Pumpkin Decorating Ideas
Around The Home
Are your pumpkin decorating ideas scary or sophisticated, creepy or classy? Whatever the case,
there is room for all. If you are having some difficulties coming up with new ideas for your own pumpkins, perhaps
some of the following suggestions will help.
I love Autumn and I love pumpkins. For me, Halloween and Autumn are two different occasions calling for
two different types of pumpkin decor. I often will put out plain, unaltered pumpkins to create
festive, classic, Fall displays on the front porch or flanking the front walkway. However as Halloween approaches,
the pumpkins often morph into something more sinister.
Be creative and use your pumpkins twice for two different functions. First as Autumn decor and then secondly, carved for a more
Halloween-worthy look. Since jack-o-lanterns have a relatively
short shelf-life once they are cut open and lit, consider doing them the week leading up to Halloween.
I often will carve my pumpkins a mere 3 days prior to Halloween and only light them for
those 3 days. I like the sudden impact surrounding the actual holiday.
Autumn Pumpkin Decorating Ideas
You can take a classy, sophisticated, seasonal approach when decorating with pumpkins.
- Mass various sized pumpkins together. Consider choosing pumpkins with different skin colors
for more interest or go for a color theme and choose white or green skinned pumpkins only for a unique approach.
- Tier pumpkins down the edges of your entry stairs. Place them down one or both sides for a classy, welcoming entrance.
- Create an Autumn vignette. Do you have an old wooden crate, halved wooden barrel or vintage wooden wagon? Place it on your front porch and fill it
with pumpkins and gourds for a festive, cornucopia-approach. Add some Indian corn and leaves for additional interest and color.
Be sure your chosen "container" can drain water if it's exposed to the elements.
- Create a pumpkin topiary. Do a Google search to see many different ways of building this look. In essence, you will
stack two or three pumpkins atop each other (gradually reducing them in size) within a decorative planter. You could even
stack them right on the porch floor and use a grapevine wreath as a base for the bottom-most pumpkin. Consider using
smaller grapevine wreathes between each pumpkin tier or spiral some grapevine artfully from the bottom tier to the top.
Add some colorful, fallen leaves into the grapevine. Spanish moss is another, organic item you could use between your pumpkins.
- Create pumpkin planters. Cut an opening in the top of your pumpkin and clean out the inside. Place a potted mum inside. Use different sized pumpkins to accommodate
different-sized, potted plants. Be sure to create a few drain holes in the bottom of the pumpkin. Place on a porch table or down the entry stairs.
- Elevate pumpkins at different heights such as on various cut lengths of logs or on tree stumps. Be creative with the items
you use to set your pumpkins upon.
In the above example, a dead tree trunk root was dug out of the ground and inverted. The pumpkins
rest in the crooks of the root structure. Use driftwood similarly.
We all know what the typical jack-o-lantern looks like and if you are like me, nostalgia seems
to take hold and keeps us doing what reminds us of our childhood. Typical jack-o-lanterns can be
scary enough of their own accord without much change. Have you ever seen them on very dark
properties out in the country? They seem to be floating in the middle of nowhere, creating a haunting
If you prefer the cliche jack-o-lantern (as I do), consider some of these quick pumpkin decorating ideas to create
a more unique look.
- Mass groups of them together for impact. One is creepy but an army of them in different sizes
will produce a more noticeable, eerie effect.
- Place them on cut tree trunks around your property. Have you split wood for winter? Set some pieces
vertically and place a jack-o-lantern upon it. Pieces cut at different heights would create neat
pedestals and more interest.
- Spear your pumpkin by driving it into a wooden stake that has been securely hammered into the ground.
Since you will no longer have a flat, bottom surface for placing a candle, consider using a flameless votive candle that you can rubber-band onto the stake within the pumpkin.
- Create a pumpkin totem-pole of sorts. Cut openings in the bottoms and tops of three or more pumpkins that have been carved.
Slide them over a wooden stake for support, placing the largest pumpkin at the base. Determine where flameless candles need to be attached
to the stake via rubberband and keep adding an additional pumpkin and candle. Leave the cap on the top-most pumpkin to finish it off.
Flameless candles should last for few days while constantly lit (the batteries are replaceable).
Of course there are many unique designs you can put onto your pumpkins rather than the typical
face. Silhouettes of haunted characters or scenes are popular pumpkin decorating ideas. Pumpkin carving kits are relatively
cheap and often come with patterns. Pattern books are great for the more experienced pumpkin carver.
You can also do some kid-friendly
themed pumpkins. Tear a page out of their coloring book of choice, tape the image over the pumpkin
and use a nail to poke holes into the pumpkin to create the outline which you will cut. You can use
a black sharpie marker or grease-pencil afterward to "connect the dots" so you can more easily see the design you will be cutting out.
In the instance above, instead of cutting out the nail-hole outline, you can fill the holes with colored Lite-Brite
pegs. Illuminate and you are done. Adding the pegs could be a way for younger children to safely help in the
pumpkin decorating process. Other safe, kid-friendly pumpkin decorating ideas could be painting the pumpkins with
non-toxic art paints and attaching fun items to the pumpkin in the manner of Mr. Potato Head. Egg crate eyes, pipe cleaner arms and cardboard
ears could easily be attached for a fun look.
Jack-O-Lanterns are placed upon stumps and other miscellaneous items around a country property to give them
height. They have an eerie floating quality at nighttime amongst the dark woodlands.
Random jack-o-lanterns are placed around an entry way and upon stone walls to welcome or deter visitors.
A Few Jack-O-Lantern Tips and Ideas:
- Cut an opening in the base of the pumpkin rather than cutting a top lid.
Poke a few nail
holes around the stem for ventilation if using actual candles.
- If you prefer a top lid, cut into the pumpkin with angled "V" cuts so the lid will not
fall through as it shrinks. Again, add vent holes to help with heat transfer when using actual candles.
- Tea lights are great option to votives as they burn and extinguish themselves in a few hours. Consider
using flameless candles to increase the longevity of your jack-o-lanterns.
- Apply a light coat of petroleum jelly around the exposed cuts of your jack-o-lanterns. This keeps moisture in
and harmful air out, increasing their longevity.
- Save your pumpkin seeds. Plant them so you have some free pumpkins next year or roast them
in the oven for a yummy, seasonal snack. All About Pumpkins
provides some helpful tips in both of these areas.
Pumpkin decorating ideas can get rather artful and fanciful. Use different tools to create surface marks in the pumpkin's outer
skin. Linoleum carving tools
are excellent for more intricate detailing.
Create interesting designs upon the pumpkin that match your home's decor, motifs and patterns. For an example of this
read my blog post on classy pumpkin ideas. While there,
feel free to share your own, personal pumpkin decorating ideas.
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