Pumpkin Candles

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Easy Pumpkin Candles

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Make this easy candle project with a baking-size pumpkin. Image by Patti Wigington 2007

The pumpkin is one of the best-known members of the squash family. From September to November, they're all over the place - we see them carved into jack-o-lanterns, painted, and practically invading every roadside stand in town. With Samhain growing nearer, the pumpkin crop is at its peak, and there are all kinds of things you can do with them. Everyone loves candles, so why not use a few small pumpkins to jazz up your Sabbat decor?

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Make an Easy Pumpkin Candle

Begin by cutting the top off your pumpkin and hollowing out the goop. Image &Copy; Patti Wigington

The first thing you'll need is a baking-size pumpkin (you can use an acorn squash for this project too). Here's a hint -- before you buy a pumpkin from the pumpkin patch, check your grocery store's produce section. If you don't want to use a lot of wax, buy the mini-pumpkins instead - they're much smaller, and just as easy to work with.

Unless you already have candle-making equipment and paraffin wax, the other thing you'll need to get is some soy wax chips. These are inexpensive, melt easily and safely in your microwave, and burn cleaner than paraffin wax. If you already have paraffin, you can use that for this project, but you'll need to melt it over a double burner instead. If you want to add color or scent, you'll need some of that too.

Finally, you'll need a wick. You can either make your own by coating a string in wax, or you can buy a pre-made wick at any craft or hobby store. The pre-made ones typically have a small metal disc at the bottom for the base.

Assemble all your supplies, and cut the top off the pumpkin. Scoop out the goop inside (you can save the seeds for roasting later) and scrape the interior clean. A melon-baller actually works really well for this step.

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Pouring the Wax

Pour the melted soy wax into the hollow pumpkin, making sure the wick stays upright. Image © Patti Wigington

Melt your wax -- again, if you use soy chips you can melt them in the microwave. Eight cups of dry chips will give you about four cups of melted wax, which is just about enough to fill a baking pumpkin or acorn squash. Before you pour the wax, secure the wick to the bottom of the pumpkin's inside. It's okay if it flops over a little, because you'll prop it up later when the wax is in place.

Once your wax is melted, add scent or color chips if you like. Stir before pouring. Fill the pumpkin with wax up to the bottom edge of the opening. You'll probably have a little bit left over -- don't throw it away, you'll need it later!

After you've poured the wax, if the wick seems to lean to one side or the other, place a butter knife across the top of the pumpkin to hold up the wick and keep it from flopping.

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Finishing Up

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Trim the wick back to 1/4", and burn your candle as part of your Samhain celebrations. Image by Patti Wigington 2007

Once the wax has cooled, you may notice a small dip or indentation around the wick where the wax has sunk. Use the leftover wax to fill this spot up. Trim the wick back so it is no longer than 1/4" long.

When you burn your candle, be careful not to leave it unattended. If the inside of the pumpkin begins to burn, put your candle out immediately. Use it on your altar or around your house as part of your Samhain decorating.