Transform an inexpensive foam pumpkin into a light-up monster for Halloween! This fun spin on a jack-o-lantern has lots of space for individuality as kids (and adults) create their own crazy pumpkin. And the best part? It lights up to make a spooky decoration for the season.


  • A small foam pumpkin (solid or hollow)
  • Plastic vampire teeth
  • An electric tealight
  • A pumpkin carving saw
  • Pencil
  • Hot glue
  • Assorted craft supplies

Note: I have made these with various natural gourds as well, though that is a bit messier. Also, they can’t be packed up and used again next season.

Decide how wide open you’d like your teeth to be. Then hold them, teeth facing in, against the pumpkin. Use a pencil to trace an outline around the teeth.

Use your cutter or knife to cut out space for your mouth. It’s best to make the hole a bit smaller than you expect you will need and widen it if you must. The goal is to have the teeth stay in the mouth without much help. Make sure that the hole is deep enough for the teeth to sit flush against that face of the pumpkin.

Take a sharpened pencil and center the point on the back of the hole for the mouth. Carefully push the pencil through the pumpkin until it comes out the back. This will help you center the tealight inside the mouth to provide the best light.

Gently place the bulb of the tealight into the hole created with the pencil. Holding the tealight against the back of the pumpkin, use a pencil to trace around the tealight.

Use your saw or knife to cut out a hole for the tealight. It should be deep enough that most of the tealight sits inside the pumpkin and the bulb reaches the hole for the mouth. If needed use the pencil or your saw to widen the hole for the bulb, flaring it somewhat on the mouth side.

If desired paint the inside of the mouth. Place the tealight and teeth in the pumpkin and test that you like the lighting and mouth placement. If so, glue the teeth into place.

Get out the craft supplies and decorate your pumpkin. Feathers, pipe cleaners, and googly eyes are all great choices. Paint can add dramatic effects. Yarn is great as hair. Give your monster pumpkin whatever features you like. Share your fun creations with your friends!

If you enjoyed this project, please check out my book, The Big Book of Maker Camp Projects. It has lots of maker and STEAM projects perfect for schools, clubs, scouts, camps, homeschoolers, libraries and more.

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