Carving pumpkins into scary decorations has become a tradition during the Halloween season worldwide. This ritual of making jack-o’-lanterns, which name comes from an Irish folktale about a man named Stingy Jack, originated hundreds of years ago in Ireland wherein large turnips and potatoes were used as the early canvas. The pumpkin was used later when Irish immigrants brought the tradition to America.
There are many ways that one could be creative with a pumpkin. When engineers at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory decided to make a few on their own, one could already expect that the results are beyond genius.
And they are. In their website, the engineers posted a project about creating a Halloween pumpkin as if you are one of them. The DIY instructional is inspired by what the engineers do – space exploration.
To do this Halloween pumpkin, of course you need a pumpkin. The rest, like paint, construction paper, string, clay, LED lights, motor, pump, old toys, wired or wireless speaker, or even a programmable microcontroller are all optional, the engineers wrote.
It is fairly easy to do. They have given 10 tips:
Think of a theme
Draft all the creative stuff that you could think about for you Halloween pumpkin. Remember, the sky is the limit to your creativity! In the case of the NASA engineers, they suggest you make a carved pumpkin based on a NASA mission, a science discovery or a science fiction movie!
Do not limit on the inside
You are most likely to empty the insides of the pumpkin, but never forget that you could definitely play outside of it. Like the one that the NASA engineers showcased, they have made one with a rotating blade circulating the pumpkin. It indeed looks more fascinating.
GIF via NASA
Make the most of it
“Instead of discarding the “guts” and roasting the seeds, think about how you can use those elements to add to your design,” they wrote. If you could think of something else out of what’s supposed to be trash, the better!
Use more pumpkin
Quantity of the pumpkin is also not an issue. You can use one or more pumpkin of any size! Be as creative as possible in using them.
GIF via NASA
Color your project
To make your jack-o’-lantern more unique, might as well use paint or construction paper to change the look of your pumpkin! Again, there is no limit to using your creativity.
Light it up
Put your engineering skills into use and incorporate an LED light rather than the traditional candle or tea light! A high tech pumpkin is what usually catches attention.
GIFs via NASA
You can also use a small programmable microcontroller like Arduino, LaunchPad, Pinguino, Teensy or Discovery Board to make your project stand out! That might take a lot of work but the result will be worth it.
Make it move
Have any pumps, motors, or other devices which will mobilize your pumpkin? Use them! Old toys usually have them.
A pumpkin with visual appeal is better when it has spooky sounds. You can add a wireless speaker for that which should make your pumpkin a little more scary and remarkable among the rest.
Just go for it
“There’s no wrong answer in pumpkin engineering,” the NASA engineers said.