Creative Pumpkin Ideas for Halloween
It's that time of year again! Time to decide how to decorate your fall pumpkins. We've gathered 15 project ideas and tips that will make your pumpkin the best on the block!
1 / 15Family Handyman
Pumpkin Carving with Power Tools
Want to have some fun with your power tools this Halloween? Put them to use carving pumpkins! You can create captivating jack-o-lanterns in record time with your trusty power tools. Once you look around your garage or workshop, you'll find all kinds of creative ways to expedite pumpkin carving and be the envy of every house on the block. Click here to learn more about how to use your jigsaw, drywall saw, hole saw, drill and rotary tool to carve pumpkins this Halloween.
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Creative Pumpkin Ideas: HOOT Halloween
With big eyes and mournful cries, owls make the perfect spooky pumpkin motif. There is no need for messy carving with these wise old owls dressed in vintage newsprint feathers. What You’ll Need:
- Scrapbook paper in assorted colors
- Color copies of yellowed book pages and newspaper
- Scrapbook scissors with specialty edges
- Scalloped circle punch
- Double-stick tape
- Straight pins
- White pumpkins
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Glam up a pumpkin with some tape and a can of spray paint to make a chevron pattern on your pumpkin. Here's what you'll need:
- Painters tape
- Spray paint
- Permanent marker
- Old newspapers
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Creative Pumpkin Ideas: Orange Crush
This mottled-orange pumpkin glows with character. Download the template from birdsandblooms.com/owl-pumpkin and welcome your trick-or-treaters with a friendly feathered face. Before you start carving up this owl-o-lantern, make sure you cut around the stem, remove the top, and scoop out all the ooey gooey gourd flesh and seeds. Learn how to carve your pumpkin here. This project originally appeared in Country Woman Magazine. Click to subscribe here.
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Creative Pumpkin Ideas: Creepy Cottage
This miniature scene is big on frightful fun and it's easy to create! What You’ll Need:
- Ceramic house
- Black matte spray paint
- Acrylic paints
- Hollow carvable foam pumpkin
- Battery-operated mini LED light string
- Fairy garden bench
- Spice jar lids, optional
- Glue gun
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Creative Pumpkin Ideas: Puttin’ on the Glitz
Too often, the humble pumpkin gets taken for granted. We suggest giving pumpkins unexpected shine with a dusting of fine glitter. On a mantel or your Thanksgiving table, they’ll sparkle in sunlight and glisten magically in candlelight, in any colors you choose. Here's what you'll need:
- Pumpkin (real or artificial)
- Medium-size sponge brush
- Tacky glue
- Fine glitter in choice of color
- Paper plate
7 / 15Country Woman
Highlight autumn’s freshest hues on white or pale green pumpkins. What You’ll Need:
- Fresh or thin silk leaves (see Note)
- Decoupage glue
- Sponge applicators
- Small straight pins (optional)
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Brighten up your pumpkin with a bouquet of colorful blooms. Make your carved pumpkin cheerier by tucking an autumn bouquet into a vase that fits snugly inside the shell. Arrange flowers to hide the rim of the vase. Plus: Late Summer Container Plants
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Grandpa’s country trick makes picking pumpkins an extra-special family tradition. "Saturdays are always days for our family to visit Grandma and Grandpa Meyers’ farm. There are tractors to sit on and fields to check, and around Father’s Day weekend we plant pumpkins. The kids get a wagon ride, and then they help out by planting seeds or stepping on the ground after the seeds are covered. When the pumpkins are green and moderately sized, Grandpa pulls out his pocketknife and carves each grandkid’s name in a pumpkin. He cuts only deep enough to pierce the hard rind. The large leaves that grow along the vine shouldn’t be disturbed, so it can be quite challenging to see the pumpkin well enough to carve. The names grow bigger as the pumpkins grow. The first time Grandpa did this was for Lacey, the oldest, when she was about 3 years old. He asked Lacey what was on that pumpkin, and her face lit up with a huge smile. The kids love having their very own, unmistakably special pumpkins." - Jessica Meyers Click here to learn how to grow pumpkins. This project originally appeared in Country Woman Magazine. Click to subscribe here.
