The autumn ritual of decorating for Halloween is becoming more elaborate as the holiday continues to attract adult revelers, so why not decorate your yard with a fun and sophisticated pumpkin chiminea? Sometimes trends cross paths, and Halloween decorating creatively converged with the Southwestern chiminea — an outdoor, clay fireplace, which is shaped like a pear and rests on an iron stand.
Now, as it happens, you can buy chimineas that look like jack o' lanterns. The neck of the chiminea is the stem of the pumpkin, which vents heat and helps oxygenate the fire. The pot-belly portion of the stove is the head of the jack o' lantern and is decorated with ribbing and facial expressions ranging from friendly to funny to ferocious. Wood is fed into each stove through a hole in the back of the jack o' lantern's head. Here are a few things to keep in mind when purchasing your own pumpkin chiminea!
One Texas blogger posted a picture of a veritable pumpkin patch of jack o' lantern chimineas seen at a farmer's market. She noted that they also could be found at the local supermarket. Online, the stoves are available from sources including discount vendors Nextag and Bizrate as well as artisan websites, such as Amigos Pottery. Prices tend to be moderate.
It is important to insulate the base of a chiminea's bowl with sand or pea gravel so fire doesn't directly touch the clay. Place two bricks on top of the sand to act as a wood grate. Never use lighting fluid, because the clay will absorb it. Don't touch the outside of the chiminea while in use. Also, don't extinguish the fire with water or the chiminea will crack. If winters are cold, consider storing your chiminea in the garage. Some people cook in their chimineas, such as smoking fish. But watch out for felines who probably wouldn't be scared off by a smiling pumpkin fireplace!