Hey everyone! I had really high hopes for blogging this year since we have been stuck at home because of COVID-19, but that just didn’t happen. I lost my motivation for a while but it happens. I’m back and I’m really excited to share a Halloween project I accidentally came across, singing pumpkins. I decided I wanted to go all out for Halloween this year. I normally travel a ton during this time so it’s been a while since I got all of the decorations out but obviously this year, we are staying home. I was playing on Facebook when I came across these adorable singing pumpkins on a Facebook ad. I have been scammed by a Facebook ad before so before purchasing “3 singing pumpkins for $38”, I did some research. Yep, you guessed it, totally fake. There is one singing pumpkin you can buy called Jabberin’ Jack Talking Pumpkin for around $60 but you can’t change what it does and the pumpkins don’t interact with each other. The real thing requires pumpkins, digital files and a projector. Today I’m going to share with you where I got my supplies and how I did my set up. I will update this in a couple of weeks when we actually put this display outside because that will be another challenge in itself.
UPDATE: I wrote this before I set up the pumpkins outdoors. I have included an update in the appropriate sections for tips, tricks and what I learned our first season with the singing pumpkins!
- Pumpkins (you can use real or fake. I used the foam pumpkins you get from Michaels. I used two 9″ pumpkins for the sides and one 13″ pumpkin for the middle. See set up below if you are only using AtmosFX files. You might want to use a round pumpkin in the middle). UPDATE! You can set these up on small pumpkins, but I ended up using the big pumpkins from Home Depot ( I think you can also find them at Lowes). We had to go big because of setting up the projector in the car.
- A projector (I used the Viewsonic M1 projector because that’s what I had. I believe that there is a Viewsonic M1+ that has bluetooth capabilities which might make some of this easier but you can use any projector)
- AtmosFX does provide a pack for $350 that includes a projector, 12 year round decorations, window projection material, a 2GB drive and a plush doll if you wanted all of that. I’m not sure if that includes the pumpkin files or not, but just throwing another option out there!
- Digital files:
- AtmosFX (I bought the Jack-O’-Lantern Jamboree. There is a second one now but the voices aren’t the same which was disappointing)
- Singing Pumpkins (I want them all but they are a little pricey. If you do buy from here, please use my referral code KB3118 so I can get some free songs)
- A program to put all of your files in a loop. I used iTunes because I have a Mac. Atmos FX gives you directions their website of how to use VLC if you don’t have a video player.
- Optional: A bluetooth speaker (this depends on your set up and projector. The M1 projector does have loud speakers but I’m going to try to set it up in my car to keep it safe so I need a speaker to play outside. I bought this rock speaker from Amazon. AtmosFX also sells one that looks way cooler) UPDATE: The rock speaker worked pretty well, but the range is not the best. I had to put the speaker up on the table so it could connect to the computer. It also disconnected from time to time. I might get a different one in the future.
- Optional: A backup battery. If you aren’t plugging your projector in, it lasts for about 3 hours. I wanted mine to play longer so I bought this battery pack to keep the projector charged.
How to Put it Together
Making a Playlist
First things first, download the files you want. I downloaded the Jack-O’-Lantern Jamboree which includes multiple files. You get some pumpkin jokes, funny faces, a buffer, stories and a couple of songs, all which will be separate. You will also get different versions with a solo pumpkin if you just want to project on one pumpkin, a trio for all three pumpkins and one with a background so you could just project the whole thing on a wall or a sheet. I also bought, “This is Halloween” from Singing Pumpkins. I plan on adding a lot more songs but I haven’t bought them yet (I NEED Sexy and I know it, The Devil Went Down to Georgia and Bohemian Rhapsody. They are hilarious).
After the files are downloaded, select the trio, pumpkin face only file and drag and drop into iTunes (singing pumpkins will just give you one file with three faces). Now it’s time to create your playlist. I had my pumpkins sing a song, tell some jokes, tell a story, then make some funny faces. Then I put two buffer files in there since they are 15 seconds each and I don’t want people standing in front of them forever. I did a mix of that with songs, stories and faces with either funny faces or buffers thrown in multiple times. Just drag and drop the duplicate files where you want them. iTunes will ask if you really want to add a duplicate, just click yes and keep making your list.
Once the list is complete, make sure you select Control –> Repeat–> All to make sure your playlist is on a loop (see my example list below).
Ta da! Now you have a playlist. You can either save your playlist to a USB drive (though I’m not sure how the loop saves, it wasn’t working for me) or just hook up your computer to the projector, which I have to do anyway because the projector itself will not connect to the bluetooth speaker.
