Do you want to a fun Halloween setup for your trick or treaters that the kids will all talk about? Why not get a few uncarved pumpkins, any ol’ projector, plus a couple computer speakers and have some fun!
Really, that’s all you need!
We’ve been averaging about 250 kids each halloween since 2013 and have had our singing pumpkins out each year. It isn’t getting old, either! I’m a bit of a techie and use a multi-screen setup, but you really don’t need any of that. Just the singing pumpkins alone is the home run! If you want to know how it’s done, read below and see phase 1. And, seriously, stop there. If you want to see how I do a synchronized background screen (since I’ve been asked), read phase 2.
Here’s a highlight video from our 2017 show:
PHASE 1 – The Singing Pumpkins (easy)
Short Version: grab a projector, a few uncarved pumpkins and purchase whatever singing pumpkin animation/song you want at the pumpkin website below. They have good tutorials there too. That’s it! Oh, and if you do decide to buy, please remember to tell them that member “EH130” sent you.
Long Version: Here’s how I pulled it off…
Pumpkin Face Animations
I purchased most of the animations from TheSingingPumpkin.com as I really liked how fluid the faces appeared.
I use a 2700 lumen projector (NEC NP410W, 4:3 ratio) to display the faces. I found mine on Craigslist for only $125, with only 17 hours on the original lamp. I’ve seen others use little handheld projectors too, so I imagine you don’t need anything fancy like ours.
You just need any three un-carved pumpkins. Or if you used carved pumpkins, just turn them around so the blank side is showing. If you plan to do this show often, consider using “Funkins” (reusable fake pumpkins). I like big pumpkins, so I ordered three large ones, so that there is one large one in the middle and two smaller ones on the side is all you need.
Funkin Model Number
BUD FUN-KIN W-11.75″ H-11.75″ (#097)
GRANATA FUN-KIN W-15″ H-15″ (#026)
Children don’t like being pulled away from the show. As a nod to the parents, I included a 13 to 15 second intermission between each song to allow time for adults to whisk their kids away.
Other adjustments include:
- I added a loop to the video so that it would repeat (obviously)
- I added chapter markers to each song, so I could skip to a song if someone wanted to watch the song again, see a different song, or wanted to skip the intermission (I used a computer remote)
- I put string lights as a barrier to prevent kids from walking between the projector and the pumpkins
- I added a colorful disco party ball since kids liked dancing with the songs (incredible response)
- I modified the animation video file so the pumpkin faces are higher so I could put the projector lower (see screenshots below)
- I added a second screen (more on that below on “Phase 2″… again, not necessary)
That’s it! If any of this helped and you end up buying some animations from TheSingingPumpkin.com, kindly tell them that I (member “EH130“) sent you. I also enjoy comments and questions, so if you have any, please feel free to comment below or send me an email (email address at the end of this post).
PHASE 2 – Multi-Screen
OK, STOP! You do not need to do any of what’s below. Seriously, adults & kids are amazed enough at the pumpkins singing (phase 1, above) and if you’re looking for a WOW, that’s all you need to do. We did Phase 1 for years and we could have just stopped there! This PHASE 2 part is only for those who have asked me how I synchronized a movie screen behind the singing pumpkins.
Multi-Screen (complicated part)
This involves the original pumpkin show projector (as described above) PLUS another projector in full sync with the pumpkins singing. The secret… It’s fully synced because it’s one file. Take a look:
That is two movies, side-by-side in one video file. I know, nothing fancy there. All I did was simply find an affordable adapter that split a computer desktop in half. I then made the video full screen, plugged in the adapter and viola… the end result is two VGA outputs displaying each half of the video file.
Why do it this way?
If I kept it one file, I could keep the chapter markers so I could skip songs with my remote.
Why skip songs?
Because some kids came back and didn’t want to watch something they already saw. I just used my remote and the next song played (along with the synced background file).
It took a little work, but I was able to create a movie that was 2731 x 768 (it’s low res since I have a low res projector) that could handle both videos side by side. Here is an actual screenshot from the main video:
That translates to this:
Background Video Footage
I borrowed lots of cute video clips from the internet and put them into my own custom music videos to accompany the pumpkins as they sing.
I use Final Cut Pro. It allows for this aspect ratio and it works on my laptop. When I created the 2731 x 768 file, I simply arranged the final pumpkin movie to the left and the final background movie to the right. I also put a vertical black bar between the videos to prevent the bleed over.
I set the desktop to have the double-wide resolution (aspect ratio) and then played the video full-screen. The Matrox adapter then magically split the scene to the two projectors. It worked like a charm!
Kids all race to the house with candy on their mind, and then ZAP, the singing pumpkins stops them in their tracks. They just stare and can’t believe what they’re looking at. Parents literally have to pull their children away because they stare for too long. As parents are pulling, the kid’s eyes stay glued to the show! It’s definitely flattering.
If you decide to do the show, please let the folks at TheSingingPumpkin.com know that “EH130” sent you.
Feel free to email me at “truewalk” (at) “gmail” (.) “com” or leave a comment in the comment section below. Let me know if any of this helped!