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Halloween Jack-o’lanterns: 8 Cheap Alternatives to Pumpkins (+FREE carving templates)

pumpkin alternative jack lantern
PlayPost Category - PlayPlay - Post Category - Arts & CraftsArts & Crafts

Here are 8 cheaper alternatives to pumpkin Jack-o’lanterns suited to a tropical Halloween. Pumpkins, you just got shelved for a cheaper date this Halloween!

Halloween may look a little different this year with no large Trick or Treat neighborhood events but you can still get the kids dressed up in Halloween costumes, and celebrate with a small Halloween party at home! Jack-o’-lanterns, made from carved pumpkins may scream Halloween but pumpkins are expensive here in Singapore! Buying an imported pumpkin to let your kids carve up requires some ‘deep breath’ moments. Instead of shredding your hard earned cash this year, how’s about we carve up some cheaper alternatives to pumpkins from pineapples to pomelos – same fun, less handwringing (more cash for date night!). We even give you some free Halloween carving templates to make life easy! Once you are done check out these Halloween recipes to make with the kids, decide on some fun games to play and an age-appropriate scary movie and you are all set for Halloween at home this year!

Cheaper pumpkin alternatives to carve this Halloween!

The practice of decorating jack-o’-lanterns originates from the Irish where large turnips and potatoes were originally carved to ward of evil. America adopted this tradition but changed it to a pumpkin. Let’s go find some cheaper alternatives to pumpkins to suit Halloween in the tropics!

1. Watermelons

With their huge shiny green exteriors and blood-red interiors – these guys scream Halloween like no other fruit. Perfect for carving up goofy toothy grins – plus you can use the flesh for teatime snacks, blended up for smoothies and any extra can be frozen ready for slushies.

2. Pomelos

Pomelos score points on their size – much bigger and beefier than an orange and due to the amount of pith, the carved structure will stay solid for longer. These guys are much easier to carve than a pumpkin and they hold a candle or tealight much more safely than an orange.

Halloween alternatives to pumpkin carving

3. Pineapples

Pineapples are the perfect fruit in the tropics to give pumpkins a run for their money. With their craggy exteriors and ready made hairdos – they already look half the part. Easier to carve and much much cheaper at around $2 each – you could buy one a week to carve (and worry less about mouldy produce on your doorstep)!

4. Oranges

Oranges make cute mini jack-o’-lanterns – they fit the bill for colour and you can scoop out the flesh and the pith keeps really well (less chance of the dreaded mould). Slice the top of one third off all the way across, scoop out the fruit, carve the bottom two thirds into your design, then return the lid.

5. Potatoes

Let’s go back to the roots of this tradition of making Jack’o-lanterns with the much cheaper (albeit smaller) vegetable. American Russet potatoes are probably the largest variety here or try sweet potatoes too – in Fairprice around $1 each. Rub your cut potato with lemon juice or vinegar to keep it from oxidizing and going black!

6. Local Turnips

Another original vegetable used by the Irish where this tradition of carving Jack’o lanterns  began. Look in your supermarket for local turnips (the white fleshed variety are most common) and you can get pretty large ones perfect for carving – these should cost around $2-3 for a medium to large one.

7. Peppers or Capsicums

Green, red or yellow peppers (or capsicums) make very good carving material as they are much softer to cut than pumpkins. The flesh is not as messy either so less chance of rotting or moulding before your Halloween party! Just the right size to fit an electric tea light in.

8. Onions!

Will making onion mini jack-o’-lanterns keep the vampires away? Onion versions of jack-o’-lanterns will at least be less attractive to pests looking for a late night nibble. Though we probably wouldn’t really keep any of these pumpkin alternatives inside the house once they have been cut open in the tropics!

FREE Halloween Carving Templates

Need help carving up your victim, sorry, vegetable? Download our three easy-to-carve “pumpkin” templates for Halloween!

Psst! Keep it Mould Free!
To keep your mock pumpkin fresh and mould-free as long as possible remember to: scoop out as much all the flesh, clean the insides and you could even try a bleach solution (3 TBSP bleach and 3 gallons water) or spray. Some also swear by finishing with hairspray or acrylic finish spray and Tabasco sauce to keep rodents away!

Read more: Where to Buy Kids Halloween costumes in Singapore

Lead image: Getty Images

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