Melon cat can't find a melon
October 29, 2010 4:16 PM   Subscribe

I need to make a helmet out of a pumpkin. Thoughts?

This is what I'm going to be for Halloween! Because of that, I need a melon hat. Watermelons are out of season, unfortunately, so that's a no go.

The best I could find was a white pumpkin. I intend to somehow make it green tomorrow. My procedure for creating the pumpkin helmet is similar to this guy's watermelon helmet. (Warning, ugly site. Scroll down.)

My questions are as follows:

1.) Will the pumpkin work as well as a watermelon? Or is there fruit vs. gourde problems I should be aware of?

2.) If I give my pumpkin helmet appx. 14 hours to dry, would that be enough so that I don't spend all Halloween night covered in pumpkin slime?

3.) On making it green- help! Spray paint? Brush and non-water-based paint? I would also prefer to not be covered in green paint by the end of the night.

Thanks for your thoughts!
posted by functionequalsform to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (16 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Brush and cheap acrylic paint will work fine. I've painted many a pumpkin with it.
posted by kthxbi at 4:22 PM on October 29, 2010

1: yes it will work the same.
2. no. It will start rotting at that point, unless you are drying it out, so yes.
3. acrylic paint like you get at Hobby Lobby etc.

That being said: I would seriously consider getting a *FAKE* pumpkin that they make for carving and use that. More expensive/size issues, but no rotting mess.

You could also go the route of just getting a sports helmet-thing (looks like an old-fashioned football helmet) and paint that with some spray paint and then splatter it with a secondary color.
posted by Old'n'Busted at 4:25 PM on October 29, 2010

I don't have suggestions, aside from seconding old'n'busted's ideas, but wanted to chime in and say that this is an awesome idea. Please tell me that also, your face will look like that cat.
posted by shortskirtlongjacket at 4:27 PM on October 29, 2010

Best answer: You're going to spend Halloween night covered in pumpkin slime and everything is going to smell like raw pumpkin. You could force dry it in the oven or put near a heater, but a dry pumpkin is a shriveled pumpkin. You don't want it dry. Wrapping your head in protective plastic is uncomfortable, won't stop pumpkin seepage, and will spoil the look.

And it will still look like a pumpkin on your head, not a lime.

If you want to go as Limecat this badly I'd use a basketball painted green instead.
posted by Ookseer at 4:28 PM on October 29, 2010 [1 favorite]

Best answer: 1) There are some pumpkins that come in green, though darker and less shiny than watermelons. Upside: the paint won't rub off. Downside: they're more expensive than plain orange pumpkins, but usually a similar price to white pumpkins. I'm assuming these exist beyond California.

2) Head-sized pumpkins are HEAVY. Find one that is closest to a helmet size for your head, and if there are a few of that size, find the lightest. You'll be cutting some parts out, but not enough to really decrease the weight by much. Also remember that pumpkin walls aren't thin, and shouldn't be shaved too thin, or they might not hold up to prolonged wearing.

3) Set it in the sun (or at least an open area) to allow it to dry. If it's not in the shade all day, 14 hours should be plenty of time. In a pinch, you can probably wipe the inside out to a state of being mildly damp soon after cutting it, as the walls of the pumpkin aren't slimy, only the entrails.

4) Because the pumpkin will be heavy, use some old towels or clothes that can get a bit pumpkiny in color and scent. Use this to pad the top of your head. Did I mention that they're heavy. Spend some time with it on before the event, to see how it sits on your head, and think of ways to make it less annoying.

I speak from experience. I wore a giant pumpkin on my head, to be the headless horseman back in high school. The pumpkin sat heavily on my head or shoulders, and neither was a lot of fun for a long time, and it was tricky to see out. Your design will be better for visibility,

On preview, if you want to be Lime Cat, I'll second Ookseer's idea of using a green basketball. One problem - they deflate when empty, so you'll need to make it hold a round shape. Coat hangers and tape or hot glue could be your friend. But if you're OK with being a seasonally appropriate Lime Cat, a fake pumpkin might be a better idea. Lighter, more durable even when cut, and it won't make things damp and pumpkiny.
posted by filthy light thief at 4:38 PM on October 29, 2010

Do you have a Michael's craft store nearby? It might have Celebrate It Craft Pumpkins in stock. Maybe you could carve one?
posted by MonkeyToes at 4:40 PM on October 29, 2010

Response by poster: Uh-oh, you guys, this ain't workin'.

Basketball's a pretty great idea!
posted by functionequalsform at 4:44 PM on October 29, 2010 [1 favorite]

just a minor thing - pumpkins are squash, not gourds. The difference is that gourds can be dried completely and retain their shape, while pumpkins rot or wilt.

There are some gourds that look a little like pumpkins, though, and a lot that are spheres. I don't know where you could buy dried gourds, though.
posted by wayland at 4:45 PM on October 29, 2010

Melon kitty's hat is actually made out of a pummelo, which is in season right now. Unfortunately, unless your head is very tiny it's not going to work for you.

You reeeeally don't want to wear food on your head. If you do decide to go with a pumpkin, I would spray the inside down thoroughly with hairspray or some kind of spray paint sealant so it doesn't get totally disgusting.
posted by phunniemee at 4:47 PM on October 29, 2010 [1 favorite]

Paper mache is out, then? Light. Easy. (Use a balloon as a mold, since you're in a rush, and blow dry the layers.) Cheap. Very paint-able.
posted by small_ruminant at 4:54 PM on October 29, 2010 [1 favorite]

This might work better:

You could use dots of Elmer's glue on the surface (once the rest is dried) to make a nubbly texture.
posted by galadriel at 5:48 PM on October 29, 2010

Go to a craft store and buy an appropriate fake pumpkin there. You are going to be one unhappy puppy if you use a real gourd. Plus, your "helmet" will be re-usable in the future.
posted by arnicae at 5:55 PM on October 29, 2010

Paper mache is out, then? Light. Easy. (Use a balloon as a mold, since you're in a rush, and blow dry the layers.) Cheap. Very paint-able.

I recommend this. If you mix white glue and water (rather than the traditional flour and water paste), it will dry faster. If you're feeling extra ambitious, you could also create a simple wire armature and layer the newspaper over that, which will give it more weight and durability. (Plus, you can make sure the armature fits your head before you make it.)
posted by lucysparrow at 6:28 PM on October 29, 2010

So... how'd it turn out?
posted by small_ruminant at 10:40 AM on November 1, 2010

Response by poster: Melon-lime-pumpkin-whatever cat failed so hard.

I was a default ballerina. I'M PRETTY DAMMIT.

posted by functionequalsform at 9:01 AM on November 2, 2010

There's always next year... Now you totally have to go to Michaels and get a foam pumpkin on clearance!
posted by MonkeyToes at 2:12 PM on November 2, 2010

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