While pumpkin carving traditionally is a very low-tech endeavor with varying versions of pens and hand-carving tools being the mainstay of household production, there’s no reason that common crafting need exclude technology. Depending on your background and comfort level, consider trying out one of these five tech-based add-ons to your jack-o-lantern formula this year.
1. Power tools - While these may not be the highest of technological boosts, they are a hefty addition nonetheless. Power tools should only be operated in a controlled, safe, and knowledgeable manner. For tips on how to carve your pumpkin with anything from a dremel to a power washer, visit www.familyhandyman.com/list/the-best-power-tools-for-carving-pumpkins
2. LED Lights - LED lighting represents the massive strides that science and engineering have taken since the candlelight that jack-o-lanterns usually feature. LEDs can be incorporated as simply as a string of fairy lights wrapped around or bundled up inside a pumpkin, or can get as complex as a whole light-board incorporated into the pumpkin’s sides. For more information on how to create a light-board, check out: www.instructables.com/Make-Your-Own-RGB-Led-Decoration-Light-DIY
3. QR Code - Rather than carving a face, why not carve a code? A QR code, or “quick response” code, is like a digital shortcut to a website, image, app, or other tech-based landing site. Free QR code generators abound on the internet and can be used to create a custom QR code that links to - well, anything. A photo of your favorite jack-o-lantern from last year, a website with a Halloween recipe, what seasonal spooky site you want the scanner to land on. To generate your own QR code, try visiting www.qr-code-generator.com
4. Speak Up - Halloween decorations have included sound-producing elements for years. Jack-o-lanterns can also be used to add some ambiance to your display by placing bluetooth speakers or motion-activated sound components co-opted from other decorations to the inside of your carving. Whatever speaker you use, consider wrapping the speaker in something weather- (and heat-) proof.
5. 3D Printing - Whether you’re keen on coding your own 3D printing layout or have the printer but need some help with the design, the possibilities of what kind of jack-o-lantern you can print are really only limited by your machine, your materials, and your imagination. If you need a boost to get started, check out the pre-made designs at https://cults3d.com/en/tags/jack-o-lantern
By Dr. Miceala Shocklee
Skocklee is a full-time aquatics veterinarian and part-time science writer and freelance editor.