Buy or DIY: Best Options for Halloween Pumpkin Lights

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You can go old school and stick a tea light or candle in Mr. Pumpkin (or Ms. Watermelon), but you'll have to keep an eye out for it. At some point the candle might blow out or burn down, and all your hard pumpkin-carving work will go unnoticed. But! There are other options for lighting your jack o' lantern, from basic moves to more hi-tech choices. See which works for your time and budget:

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BUY:

Short on time? There are several things you can purchase, or might have lying around the house, to pop into a hollow pumpkin.

  • Graduate to the next grade level with a battery-operated tea light or tap light. Put in a fresh battery and no need to worry about wind or wax.
  • Any extra glow sticks you have lying around will work for awhile. (Although you might want to buy them in the off season.)
  • If you have access to an outlet, tuck in some string lights in the pumpkin and get yourself a nice glow. Martha Stewart likes to wrap her string lights around a glass jar to keep them all neat and tidy. Or This Old House suggests pushing the actual bulbs of your string lights through the holes in your pumpkin (as seen in lead image).
  • These corded electric lights, available on Amazon, use C7 bulbs, which makes them a great small-sized option.
  • Williams and Sonoma ups the eek factor with a remote control light set (seen above). I know I'd be freaked out if a jack-o-lantern suddenly turned on as I walked up the porch steps.
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DIY:
If you have more time on your hands, or want to experiment more with colors and whatnot, here are a few more ideas.
  • Martha Stewart demonstrates how to rig your lighting with a light socket and tin can.
  • Instructables shows how to install some LED lights that change shade as the night goes on.
  • Two words: Laser Pumpkin!

- Re-edited from a post originally published October 21, 2013 - DF