Pumpkin Decorating Ideas


Whether you celebrate the autumnal equinox, the fall harvest, or Halloween, the noble pumpkin is usually in your decorations somewhere. Rather than just drop a pumpkin on the ground next to your front porch, why not get a little more creative this year? Let out your crafty, artsy, creative side and go wild. Here are some fun pumpkin decorating ideas to get you ramped up and ready for this fall season!

The Painted Pumpkin

There are two ways to go about this. Either you paint a scene or face on a real pumpkin, or you paint a scene or face on a fake pumpkin. Craft pumpkins are made of polyvinyl, yet they look so real that only touching them reveals that they are fake. The craft pumpkins can be found and purchased from your local arts and crafts stores, and the particularly fun part is that they even come in a multitude of color choices, other than yellow, white, and orange.

Painting Faces
Some people paint faces on them, encouraging the kids to get in on the fun. This is far safer than trying to cut a pumpkin face or using an elaborate pumpkin carving kit with sharp instruments and unsteady little hands. The kids each paint their own jack-o-lantern face on the pumpkins, and then put the pumpkins on display. If you choose to use craft/fake pumpkins, then you can display them indoors without worrying about the pumpkins rotting or smelling.

Painting Spooky or Fall-Related Scenes
Another option is to paint a spooky scene all the way around the pumpkin. This eliminates any need to carve the pumpkin at all, which means that none of its guts are exposed to heat or air. The scene is whatever you want it to be.

If you are particularly good at art, then you can make the scene as elaborate as you like. If you are not gifted in painting, paint something more simple like broomsticks, spiders and spiders’ webs, or fall leaves in different colors. If you want to make it really easy on yourself, gather some fall leaves right from outside, dip them in poster paint, and press them onto the pumpkin’s outer shell! Again, you can do this with either a real or a fake/craft pumpkin.

Pumpkin People

Pumpkins are often just the right size and shape for creating “heads.” Some people use pumpkins to create fall scarecrows that sit in their yards or on their porches. Others might create an entire family of “pumpkin-head people” to decorate their lawns. If you get really creative, you can recreate the scene of the headless horseman throwing his flaming pumpkin head at Ichabod Crane! You will need enough of the right sized pumpkins to carry out your design and decorating plans, plus some metal garden stakes to help support the pumpkin “heads” when constructing your pumpkin-headed people or fictional characters.

Pumpkin Lights

Buy several small “baby” pumpkins. These are those tiny little pumpkins with very little guts that still remind you of pumpkins without reminding you of squash.

1. Carve out a hole in the bottom of each of these little pumpkins, just big enough to insert an LED holiday light.
2. Then cut the stem hole, carve out the little pumpkin, scraping the interior flesh as thin as you can get it without puncturing a hole in the pumpkin.
3. Use vegetable graters of different sizes and patterns to create cuts in the exterior surfaces of these pumpkins.
4. Secure the lights from the light string inside each pumpkin with duct tape. Orange or black works best.
5. Set your pumpkin lights on shelves, porch steps, or porch railings. If you want to dangle the pumpkin lights, make sure you secure the pumpkins to the light string well so that they do not fall off or drag the light string downward. Craft wire and eye hooks work well for this.

Pumpkin Candle Holders and Pumpkin Votives

If you make the candle holders, you only need to carve the right-sized hole in the tops of the pumpkins for long-stemmed or short and chunky candles. Wrap a few fake fall leaves around the bases of the candles on the tops of the pumpkins, and place these candle holders on your dining table.

If you make the votives, hollow out little pumpkins, create fanciful carvings or scenes in the pumpkins for the votive lights to shine through, and then place the votives where you like. They lend a nice glow to a mantel or as a centerpiece on tables.

Pumpkin Napkin Rings

Maybe you are planning a fall festival dinner party. If that is the case, buy an orange craft pumpkin.
1. Trace an image of a round pumpkin on one side of the craft pumpkin as many times as it will fit. The image should not be bigger than an inch to an inch and a half across.
2. On the opposite side of the craft pumpkin, create strips that cut horizontally over the surface of the craft pumpkin.
3. Cut all of these out using a sharp utility or craft knife.
4. Hot glue the ends of each strip to its own end, forming a loop. This forms the ring of the napkin holder.
5. Hot glue one of the pumpkin shapes to the center of each looped strip. Use glitter or paint, if you would like, to create a stem and decorate the pumpkin shapes.

Be sure each napkin ring slides over a folded napkin easily, and then allow the rings to dry and set their shape before use. DO NOT attempt to use real pumpkins for this craft, as it simply will not work! It will soil your napkins, be impossible for pumpkin rinds to form rings, and smell unpleasant after a couple of days! The craft pumpkin makes nice napkin rings that you can use again and again every fall.

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