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How To Make Shrunken Apple Heads This Halloween

Updated: Oct 25, 2022

Jack O Lanterns have been a common staple for so long, maybe you want to change it up a bit? Instead of carving into a pumpkin or gourd this year, why not try your hand at some spooky carved APPLES?! Carving an apple and letting them dry can create a different kind of spooky as they turn into small shrunken heads.

Step 1: Things That You Will Need:

What You'll Need:

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  1. Lemons

  2. Salt

  3. Apples

  4. A Pairing Knife or Peeler

  5. Pen

  6. String

When choosing apples, try and pick a type that has a firmer flesh, like granny smith’s. It can make getting some of the smaller details in, a lot easier than the softer flesh counter parts. But in a bind, any of them will work!

Step 2: Creating Your Spooky Head

Carving the Apples, Take One

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The very first thing you are going to want to do is peel your apple! Peeling the apple helps with it’s drying process, and will create the wilted, mummified skin look that you’re going for.

You then want to careful carve out some facial features onto your apple. The more exaggerated, the better! This is so when they begin to dry and shrivel up, you will still be able to see the features, since everything gets smaller as it shrinks.

You can then choose to leave the apple rounded and as-is, or you can try your hand at sculpting the back and top-sides to create a skull like shape.

Step 3: Getting Ready For Drying

Treat the Apples With Salt and Lemon

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Now, on to preparation! The easiest method is the simplest. You just pat them dry with a paper towel and leave them!

Another OPTIONAL method of preparing your apples, is by taking a lemon slice lightly dipped in salt, and then running it along the apple. Be sure to get into any of the spaces you’ve created, as well as the outer side. Make sure to squeeze the lemon a little as you go. This will also help with the apple browning, but this may be something you are going for. Choose what works best for you!

Step 4: Drying Your Spooky Apple Heads

Drying Your Apple Heads

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Drying Your Apple Heads

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There are a few methods you can use to dry your new spooky apple heads! You can either insert a skewer into the bottom to create “heads on spikes” , tie string to the stems and hang, or let them sit out on a cooling rack (which allows all sides to get air to help with the drying).

You can also speed up the drying process by baking them in your oven for awhile! If you bake your apples at 150F for a few hours (3-4) it will definitely speed things along! If you decide to go this route, be sure to place them on top of parchment paper on a tray on the top rack.

Another method to dry them out would be a food dehydrator! This can take a little bit longer, but it can have some really good results!

Please note that if you live in a damp climate, leaving out to dry may take longer than expected.

You will know when your shrunken heads are done when they have decreased significantly in size, and are dry to the touch.

Step 5: Got Mold?

What to Do If You Find Mold

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If you find that you are getting some mold growing inside the eye sockets etc, you can easily clean them up by gently using a q-tip and wiping it away, and any excess. Afterwards, stick them in your oven again to help them along.

But then again, what could be creepier, and any more Halloween, than a little bit of mold.

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