Do you remember this Shrunken Apple Head kit from the '70s? I sure do... it was one of the coolest craftsy things my mom had me and my sister do together in the dinette (actually we always called it the Booth.... dinette is such a dainty word!). I honestly don't remember if she bought the kit (but that box sure does bring back memories.... we either had it or I spent a long time looking at it in the store) but I remember carving a face into a big juicy apple and watching that sucker slowly shrivel and shrink and turn all gnarly and brown! It turned out beautifully... or should I say uglily. I just jammed some hemp cord in for hair that I had untwisted. That thing lasted for... well geeze, I think I still have it somewhere actually! It finally went from brown to black though, and doesn't look as good as it used to. It served as the inspiration for my witch puppet head:
I've tried a few more times to make apple heads, but wasn't succesful for various reasons... usually because I just started too damn late! It's just no good if it isn't done by Halloween dammit! So this year I'm starting now. Another problem I had once was with mold. I remember the poor little head turned all fuzzy and white and collapsed in on itself before it was dried out. That one was sitting in a dish on top of the refrigerator where I hoped the warmth would hep it dry... this time it hangs!
Here's my victim. I'll set to work with various cutting implements and show what I've got tomorrow. I hope some of my cohorts decide to do the same and we can compare heads come the witching season!
Here's a site with directions for making them - not that it's very difficult, but it's sometimes nice to see a step by step tutorial, plus there's a formula for a brew to soak them in if you want the apple not to turn browm. Personally I prefer brown. If you do a web search, there are lots of other sites showing slightly different techniques, and some list different formulas to soak in. Specifically, some use pure lemon juice and salt, with no water.
You can make these into dolls, or even stopmo puppets if you want. Voltaire made shrunken apple heads for his skeleton puppets for his Halloween spot on the Sci-Fi Channel.
Here's my carved monstrosity, ready for drying!