There's a multitude of ways to draw flares. But let's explore the Flare Tool a bit more. After all, it's been sitting there occupying primary tool space in the Toolbox for years; might as well use it in the rare times you have occasion for it. To get a sense of the behavior, try the following exercise.
(The following assumes a CMYK document.):
Like so many Illustrator features, tweaking the settings in the Flare Tool's stupid modal dialog is excruciatingly tedious. Before clicking to create the Flare you are going to adjust, go to the View menu and Hide Edges. Turn on the Preview checkbox in the dialog. Now you'll be able to tell what your adjustments are making are doing, without Illustrator's annoying highlighting of every path in a selected Group. (Absolutely hideous interface. I despise this program!)
Once you finallyget a Flare that you find useful, drag it and drop it into the Symbols Palette. Then save the Symbol Library somewhere for safe keeping, naming it UsefulFlares. Next time you work with Flares, load the library, even if you need a different Flare. When you manage to create another Flare you find useful, make it a Symbol, and export the Symbol Library again. (Do the same kind of thing with Brushes.)
Flares stored as Symbols, of course, can also be colorized somewhat by using the Symbol Stainer. That's a quick way to add a little color variance to tiny flares used as stars. But it's rather unpredictable due to the Screen Opacity Mode.
Don't be afraid to use two different Flares together. Store them together in the same Symbol.
The highlights of the screw threads on the bulbs are just an ArtBrush made from an expanded radial black-to-white grad, applied off-center to a circle. The ArtBrush is frequently useful for specular lights on cylindrical surfaces. The Brush's colorization mode is set to Hue Shift. (When expanding the grad, remember: There's no need to go nuts with the number of steps. 10 is usually a gracious plenty.) Each screw thread is just a single curved path with two Strokes: A thick black stroke with rounded end caps and an added stroke for the highlight brush.
Great thread and explanation. I love learning new things as the flare tool is one I don't use in my daily work!