Cool Halloween Jack o Lanterns

Make a Great Pumpkin Using Science

Science Pumpkin
Science Pumpkin. sandsun / Getty Images

Take your Halloween jack o lantern or pumpkin to the next level with these simple science-based special effects.

Here's my 2011 Halloween jack-o'-lantern.
Here's my 2011 Halloween jack-o'-lantern. Anne Helmenstine

This fiery Halloween jack-o-lantern gets its special effect from hand sanitizer! It's an easy effect to produce, although the fire only burns until the alcohol in the sanitizer has been used. This is good, though, because this makes the project very safe! Once the alcohol burns, all you're left with is scented water on the jack-o-lantern More »

This jack o lantern shoots flames into the air like a flamethrower.
All you need to make a flamethower pumpkin that shoots fire in the air for hours is kerosene and a roll of toilet paper. Anne Helmenstine

This Halloween jack-o'-lantern shoots out a column of flame a few feet high for hours. Plus, you can customize the color of the flame to suit your holiday theme. This is a simple, yet spectacular fiery pumpkin. More »

This Halloween jack-o-lantern is filled with green fire.
You could put a simple candle inside your Halloween jack-o-lantern, but filling it with green fire is much more fun!. Anne Helmenstine

.Nothing says cool like green fire, right? Maybe I'm biased, but I think a Halloween jack o lantern that spouts green fire is about as cool as it gets. This is a simple effect to produce, requiring only two easy-to-find chemicals More »

Glow in the Dark Pumpkin
Glow in the Dark Pumpkin. Anne Helmenstine

The best part about this cool Halloween jack o lantern is that you don't need to carve your pumpkin. This means your jack o lantern can last for weeks instead of days and that you won't need to risk a trip to the emergency room if you're more butcher than ​an artist when attempting carving More »

I put a cup of water inside this Halloween jack-o-lantern and dropped in a piece of dry ice.
I put a cup of water inside this Halloween jack-o-lantern and dropped in a piece of dry ice. Carbon dioxide fog sinks, so if you want smoke to come out of the eyes and nose, use a tall cup so the fog can spill down. Anne Helmenstine
If you fill your Halloween jack o lantern with dry ice fog you don't have to wait until night to enjoy it. This is a simple display that can last for hours. More »
Here's what happens when you light a smoke bomb inside a Halloween jack-o-lantern.
Here's what happens when you light a smoke bomb inside a Halloween jack-o-lantern. Anne Helmenstine

Smoke bombs aren't just for July 4th! They are cool any time of the year. If you light a homemade smoke bomb inside of a Halloween jack-o-lantern you'll get purple flames and tons of smoke. Outdoors only, please... More »

Igniting acetylene gas produced by a chemical reaction blows the face out of a pumpkin.
Igniting acetylene gas produced by a chemical reaction blows the face out of a pumpkin. sandsun / Getty Images
This is arguably the coolest of the Halloween jack o lanterns, but it's also the most risky. Attempt this one only if you have some chemistry or pyrotechnics training, otherwise read about it and play with green fire instead. More »
This Halloween jack-o-lantern is filled with safe water fog.
This Halloween jack-o-lantern is filled with safe water fog. The fog is generated using an inexpensive water fog generator, such as you might see at a novelty store for use with a tabletop fountain. Anne Helmenstine
This Halloween jack-o-lantern spews out real water fog, so it is completely non-toxic and safe, even for young kids. More »

LED and Bubbles Jack-o-Lantern

This Halloween jack-o-lantern contains dry ice.
This Halloween jack-o-lantern contains an LED that illuminates the bubbles drooling from its mouth. Anne Helmenstine

Tape an LED to a lithium battery to make an LED glowie, seal it in a plastic baggie, and place it inside your jack-o-lantern. Now, add dry ice, hot water and a squirt of dishwashing detergent. This is a dynamic colorful effect that lasts as long as there is dry ice. Simply add more to keep it going.

This carved Halloween dragon pumpkin breathes real smoke and fire.
This carved Halloween dragon pumpkin breathes real smoke and fire. Anne Helmenstine
Carve a Halloween dragon pumpkin and then apply chemical know-how to make it breathe smoke and red fire. Don't worry, the pattern for the dragon is included! More »
The red flames shooting out of this Halloween pumpkin come from a strontium salt.
The red flames shooting out of this Halloween pumpkin come from a strontium salt. Michael Perrucci / EyeEm / Getty Images

 Fill your Halloween pumpkin with sinister red flame using common chemicals. The effect lasts for 30 minutes to a couple of hours, depending how much fuel you supply. More »

The self-carving pumpkin demonstration involves carving a jack-o-lantern face with chemistry.
The self-carving pumpkin demonstration involves carving a jack-o-lantern face with chemistry. Bjarte Rettedal / Getty Images

This version of the self-carving jack-o'-lantern blows out the carved face of the pumpkin, but doesn't carry the risk of fire or an explosion. It's still fun, but it's safe. Plus, you can use common household materials to achieve the effect. More »

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Your Citation
Helmenstine, Anne Marie, Ph.D. "Cool Halloween Jack o Lanterns." ThoughtCo, Sep. 21, 2017, thoughtco.com/cool-halloween-jack-o-lanterns-607697. Helmenstine, Anne Marie, Ph.D. (2017, September 21). Cool Halloween Jack o Lanterns. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/cool-halloween-jack-o-lanterns-607697 Helmenstine, Anne Marie, Ph.D. "Cool Halloween Jack o Lanterns." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/cool-halloween-jack-o-lanterns-607697 (accessed October 24, 2017).