It is a bit late for a Halloween post, but insert lame excuse here. Consider it a counter-balance to the force that causes Christmas decorations to show up in stores in September.
This year I chose Toopy and Binoo, a Canadian children’s cartoon pair that you have probably never heard of, as subjects for my pumpkin carving. Unfortunately, the pumpkins shriveled quite quickly, and the designs didn’t lend themselves well to preservation, so by Halloween, they grew a toothpick scaffolding to maintain their facade. Next year, I believe I’ll try not cutting all the way through to avoid such issues. (I’m not sure what that technique is called, but some of the more artistic neighbors employed it to great effect.)
Inside these gourds I used little battery-powered LED lights made for the purpose instead of actual candles. While LED lights don’t look nearly as nice as real candles, one need not care so much about potentially setting things on fire. On the evening of the 31st, as a few groups of kids had already arrived and absconded with their hard-earned treats, I found myself with a third pumpkin untouched by blade, but no light (or candle) to go in it, should I decide to carve it. Then, I remembered my extra spools of SMT LEDs from the cabinet lighting project. I calculated that a 9 volt battery could power three such LEDs for about 10 hours (that estimate was conservative by a factor of 3, it turned out — I need to go back to EE school). Thanks to various other projects, I already had some speaker wire with alligator clips on each end, so, in the course of 5 minutes, I threw together a functional pumpkin light, carved a few holes in the pumpkin, and called it a day. No need to clean out the guts when open flames are not a factor.
For his first Halloween, Ian went as a dragon. Typical of his recent enthusiasm for all things space-related, Alex went as an astronaut. Instead of saying “trick-or-treat,” he would announce, “Hi, I’m Alex. I’m an astronaut!” Much candy was received, all the same.