Pumpkin with LED lights meant to protect trick-or-treaters

Soo Clinton was driving to her northwest home on Halloween night in 2011 when the unthinkable happened.

“Out of the blue, a kid jumped right out in front of me,” she said. “I thought I hit him. I freaked out and got out (to check on him), and he ran off. I was like, ‘Are you OK?,’ and he was like, ‘Yeah.’ But it freaked me out for days.”

Clinton had trouble sleeping, especially after reading of youngsters getting hit, even killed, on Halloween. It weighed on her so much that she decided to do something to ensure the safety of children who are out and about on the holiday.

She and her partner, Scott Kavula, decided to make a trick-or-treat pumpkin that lit up.

“Until we did the market research, we never realized how prevalent this is,” Kavula said of youngsters getting hit by motorists while trick-or-treating. “ … I came across individuals who said, ‘This is why I don’t even drive on Halloween night.’ ”

Just in time for this year’s holiday, they’ve unveiled the Twinkle Treat Basket. Motion sensors and vibration activate the lights and the audio device.

To come up with their product, they scoured after-holiday sales, snatched up plastic pumpkins with handles and focused on LED products and toys with sound. They took them apart and studied how they were made.

Through trial and error and using standard household tools at their kitchen table, they rigged LED lights into the body of a common candy carrier and added a battery system.

Kavula had worked at an electronics store in the past, which gave him a basis for how to make the product work. Getting the hand-activation sensor and lights to work in concert with each other proved a dilemma, as did perfecting the double wall design to prevent candy from getting into the operational part of the basket.

They agreed they wanted to build something nontoxic, so they chose to have the basket produced from recyclable plastic, free of BPA and lead. They had the Twinkle Treat Basket tested in an approved Consumer Product Safety Commission laboratory.

Over months of trial and error, they tweaked the Twinkle Treat Basket. The biggest hurdle was finding a manufacturer that understood their vision and could build something of quality, which led them to choosing one in Korea. Then they secured a supply line, distribution and marketing.

Three years later, the final Twinkle Treat Basket product is being unveiled. It can hold 4 quarts of candy, and it sells for $34.99 online, with free shipping available. The baskets also are being sold at the pumpkin patch at Boca Park.

“It’s taken us from not knowing anything about Halloween buckets to having something in front of you, about to be released,” Kavula said.

For more information on the Twinkle Treat Basket, visit twinkletreatbasket.com.

Contact Summerlin Area View reporter Jan Hogan at jhogan@viewnews.com or 702-387-2949.

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