Toronto is a city of artists and designers. It's time for new creative ways to decorate pumpkins for Halloween. Even a simple sticker with solar-powered LEDs in the shape of a Jack O Lantern face would save a pumpkin and potentially put thousands of IUs of vitamin A into your diet. A $3 investment to buy such a LED sticker could be reused to potentially save 150 lbs of food waste over one person's lifetime.
The idea is to display a decorative pumpkin on your porch without cutting it or burning a candle inside, both which cause the flesh to degrade as a food product. Would you cut open an apple and leave it out for a few days then eat it? No. Same goes for a pumpkin. Once it's cut, it's compromised and the best properties of the fleshy fruit begin to degrade. Cut pumpkins can last 24 hours and still be usable as food. After that, it starts leaking liquid out and starts to really decompose, making it nearly useless as a food item.
Candles are another issue. Burning anything makes toxins, even if it's a tealight candle in a pumpkin. The smoke gets on the inside flesh of the pumpkin, and it may taste slightly like candle smoke. The longer the candle burns inside the pumpkin, the less quality the exposed flesh will have.
We can minimize the amount of time a pumpkin is cut or exposed to a candle, but the best approach would be to avoid it all together.
One could argue that pumpkins are naturally decorative, and the endless variations in colours, textures, shapes and patterns makes each one uniquely beautiful. They often taste good, too, much different than orange Jack-O-lantern types.
Those familiar with Raspberry pi, Arduino, Liliypad, Adafruit or Makey Makey creative computing have a headstart to make LED Lanterns for a sustainable future.
It may look something like what is in this video.