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*Disclaimer: in full disclosure, this article was partly influenced by the rather old
i-Mockery article on root vegetables as jack-o-lanterns.

As cool as the traditional pumpkin-based jack-o-lanterns can be, I sometimes wonder if they lack a certain flare. Like, say, spikes. Or meat. Well, wonder no more and check out the attempts below to create a new tradition: whack-o-lanterns. Okay, yes, the name is stupid. If you've got a better idea, then come tell me in the forum, from whence this little fellow hails:

Until then, check out what I spent my night doing!

Pepper-o-Lantern! How cute! I love green peppers, fresh and crisp. Orange and yellow ones, however, never seem quite as crisp to me. Regardless I picked up an orange one because, dangit, it's Halloween! It's pretty festive, wouldn't you say?

BRAINS!

 

 

BRAINS! BRAINS! innards. It would be a lot easier cleaning out pumpkins if their guts were consigned to a neat cluster of seeds in the lid. Oh well! After a few minutes of deft slicing with the ever-sharp X-acto blade, I forged a neat little pumpkin. Try carving one of those cute little gourds and you'd be there all afternoon.

 

 

How cool is that? AAGH HE'S EATING MY ARM just kidding, folks. Heh. Anyway it glows really well. The only problem is that since it's so small the flame is pretty close to the lid and it gets a little scorched. And burnt peppers smell...funky. An easy solution would be to just cut a smaller hole for the lid and then don't put it on - it only has to be big enough to get the candle in there. (which would probably be better done if you sliced off the bottom anyway)

Still, it's cute.

 

 

SPAM? SPAM! Bacon, eggs, spam. I don't like SPAM. Really. So I got Turkey Spam, figuring it would be at least remotely palatable. (I don't like wasting food).

I was surprised how well this fused brick of "meat" held up to carving. It was almost like carving moist styrofoam. One might assume.

Anyway it came out looking mildly retarded but in a cute and friendly sort of way. Heh. I really like the Spam-o-Lantern.

 

 

NEXT!

By now the apartment is starting to look a little like Frankenstein's Laboratory (yes I'm a stickler for the proper naming of Frankenstein's Monster as such). Guts of various things all over. But nothing quite as...gutsy...as our next experiment.

THE HORNY MELON!

 

 

The HORNY MELON, or Kiwano, is, to put it scientifically: gross. Seriously. It only looks cool. All the spikes and spines are there to warn you how lame and mildly slimy it actually tastes. It's almost like a watery orange but there's something far more mucus-like involved in it. I tried it so you don't have to.

But it makes a darn fine kiwan-o-lantern! (OH, I SEE WHAT YOU DID THERE)

 

 

Seriously, the horny melon is pretty rad. I mean, it's gross, but it makes a sweet candle illuminated freakshow. Again, its only downfall is how close the top is to the flame - it does get rather squishy after half an hour.

 

 

GREAT BIG GOBS OF GREASY GRIMY GOPHER GUTS mutilated monkey meat....etc, etc. Too much capslock. Sorry.

Before moving on to the piece de resistance (piece of resistance) here are the two cute veggie-o-lanterns watching the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown Halloween special thing that was on tonight. yay!

 

 

Next up. Raw beef. Raw ground beef. Beef-o-Lanterns. Yes. Beef-o-Lanterns.

They didn't work so well. As you might well imagine, raw ground beef is not exactly an ideal building material. It does tend to collapse upon itself rather quickly. In my naive desire to create something wonderful, bizarre, and new, I figured it would hold together a little better. It probably would if I mixed it up with a few handfuls of breadcrumbs but I'm not in the mood for meatloaf tonight.

So anyway, the next pictures show the "special" results of nearly five pounds of raw ground beef.

 

 

Bloody Beef-o-rama.

This is like the Stay-Puft marshmallow man from the Ghostbusters movies - a big fat face that's a little tired, and a little angry, and backed by the unholy fire of ginger peach scented tea lights. Er...

 

 

This option, the eyes held together a little better but there's really no way to keep the mouth in shape unless, I assume, one made some bizarre contraption to hold it open, because it just isn't going to stay on its own. I'm picturing something like a slice out of a soda bottle crimped down at the edges...you know. Something.

Regardeless, dang this was fun. And I got to create some really gross and bizzare fire-filled abominations, which is always great.

Happy pre-Halloween madness! As for me, I'll be in Buffalo for most of the rest of the weekend at a Halloween party (I'll probably show pics later in the forum), and playing volleyball back in Rochester on Sunday night. What are you going to be up to? Come chat about it in theFORUM.

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