UPDATE: We had to use large pumpkins for our outdoor set up and I tried hard, but couldn’t get the different types of files to look right on the pumpkins without changing them around. I ended up making a list for Atmos FX files and a separate list for singing pumpkins and then alternated which files I played each night. For Halloween, we were outside so we just adjusted the set up when the different files started playing. Just keep that in mind! Had I done this over, I would’ve just done all singing pumpkins files because the show is way longer and there are more options.
Trouble Shooting Tips: If you decide to use a USB, I ran into an issue where every file had a duplicate with a ._ in front of it and the projector would not recognize it. I went through hell trying to figure it out and apparently all you have to do is use the projector to delete those files. Once those files are deleted, the videos on the USB should play fine and if you are using the M1 projector, they will also loop automatically. After all this, I remembered I had to use my computer anyway to connect to the bluetooth speaker since I was setting it up in my car. Maybe all of that trouble will help you out though in case you run into that issue!
I also had some issues with the singing pumpkin files on the USB where some of them would be jumpy and flash green in the beginning. John from The Singing Pumpkins tried hard to help me out but we just couldn’t figure it out. I didn’t have that issue on the computer through so I quit trying to figure it out.
That being said, both Atmos FX and The Singing Pumpkins have awesome customer service!
Setting up the Pumpkins
This is the easy part, set up three pumpkins with the largest in the middle and set up the projector so it plays on the pumpkins, that’s it! Now you have singing pumpkins and they are the cutest. I will say that the faces are a little different between the two files. The Singing Pumpkins look great with a tall pumpkin in the middle and the two medium ones on the side. The Atmos FX files would look better with a large, fatter pumpkin in the middle. I ended up putting a plastic bowl under my two small pumpkins and positioning it so it didn’t look as awkward in the middle for the AtmosFX files (see picture).
The M1 projector does play sound through the speakers so you can just use those speakers or connect your device to your bluetooth speaker and play the sounds through there.
Setting the Pumpkins up Outdoors
This is where things get a little tricky. I am going to try to set this up in a couple of weeks and put it in my car and project the image through the window. I figure that will prevent theft and also weather damage since I live in Michigan and we get lots of rain, wind and possibly even snow. The tricky part will be getting the set up just right so you can still see it clearly without the car blocking it. It will require work because I will have to bring in the projector and computer to re-charge every night but that also ensures these items stay safe since I don’t like leaving things like that in my car. I’m attempting this in a couple of weeks (when the grass stops growing and it gets closer to Halloween). I will update this post with pictures and results when I figure it out!
Update: How I Actually Set up the Pumpkins
Ok, I know I am writing this after Halloween is over but I learned a lot and I will share our set up. First things first, because I wanted to put the projector in the car, the pumpkins had to be bigger because it was impossible to set it up close enough for the small pumpkins. We chose the Home Depot pumpkins because they were big enough, but they also had a hole in the back for the light that is supposed to go in them. We cut out a little circle from the bottom of the pumpkins to glue over the hole. Next year, I’ll probably take some clay and fill in the large holes because you can still see them. As a plus though, when the pumpkins weren’t singing or when it was raining and I didn’t want to put them up, I used these lights and just made them be Jack O’ Lanterns!
As you can see above, we also had to build a table that was high enough for our car. I have a smaller car so it didn’t have be super high. We put spider webs to hide the table and I threw some other pumpkins around to make a little “pumpkin patch”. We had to set it up on a bit of a diagonal because of the windshield, but you were still able to see the pumpkins fine from the sidewalk and the street. I also had to put the rock speaker on the table because it wouldn’t connect with my computer on the ground. That worked out though because it really sounded like the pumpkins were singing.
In the car, I just put the computer on a bucket, connected it to the projector and connected the projector to the battery pack. Then I kept a couple pieces of wood in the car to balance the projector so it would hit the pumpkins just right.
I connected the computer to the rock speaker and ta-da! I had singing pumpkins. As I mentioned above, I wasn’t able to get the set up to look right with both the Atmos FX and Singing Pumpkins files at the same time, so I just alternated every night. I had to stack the middle pumpkin up a little bit higher when we used the signing pumpkin files since technically, that pumpkin should be bigger.
I unfortunately never took a picture of the Atmos FX files, only videos which I can’t share here (check out my instagram for videos) but those pumpkins just stayed flat and they were good to go! You can see in this picture where my car was in relation to the pumpkins.
So there you have it! Now you know how I set up the singing pumpkins. This is definitely not the easiest (or cheapest) project, but they were a huge hit for Halloween and I loved that people would take their children for a walk just to see them. Here is a picture of half of our yard (we obviously have no theme lol).
I want to see your Halloween decorations and your singing pumpkins! Please let me know how it goes.