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More flaming pumpkins

halloween pumpkin carving - glowing hands The night has been ablaze with my latest diabolical creations! The flames reach for the heavens and the neighbors reach for the phone to dial 911.

I’ve been hard at work carving and sculpting my latest creatures of the night and what a time it’s been. With the help of ZombiePumpkins.com I’ve created some pretty cool pumpkins. I have to say some of those designs are downright tricky. And it doesn’t help that I’m using one of those piece of crap pumpkin carving tools you get out of the $3.99 carving set. Make no mistake I have made amends and have ordered the pumpkin carving kit! It should be here before the end of the week so I can really throw myself into my work.

I did try using a Dremel, but the pumpkin pulp was flying fast and furious with that one. I suppose there are some good uses for it, but for right now it just makes too much of a mess.

But enough of that, I have all new pumpkin creations to show you. Tonight’s goal was to make a pumpkin totem. I started off with three pumpkins which I intended to stack on top of each other. I spent the weekend choosing the patterns and carving the pumpkins. Then came the hard part of actually getting the pumpkins to sit on top of each other. It’s actually a hell of a lot harder to do than it sounds; they have a tendency to topple over.

halloween pumpkin carving - big grinning jack I did my best to level things out by squaring off the top and the bottom and then staking the pieces together using bamboo skewers. It wasn’t fabulous, but it was the best I can do. I have a degree in English not mechanical engineering.

I took my pumpkin structure to the backyard and found a suitable site for the finale. I stuffed my fuel soaked toilet paper down the center of everything and got ready to light it up.

And Holy Crap, did it go up! The flame was a slow build, but within a few seconds a huge column of fire was shooting out the top. It looked like an afterburner! The whole backyard lit up as the flames rushed out the top.

It gathered steam pretty quickly and within a minute or two there was a 4 foot flame shooting out the top. I normally get that, but you have to remember that the pumpkin itself is over 3 feet tall since I stacked them. So, basically I had a 7 foot flame shooting out the top for a little while. It sounded like a giant blowtorch.

flaming halloween pumpkin totem But it was to be shorted lived. The sheer heat caused the pumpkins to bend and soften and the whole structural integrity was in jeopardy. The bottom pumpkin just couldn’t support all that weight and soon it buckled, dislodging the top carving, sending it rolling down the hill. Yeah, there was literally a flaming pumpkin, rolling down the slope of my backyard. Hot pumpkins don’t roll very well and within seconds it shredded itself to pieces and blew apart.

Strangely it was the pumpkin of Jason Vorhees from Friday the 13th and his mask broke away completely. I’m not sure if that’s cool or creepy.

I did manage to put the two pumpkins back together, at least for a short time. The top pumpkin was now getting the full force of the fire blast. It wasn’t long before it was blistering and starting to collapse.

It toppled over and deflated, leaving me with just one pumpkin and a whole lot of fire.

It was somewhat short lived, but it was pretty spectacular. Before I try something like this again, I’m gonna need to do a lot more prep work. I need to level off the pumpkins and more than likely get a support beam that the pumpkins can rest against. The top pumpkin is still doomed to roast in the fiery depths, but it should keep it from rolling down the hill next time.

flaming halloween pumpkin I got some great pictures of this little extravaganza. Check out the full gallery and let me know what you think. Plus, if you have your own Halloween gallery let me know, I love to see what other people are up to.


For the full gallery, click here:


Also, if you want bigger versions of these images, I uploaded them to Webshots. They are 1600×1200 and can easily be used as desktop wallpaper.


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2008 Flaming Pumpkin Kickoff

Kang, hell bent on World Domination and the enslavement of all mankind shows off his warrior fierceness and proves that he is a Being not to be trifled with.


Kang Halloween Flaming Pumpkin We have ignition on the 2008 Halloween festivities! My pumpkin was able fulfill its ultimate Halloween destiny last night as I took it out and lit it ablaze in spectacular Viking fashion. I simply couldn’t let Kang and the Werewolf sit idle on the kitchen table, shriveling and gathering bugs. They needed to light up the night, to instill fear and awe upon all who gazed upon them. Plus I had nothing better to do than set something on fire.


