Whimsical dots create a two-tone or multicolor design with season-long appeal. How To: Use a plunger-type apple corer to punch out circles from an assortment of pumpkins and winter squash. Tapping the plunger with a rubber mallet helps push the corer through tough pumpkin shells. Then re-insert the circles in contrasting-color pumpkins. Mix and match the circles from different pumpkins to create polka-dot patterns, or discard circles to let light glow through your design.
Display your favorite fall foliage colors with simple decoupage. Real leaves applied to a white pumpkin set a sophisticated scene. How To: set leaves between paper towels and flatten them under a book for at least five days. Then brush decoupage glue on a white pumpkin. Arrange the leaves on the pumpkin’s surface. Cut small slits along the edges of the leaves as you go, so they’ll fit the pumpkin’s contours. To finish, coat the decorated surface in decoupage glue.
Combine two fall favorites by turning a pumpkin into a bursting-with-mums flower arrangement. How To: begin carving as you would with a jack-o-lantern. Carefully cut a lid (keep the stem!) and remove the seeds and pulp. Using a drill or nail, poke small holes around the shell, just wide enough to insert flower stems. Select mums in oranges, reds and gold. Cut the stems about a half inch from the flower head, long enough to poke into the hole. Space holes so adjoining flowers cover the pumpkin flesh. Start at the top, and work your way down until the pumpkin is covered. The number of mums you need depends on the sizes of the blooms and your pumpkin. Keep the inside of the pumpkin moist; flowers will last two or three days.
A pumpkin “basket” makes an imaginative centerpiece for a fall table. How To: hollow out the pumpkin then place a block of wet floral foam inside. Position a pillar candle in the foam and surround with fall blooms.
Pumpkin place cards
Small pumpkins add a fresh touch to a fall table setting. And they’re not afraid to work as place cards while they’re looking pretty. How To: inscribe colorful leaves with your guests’ names. Then tie the foliage to mini pumpkins with raffia or twine.
Greet your guests at the door with a pumpkin house-number sign. How To: stack small, medium and large Cinderella pumpkins (remove stems, except for the top one). Then use a stencil and crafts knife to trace the outlines of your address numbers. Scrape the pumpkin skin out of the stenciled numbers, revealing the lighter pumpkin flesh underneath.
Get your outdoor table into the Halloween spirit by adding this bold arrangement. Place a variety of flowers into a neutral-color vase and surround with squat and small pumpkins.
Hanging bat pumpkins
Skip the carving and cast a spell by drawing bats on white pumpkins using a permanent marker. How To: to hang, cut a length of thick jute and knot one end through a large washer. Drill a hole in the top and bottom of each pumpkin and use wire to pull the twine through the holes. The washer supports the pumpkin’s weight; the jute loop attaches to a shepherd’s hook.
Summer blooms might have faded, but don’t winterize your decorative planters yet. Urns and planters make perfect bases for pumpkin topiaries; embellish the towers with bits of garden moss tucked around the pumpkins.
Set your hearth ablaze with these rip-roaring flames. How To: begin by experimenting with the placement of pumpkins in your fireplace. Once you’re satisfied with the arrangement, trim any stems that interfere with stacking stability, then determine how many flames each gourd should get. (Use this photo as a guide.) Note where each pumpkin goes and dismantle the arrangement. Carve a hole in the bottom of each pumpkin, scoop out the pulp, and return the cut pieces. Print out a flame template and resize on a copier, scaling the images to fit your pumpkins. Cut out 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 with an X-Acto knife. Affix a battery-operated votive candle in the base of each pumpkin with adhesive putty. Finish by restoring your arrangement.
Artfully decorate your pumpkins in gold and silver for a glittering Halloween display.
Pumpkins under glass
Display winter squash under glass cloches. You may have a jack-o’-lantern on the porch, but these beauties take the cucurbit to new heights — especially when elevated on cake stands, a nod to their eventual conversion to a holiday treat.