8×8 LED Arrays Make for one Creepy Animated Pumpkin

[Michal Janyst] wrote in to tell us about a little project he made for his nephew in preparation for Halloween – a jack-o-lantern with facial expressions.

Pumpkin Eyes uses two MAX7219 LED arrays, an Arduino nano, and a USB power supply. Yeah, it’s pretty simple — but after watching the video you’ll probably want to make one too. It’s just so cute! Or creepy. We can’t decide. He’s also thrown up the code on GitHub for those interested.

Of course, if you want a bit more of an advanced project you could make a Tetris jack-o-lantern, featuring a whopping 8×16 array of LEDs embedded directly into the pumpkin… or if you’re a Halloween purist and believe electronics have no place in a pumpkin, the least you could do is make your jack-o-lantern breath fire.

It’s pretty simple, but extremely effective — so if you’re looking for some last-minute decoration ideas, this might be it!

14 thoughts on “8×8 LED Arrays Make for one Creepy Animated Pumpkin

    1. I agree – also why keep the eyes round if you’re not going to have those pixels outside the pumpkin (you paid for `em….use `em)? Other things like cat pupils can be done with this, too.

      1. *Face palm* He obviously bought a square led board and is not using those pixels to keep the eyes round. Why would he use them just cause they are there? That would make the eyes squared.

  1. Doesn’t really seem creepy to me, but it is cool enough that I’d like to do something along the same lines.

    What would be creepier to me is some sort of sensor that would let the eyes follow somebody. Maybe a low resolution computer vision setup that would let the eyes just “see” and follow the “center of mass” when there’s more than one person in frame.

    I’m left wondering if inexpensive backlit LCD’s with the backlight removed would transmit enough light from the candle or other interior light source to be effective. Maybe next year…

  2. This inspired me, the led panels are $2 each and turned up in a couple of days. Couple that with an Arduino I had laying around and in 10 Minutes we were up and running. The code was clean documented and easy to modify to fit our needs. Including making the pupils bigger or eyes less scary.

    My props to Michal for a simple yet fun project my kids were really into.

  3. Loved this so much, I did my own. I’ve added a “sleep” eye pattern, connected the Arduino to a sonar sensor, and trough USB to a raspberry pi (witch has a speaker connected).
    The pumpkin is normally asleep, and when someone comes close to the sensor, it awakens and threatens the person with a terrifying sound :)

  4. The parts for mine arrived after October 30 so made up a couple of pairs which are currently peering out of our xmas tree. Thanks Michal. These are really fun.

    Looking forward to adding eyes to a few props for something scary next October, or even just to have them looking out our darkened house windows.

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