Thanksgiving Serving Dish




Ever grow tired of breaking out the same old serving dishes every year? Want to spice up your Thanksgiving dinner by putting some of your style on the table? If you answered yes to either of these questions, then this is for you.

Some people like to have lit candles while enjoying the various (and at times identical) dishes of food that litter the table. Well, I decided to combine both the light and the serving dishes together and came up with this.

Warning:Sharp objects are used in this instructable. Please be careful while carving. Soldering irons will also burn while they are hot

1. Pumpkin (or Acorn Squash, which is better for the Thanksgiving spirit)
2. Small light bulbs (or LED's, which I didn't have)
3. 9v Battery
4. Push button switch (on/off switch)
5. Wire
6. Goop (something to "waterproof" the lights)
7. Food Container
8. Tape
9. Thanksgiving Design (picture on paper)

1. Large Knife
2. Carving kit (or small knives)
3. Solder and soldering iron
4. Spoon
5. Scissors

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Step 1: Hollow and Design

First objective is to "gut" the pumpkin. To do this, we must first cut off the cover. Angle the large knife at approx. 45 degrees inwards, cut a circle out that will be large enough for your food container to fit through. Pull the cover out and remove the pulp from the underside using the knife. Next using a combination of the large knife, a spoon, and your hands, clean the inside of the pumpkin out. Try to get as much of the pulp and seeds out as possible.

Now that you've cleaned the pumpkin out, you can figure out where you want to place your design(s) that you've chosen or made. Once you find that special spot, tape the design to the pumpkin. Using the carving knives, outline the design into the pumpkin. Start from the center and work your way out (my outline looks better then the finished product :P ).

Step 2: Carve That Pumpkin (or Acorn Squash)...

Here's the fun part (espcially if your carving skills are like mine ;) ). Use your carving knives to carve away only the outside layers of the pumpkin. This will create a glow from within. Just follow your outline and carefully peel the layers off. If you want to make sure that light can make it through, just put a small candle or light inside. Once you've completed your scene, you can decide whether or not to carve into the pumpkin what kind of food is inside. If you decide to carve the name of the food into the pumpkin, I suggest doing it on the opposite side from the scene. This while help identify what kind of food the pumpkin is holding.

Step 3: Add the Lights, Container, and Food...

Next make up a circuit of the lights that you have chosen. If you decide to go with LED's, you will need at least 10-15 of them to light up the serving dish (that's using small pumpkins) . Either way, just hook them all up together, test them, solder the wires, and use goop (any substance to waterproof the lights) on the exposed wires and metal.

Now place the lights inside the serving dish. Keep them to the sides and postion them so they won't get in the way of the food container (make a circle). Place the battery and the switch inside the pumpkin. If you want, you can carve a little notch out near the cover and position the switch up there for easy access. Place the food container inside the pumpkin.

Now all you have to do is cook the food and place it inside the serving dish. Click the light switch on, and pass the dish around the table...

Note: You can also carve a hole in the cover so that you can rest a serving spoon inside.

Hope you've enjoyed this instructable...Improvement ideas welcomed.

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    7 Discussions


    13 years ago

    This is awesome! Sweet carving.

    I especially like the fact you've labelled the exterior of the pumpkin; this should help next year when everyone brings their dish in a pumpkin.

    2 replies

    Reply 13 years ago

    Thanks. In the beginning, I wanted to carve an image of what the pumpkin held inside instead of writing it, but decided that it would be hard to tell a picture of a sweet potatoe from a regular potatoe. It could be done, but I didn't want to chance it (with my carving skills). You could make the sweet potatoe thin and long (more of an oval), while the regular potatoe would be short and fat (more of a circle). Maybe next year I'll try carving images of the food that the dish holds :)


    Reply 13 years ago

    I'd like to correct myself now, since I didn't notice before :P "Potato", that is all :)


    13 years ago

    Very fun description of your project, and it gives me some ideas for some projects come next fall. I especially like the fact that you used pumpkins for something other than stereotypical Halloween decoration.

    1 reply

    Reply 13 years ago

    Thanks, fortunately this instructable was alot easier to organize and write up then my pinata one :P Hope you don't forget those ideas by next fall, looking forward to seeing them :)


    13 years ago

    By next year hopefully cheap Christmas string lights will be LEDS. I saw some this year but still too pricy. Then you can go out and spend a few bucks and throw some pre-assembled strings into the pump-e-kins. Nice job. I want a party invite next time.

    1 reply

    Reply 13 years ago

    I was originally planning on using foil on the bottom to reflect the light and having several LED's in 2 tic-tac cases (one for both sides), but I only had three LED's and that wasn't nearly enough light. But hopefully the prices of the LED string lights do go down and make this easier to do...