Halloween has always been one of my favorite holidays. You can express your creative side in costume, decorations, pumpkin carving, and so much more. This is a simple-ish Instructable to turn your average carved pumpkin into an exciting display of fire and fury.
Words of caution: You will be handling sharp objects and flammable materials. Please follow safety precautions and be smart. If you are accident prone, please keep a parent/guardian, or someone less accident prone nearby to save you. Additionally, the owners of Instructables and myself can't be held liable for accidents that may happen.
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Step 1: Materials Needed
There are some things you will need for this project. Some items can be substituted with others, and some are pertinent.
- Pumpkin - I recommend a large one, 20 pounds and up. I like my pumpkins flat on one side, which is where I carve. The flat side will usually be ugly because that's the spot that was in the dirt, but once it's dark outside, no one will know. Price will depend on your market and where you decide to purchase. I chose this large pumpkin, roughly 30 pounds for about $10
- Working Area - I decided to lay down paper bags, we have so many from shopping and I have a 3-year old helper that is bound to be messy. As a kid, we also used newspaper...what's a newspaper?
- Bowl - Not necessarily needed, but helps keep things a little cleaner.
- Bag, or another bowl - If you like pumpkin seeds, see the last step. Save those seeds, they are healthy and if cooked right can be delicious.
- Spoon - A large sturdy spoon is best.
- Knife, or carving kit - I was on a budget, so I used a small kitchen knife. For more detailed pumpkin carvings, I recommend a carving kit, or various sized knives.
- Toilet Paper - At the Dollar Tree, I found 4 rolls for $1.
- Fuel - Again at the Dollar Tree, I bought a few cans of Fancy Heat Canned Fuel for $1 each. I've also done this project with Kerosene. I will mention some pros and cons of each later.
- Container - Something to fit a roll of toilet paper in, glass or metal preferably.
- Lighter/Matches - Long lighter preferably.
- Safety Items - Have a fire extinguisher nearby. Use gloves to protect from fuels. Wear goggles if not in open spaces. Be safe.
Step 2: Prepare Your Flame
In this step, you will prepare your flaming ball of toilet paper.
Grab your Fuel, Toilet Paper, and Container. Place one roll of toilet paper into your container, then add your desired amount of fuel. After some time, if your toilet paper soaks all the fuel up, you might want to add more fuel. Once you have a small puddle at the bottom or your container, no more fuel is needed as the toilet paper will be completely soaked. Flame agent is ready!
Notes: I have used both Kerosene and Fancy Heat for this project, here's some pros and cons:
Fancy Heat: This fuel seemed to burn longer, it has a more controlled burn, and just felt safer. However, the flame isn't as large or aggressive.
Kerosene: This fuel burns higher and looks awesome! However, the flame didn't seem to last a long time, and when done the pumpkin was pretty charred.
Step 3: Scoop Your Goop!
Step 1: Cut that top off. Generally, you want to cut the top at an angle so the pumpkin top doesn't fall into the belly of your pumpkin. For this project, it isn't as important because we will remove the top when lighting the flame. Trim the goop off the top.
Step 2: Grab a little helper to do the dirty work... If your helper is 3 years old like mine, you'll be doing most the work.
Step 3: Grab a handful of goop and place in your bowl.
Step 4: Scrape the inside with your sturdy spoon.
Step 5: Repeat steps 3 & 4 as needed. Separate the seeds as best you can.
Everyone knows how to do this step, right?
Step 4: Carve Your Jack
I like to draw the face on my pumpkin before carving. Some like to tape, or tack paper images to make an outline. Some like to do it freehand. There are many options for carving a pumpkin. If you're like me, try to use a dry erase marker to draw on first, then a little wet paper towel will rub the marker off when done.
Be careful with your cutting utensils, whatever type you choose. I generally cutout the larger spots first, then scrape along the sides to get the shape I want. Once you cut your pumpkin, there's no going back.
Step 5: Finally!
Be cautious where you place your Flaming Jack. Try to avoid overhanging porches, or being to close to a building. Watch for low hanging branches and short trees. Have your fire extinguisher close by.
Take your soaked toilet paper and place it in your pumpkin. Light with caution, it could take a minute for the flame to get large. Sit back and enjoy.
This pumpkin lasted for about 1 hour. I still had 3 more rolls of toilet paper!
Step 6: Pumpkin Seeds, Yum!
You have your pumpkin seeds separated now. There are hundreds of recipes and directions for cooking these healthy seeds. You can do a search on Instructables, Pinterest, Google, etc.
Here's what I did...
Ingredients: For every cup of pumpkin seeds,
2 Tablepoons melted butter
1 Teaspoon seasoned salt
1 Teaspoon white vinegar
Strain the seeds with water and let dry. For every cup of pumpkin seeds, mix with melted butter and seasoned salt. Spread evenly on an un-greased cookie sheet. Cook for 15-20 minutes at 350 degrees, or until desired brown. Take out and let cool. Mix in the vinegar.
Eat an enjoy!
Thank you for reading. Please comment with any questions or pictures of your pumpkins. I would love to see what you make :)