Science, Tech, Math › Science Glow in the Dark Pumpkin Instructions Glowing Jack-o-Lantern Pumpkin Share Flipboard Email Print This spooky Halloween pumpkin glows in the dark. The jack-o-lantern face is formed by the areas that aren't coated with phosphorescent paint. Anne Helmenstine Science Chemistry Projects & Experiments Basics Chemical Laws Molecules Periodic Table Scientific Method Biochemistry Physical Chemistry Medical Chemistry Chemistry In Everyday Life Famous Chemists Activities for Kids Abbreviations & Acronyms Biology Physics Geology Astronomy Weather & Climate By Anne Marie Helmenstine, Ph.D. Chemistry Expert Ph.D., Biomedical Sciences, University of Tennessee at Knoxville B.A., Physics and Mathematics, Hastings College Dr. Helmenstine holds a Ph.D. in biomedical sciences and is a science writer, educator, and consultant. She has taught science courses at the high school, college, and graduate levels. our editorial process Facebook Facebook Twitter Twitter Anne Marie Helmenstine, Ph.D. Updated September 05, 2018 You can make a glow in the dark pumpkin with a jack-o-lantern face using a common non-toxic chemical. The jack-o-lantern doesn't require carving or fire, shines in rain or wind, and lasts as long as your pumpkin. Plus, the glowing pumpkin looks really spooky! Glow in the Dark Pumpkin Materials It's very easy to make a glow in the dark pumpkin and it doesn't require many materials: Pumpkin (real, carved, or artificial)Glow in the dark paintPaintbrush (optional)Masking tape to form a jack-o-lantern face (optional) Make the Pumpkin Glow Basically, all you need to do is coat a pumpkin with glow in the dark paint. The glow in the dark paint can be obtained from any arts and crafts store. You can use glow in the dark acrylic paint for making models, glowing tempera paint, or glow in the dark fabric paint. I used glowing fabric paint, which dries clear and is waterproof. Paint your pumpkin.Shine a bright light on the pumpkin, then turn out the lights. If the pumpkin does not glow as brightly as you would like, apply one or more coats of glow in the dark paint. Creating a Jack-o-Lantern Face For this project, the jack-o-lantern face is the part that does not glow. If you are using a carved jack-o-lantern, you've already got a face. If you just want a glowing pumpkin, you simply coat the pumpkin with glow in the dark paint, and you're finished. If you want a face on an intact pumpkin you have a few different options for creating it: Trace a face on the pumpkin and paint around the face.Tape a face on the pumpkin, paint the entire pumpkin and remove the tape when the paint is dry. How Long Will the Glowing Pumpkin Glow? How long your pumpkin glows depends on the chemical used to make it glow and the light you used to charge your pumpkin. Zinc sulfide is a phosphorescent non-toxic chemical used in most glow in the dark paints. If you shine a bright light on it, you can expect it to glow for several minutes up to an hour. If you shine an ultraviolet lamp or black light onto the pumpkin, it will glow more brightly, but probably not any longer. Newer phosphorescent paints are based on rare earth elements. These pigments glow very brightly, usually in green or blue, and can last a full day. If you use tritium-based paint, you will not need to apply light in order to make your pumpkin glow, plus the pumpkin will glow pretty much until the end of time (at least 20 years). How Long Will the Glowing Pumpkin Last? The type of pumpkin you use will determine how long your glowing pumpkin will last. If you paint a carved jack-o-lantern, expect the pumpkin to last a few days to a week. An uncarved pumpkin may last a few months. An artificial pumpkin can be used year after year.