns all the LEDs up to maximum brightness. While it's waiting for someone to step close to it, the Arduino flickers the lights.

Pins 9, 10, and 11 go to LEDs that are shown in the next step. Analog pin 0 goes to the proximity sensor. Power and ground go to the breadboard that houses the LEDs and the sensor.

The attached file, Pumpkin.pde, contains the Arduino code you need to upload to your Arduino.

Step 2: Build the Circuit

At this step, you're just completing the connections made in the previous step. However, you'll notice that instead of three LEDs, I've got two perfboards with four LEDs each and also one LED that lives on the breadboard. The perfboards are an implementation of the multiple LED schematic from Arduino playground. The connection is almost exactly like hooking up an LED to the Arduino, except that you have an extra connection to +5v, shown in the photo notes, in addition to the usual digital pin and GND connection.

Step 3: Carve Your Pumpkin and Install

Now it's time to carve the pumpkin. Once you've made plenty of space, put the parts in, Use toothpicks to hold it all in place, double-check all your connections, and fire it up! Your pumpkin should be all blinky now. I suggest powering it from a MintyBoost so you can put it pretty much anywhere!



    • Toys Contest

      Toys Contest
    • Warm and Fuzzy Contest

      Warm and Fuzzy Contest
    • PCB Contest

      PCB Contest

    6 Discussions


    9 years ago on Introduction

    cool. So does the rangefinder have an analog output of a varying voltage?
    i think thats right


    10 years ago on Introduction

    Hook up 12 LEDs to the 12 IO pins. Control them from the keyboard of your linux system, or write a script to turn them on/off in some pattern. Use cron or similar to change the script periodically. See and get the package, SMS1.tgz. Now with GUI via xdialog command.


    10 years ago on Introduction

    a pathway with these on either side, lined up (would essentially be a lot of work, but) would be really cool! The lights would turn on as you pass them!


    11 years ago on Introduction

    hey thats cool! and if it probably saves alot of energy too cause its off when no ones near it. good idea


    11 years ago on Introduction

    How about you make millions of these put them around youe door and wire them to your doorbell so that when it i rung they all turn on and your surrounded but glowing jack-o-lanterns about to eat you alive!!!!! Alright forget the eat you alive business.