Beyond the Traditional Jack-O-Lantern
The good news is there are many ways to get creative with your fall décor while including one, two or more pumpkins, squash and gourds.
A Halloween entryway looks most festive with a jack-o’-lantern sporting a scary or monstrous face but if that doesn’t suit you try a tower of pumpkins stacked in an urn starting with the largest and ending with the smallest. Varying color will help add interest to the display and because the flesh has not been carved, the display will last longer.
If tradition is what you gravitate to, you can still line your porch steps with friendly or slightly scary faces, without the effort of cutting and scooping. Pumpkins and gourds can be decorated with everyday items to create a festive design or face. Wash the flesh thoroughly and once the surface is clean you can paint a design with craft paint, glue on buttons and bows and even adhere stickers or stencils or create a special message.
The easiest no-carve idea is to gather varieties in different colors and shapes to create the ambiance you wish to achieve. A more dramatic theme might call for a smattering of pumpkins in black and white while a more whimsical look will be achieved with more abstract shaped squash and gourds of varying sizes.
And if carving is in the cards this fall, then prepare to get even more creative because it’s now been taken to the extreme - and triangle eyes and jagged teeth just won’t cut it anymore. Try changing your way of thinking and explore a wide variety of implements beyond the knife drawer to help you with your project. A melon baller, power drill or cookie cutter will come in handy. And to help those of us who may be challenged when it comes to creativity, remember there is plenty of help online with printable templates, designs and ideas.
Lighting has also taken on a new and safer twist. Traditionalist may still use candles to light a festive path but many new designs call for the use of battery-operated lights. A popular choice this year is tiny white lights, each contained in its own vessel and when poked through the pumpkin’s flesh create a polka-dot effect. With several of these decorated beauties grouped together, the lighting is sure to be inviting to younger trick-or-treaters.
Whether you are going for the tried and true Halloween décor or something that will take you from early fall through Thanksgiving, a variety of pumpkins and gourds will surely make a memorable display.
These cookie-cutter pumpkins are anything but run-of-the-mill. They take no time to make and will add a gorgeous glow to your porch or walk. Start by selecting a theme, such as leaves, ghosts, or spiders. Because pumpkins are pretty tough cookies, look for durable cutters made of thick stainless steel. Smaller ones work best, as larger designs tend to lose their shape more easily. Preparing the pumpkins is easy as pie. Cut a hole in the bottom instead of the top, and clean out the insides. Place a cookie cutter on the pumpkin. Gently tap the cutter with a rubber mallet until it pushes through the skin. Repeat until you complete your desired design. Then simply place each pumpkin over a small candle, and enjoy the ghoulish glow.
A passel of pumpkins provides the backdrop for a quaint village scene. Begin by carving a hole in the bottom of each pumpkin, scoop out the pulp, and return the cut pieces. Draw a variety of house templates. Resize on a copier, scaling the images to fit your pumpkins. Cut out houses to make stencils and affix to pumpkins with masking tape. Trace on the designs with a felt-tip pen. Remove stencils, then carefully carve along the drawn lines of the houses’ windows with an X-Acto knife. Fill in the designs using a fine-tip brush and black flat acrylic paint; let dry. Affix a battery-operated votive candle in the base of each pumpkin with adhesive putty.
Pumpkins in disguise
This way of decorating couldn’t be any easier—and the resulting pumpkins have a cool, vintage vibe if decorated with masks of yesteryear.