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Three Candle-Free Ways to Light a Jack-o'-Lantern

Updated on October 25, 2007

There is something so nostalgic about a jack-o'-lantern lit with a candle. The flickering, dancing light created by the candle's flame gives the jack-o'-lantern a little bit of an eerie feel, perfect for Halloween. However, if you are having a bunch of kids around for a Halloween party (or a bunch of adults that may get, shall we say....out of hand at the party) candle-free may be the way to go. The pumpkin will stay illuminated longer, and there's no danger of anyone's costume catching fire. Although, that could be entertaining, too. Depends on the party, I suppose.

Anyway. Assuming you don't want to hose any of the guests down, there are several good options for lighting up your jack-o'-lantern without using candles. Give these ideas a try this year.

1. Battery-Powered Christmas Lights

These are perfect because it's easy to maneuver them into the pumpkin. You can get fancy, a la Martha, and wrap your lights evenly around a glass jar or other cylinder to light your pumpkin evenly, or you can just shove them in any way they'll work. Typically, people think of the small white lights for this tip, but imagine the creepy results you'd get with a string of all-red, all-purple, or all-green lights! These lights are inexpensive, and you can use them year after year. And, especially if you go the colored lights route, your pumpkin will have a totally unique look.

2. "Tap" Lights

You've seen these, right? They were originally one of those "Not Available in Stores" latenight infomercial products. The idea was that you could put a light in your closets or hallways, where you needed light but didn't have an outlet. I've never bothered putting one in my closet, but they are awesome to use in jack-o'-lanterns. They come in a variety of sizes, from very small ones up to larger ones that are perfect for your biggest jack-o'-lanterns. Oh, and you can buy them in most stores now. I know that Target carries them, as do most discount stores. They're inexpensive, battery powered, and you can keep them to use again every year.

3. Glow Sticks

You know those sticks that you snap, shake, and send the tikes out with when they go trick or treating? They're perfect for illuminating smaller jack-o'-lanterns. The best thing about these, besides how cheap they are, is that they come in about every color imaginable. Our favorite is to use the neon green ones in our pumpkins, but I think any of the colors would look great. A bonus: these generally stay bright for about twelve hours, so they'll outlast straggling trick or treaters, or lingering party guests.

I hope you give these ideas a try. They're a lot of fun, and safe for every member of the family.


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