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Pumpkin Vegetable Tray
Hosting a Halloween party or fall get together? We've got the perfect idea for you! Use a pumpkin and some vegetables on skewers to make a spectacular center piece. All you have to do is hollow out your pumpkin like you normally would when carving it, ad some foam to the inside and place your vegetable skewer sticks artfully inside. Want to learn how to grow your own vegetable garden? Click here to learn more.
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Pumpkin Tape Tip
We've got a bright idea! Try varying widths of painter’s tape to create simple freestyle designs, such as thick vertical stripes or a crisscross pattern. Or tape off whole sections of the pumpkin and paint in bold colors for a contemporary look. Plus: Make Your Own Spray Paint Booth This project originally appeared in Country Woman Magazine. Click to subscribe here.
12 / 15Family Handyman
Tracing Paper Makes Carving Pumpkins Easy
Carbon tracing paper is available at most office supply stores or online. To use carbon tracing paper, simply trace your pattern on top of a sheet with a pencil. Anywhere pressure is applied, the backing rubs off on the pumpkin. (Tracing paper is also useful for transferring patterns onto wood.) Gently remove your pattern and tracing paper. The result is clear lines you can follow for cutting out the form of your drawing. Full cuts through the pumpkin allow out bright light, where just scraping the pumpkin’s skin will emit a softer glow.
13 / 15Family Handyman
Make Your Pumpkin Carving Last
Keep your pumpkin in mint condition for a least two weeks by doing these simple steps when carving.
- Before picking your pumpkin, inspect it for blemishes and indents that could invite rot, mold, or fruit flies. Pick a firm pumpkin with even coloring.
- Clean your pumpkin with water to get rid of dirt and pests. Cut a hole at the top of your pumpkin and scrape out all of its slimy guts. This step is crucial: The drier the interior, the slower your pumpkin will decompose. Before carving the face of your pumpkin, rinse it again using peppermint dish soap and water. The peppermint will act as a mild anti-fungal for your pumpkin’s newly exposed interior.
- Once you’ve finished carving, soak your pumpkin in a bleach solution. This will act as an antimicrobial and keep the design on your pumpkin looking firm and fresh. Simply mix three teaspoons regular bleach into three gallons of water. Immerse the pumpkin for one hour and air dry upside down for three hours (this will allow excess bleach to drip out).
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Host a Pumpkin Carving Party
Here are a few helpful tips for hosting a pumpkin-carving party of your own:
- Pick a date near Halloween to keep jack-o’-lanterns looking sharp for the big night.
- Got kids? Start the carving in the afternoon, and give them paint sets, markers and stickers to decorate their pumpkins.
- Make sure guests know how to use the tools properly. Show them, or read instructions aloud.
- Carving is messy! Cover work surfaces with newspapers or a vinyl tablecloth.
- Keep the menu simple. Organize a potluck, or serve finger food and snacks instead of a meal.
- Play Halloween-themed songs and burn pumpkin-pie-scented candles.
- Just for fun, take a vote to determine the scariest, silliest and most artistic jack-o’-lanterns.
- Fire up the pumpkins, using votives. Be sure to take a group photo for your Halloween scrapbook.
15 / 15Family Handyman
Grow the Plumpest Pumpkin
You might not be able to grow a pumpkin the size of Cinderella’s coach—but with a bit of custom care, you can grow a monster. Pumpkins take three or four months to mature, so if Halloween is your target date, plant your seeds in July. Follow these steps:
- Purchase seeds developed to grow big pumpkins; most nurseries and mail-order sources have them.
- Dig a hole the size of a bushel basket and dump in compost. Cover the area with 4 to 6-in. layer of black dirt.
- Plant three seeds about 1 in. deep. After the seeds sprout a few leaves, thin to the single healthiest plant.
- When three pumpkins begin to develop, remove any additional female flowers—the ones with the pumpkin shaped bulge immediately behind them.
- When the three pumpkins are softball-sized, thin to just one pumpkin.
- Keep the plant weeded, well watered and fertilized with a high-phosphorus fertilizer.
- Harvest your pumpkin before the first frost, leaving the stem attached. Place it in a warm room for a week, then store it in a cool place until you’re ready to carve it.
Originally Published: October 17, 2019