And man did it look cool! Right off the bat the flames shot up at least 4 feet and the light and heat were intense. It was a cloudy night with the moon obscured by gray clouds which just added to the mood of the whole event. The flame lit up the side of the house as I set up the camera to grab some pictures.


To try something different I put the lid back on the pumpkin to have the flames shoot through the carvings themselves. It looks really cool even though there is a real chance of being singed when putting the cap on. But with that heat the cutouts don’t last very long and pretty soon Kang had burned out his eyes and the Werewolf was coming apart. The photos with the flame coming out the front look bizarre and the flame has a unique shape to it.


I will have to come up with at least one design where the flame can come shooting out the front. This should look pretty spectacular with the flame shooting toward the camera.


Werewolf flaming halloween pumpkin Even though the flame burned for over an hour it was the first few minutes that had me nervous. As soon as I put the match to it, I heard sirens all around me in the distance.  They were in the distance then would get louder and closer then fade away again like they were looking for me. Sensing an impending interrogation and potential incarceration I began to formulate my cover story to explain why indeed I had stuffed gasoline soaked toilet paper into a pumpkin and then lit it on fire. Running through my list of plausible deniability scenarios and coming up with nothing, I decided to go with the next best tactic… running.


It seemed a little excessive to send the whole squad after me for just one pumpkin, but ultimately I realized they were involved in some other manner of important business and they had no interest in the demonic pumpkin ritual I was performing.


This test pumpkin worked out well and I’m excited to do more. I’ll probably be carving at least one a weekend with some sort of grand finale. I have this vision of some sort of pumpkin totem as my grand sacrifice. We’ll see if I can put that together.





Kang Halloween Pumpkin Werewolf Halloween Pumpkin

Check out the full Halloween display!


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The big Halloween finale!

You knew it was coming. You knew I was going to do something spectacular and ridiculous this Halloween and here it is!

6 little pumpkins all in a row
All filled with kerosene ready to go
Strike the match and run like hell
These little babies give off a good napalm smell

I had the kids help me carve up 6 pumpkins. We lined them up in the yard and let them rip. I have to say, it’s a pretty impressive sight!

For the big finale we had Hannibal Lecter, Edward Scissorhands, Scream, and two ghosts from A Nightmare Before Christmas.

Quite frankly these pumpkins looked amazing all lit up together. The flames easily hit 3 feet and with that much light the carvings looked great!

I’m so disappointed I won’t get to do anymore this year. I was really just starting to hit my stride. Oh well, I already have some new plans for next year so you just wait and see!

See the full gallery here:

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How to photograph pumpkins

Wahoo! Tonight is the night! I get to really tear one up tonight with several flaming pumpkins, lots of candy, creepy music and some scary movies. I’m all excited.

But, the big question is, how do you take pictures of pumpkins that look good, but don’t have a 3 foot flame shooting out of them? There are several things to do depending on what equipment you want to take with you.

Unless you have a stabilizing lens, the sure fire method is the tripod. Shutter speeds of 1/5 sec give great results if you want the pumpkin to really glow or if there isn’t much light inside it. In most cases the longer exposure the better. Most of my pumpkins are taken at 1/5 sec – 2 sec exposures with a setting of ISO 100. It’s best to use a remote trigger/shutter release to make sure you don’t bump the camera.

If you don’t want to wander around with a tripod, set the camera to ISO 400 or so and you should be able to get 1/80 sec or higher shutter speeds. This should allow you to capture the pumpkin with plenty of detail and no blur. They’re stationary so you just need to worry about your own hand shake.

You can also turn on the porch light, shine a flashlight near the pumpkin or get low and focus right on the light source. Using a flash will take out of a lot of the warm orange color and give you an obvious bright spot so make sure it’s off. If there are multiple pumpkins together, try to use the light of all of them to grab the shot. They will help illuminate each other.

If you have a small point and shoot camera like my Sony WC100 you can use one of the minature tripods to hold the camera. They’re about $12-15 from places like BestBuy, they’re collapsible and lightweight. Very easy to take with you.

If you’re not using a tripod the best time for the photos is right at dusk. You can use the light to grab all the details.

I will hopefully have several new specimens for my gallery tonight. We’ll see what dastardly creations I can come up with.

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