How to Decorate Pumpkins
The scariest part of Halloween isn’t the ghouls and goblins – it’s the pumpkins. Pumpkins have a tendency to look exactly the same year after year…and, to us, that is truly frightening. See, a lot of people are under the impression that different decorating techniques are time consuming, but we’re here to show you that making beautiful, gorgeous gourds is probably easier than shaping those classic Jack-o’-Lantern eyes. So, for the time being, lower those carving tools, and check out these ideas:
If You Still Want to Carve:
For an untraditional gourd to greet ghoulish trick-or-treaters, try a monogrammed pumpkin. Print letters from your favorite font and use them as a stencil to transfer the letter onto a hollowed pumpkin. Of course, you can do this freehand, but take your time. The more perfect it is, the more this looks like an elegant update than a quick, time-saving trick. Carefully carve out the letter and you’re done.
Creepy Carrot Noses:
Don’t have the time to go crazy carving out a classic Jack-o’-Lantern mug? No worries. This clever idea gives you a fancy face without a lot of effort. Simply hollow out the pumpkin, carve two triangular eyes, and remove a circle in the middle for the nose. Insert a carrot (or parsnip, depending on the color of the pumpkin) into the hole to create a long snout that takes your creations from boring to brilliant.
Transforming a pumpkin’s exterior to mimic the patterns of bark is easier than it looks! You can hollow it out if you’re planning on having your gourd glow, but you don’t have to. With a carving tool (or linoleum cutter), start by making a line that runs all the way from the stem to the bottom – and for once in your life – don’t worry about the line being straight. (It’s better if it’s squiggly.) Make additional lines that echo the first one, getting them as close together as possible without having them run into one another. Add in a few knots from time to time by carving circles with smaller circles inside and you’ve got an unusual and unique display!
Take profile photos of yourself, your family, or from clip art, darken in the face, and then photocopy it, enlarging it as is necessary to fit the pumpkin. Once the image is the correct size and it’s printed out, cut around the silhouette in an oval to create a cameo. Tape the picture to the hollowed out pumpkin and use an awl or T-pin to outline the profile. Lastly, carve around the profile and insert a candle or electric lights into the center to create an enchanting display.
If You Could Use a Year Off:
This technique is devilishly deceiving! Your pumpkins will look amazing…and all it takes is some chalkboard paint (and some chalk, of course). Start by laying down some newspaper and ready your supplies. You can select either chalkboard spray paint (faster) or actual chalkboard paint (more control) and look for chalk in orange hues. After coating the entire pumpkin with the paint, allow it to dry, and then decorate however you wish.
For pumpkins that have a story to tell, select a poem, passage from a story, or just a spooky word to adorn the gourd’s surface. You can get decals if you choose, but practicing your cursive isn’t a bad idea. Use either acrylic or latex-based paints and remember to keep your font big, so that it’s readable.
Use painter’s tape to create shapes and lines all over the pumpkin’s surface, such as zigzags, and then paint the areas that aren’t covered. Once the paint is dry, carefully peel off the tape to reveal fantastic designs! Don’t be afraid to try different color combinations by painting the pumpkin’s surface before you tape out your design!
About the Author:
Katie Straw is the Gourmet Scribe at GourmetGiftBaskets.com, one of the top suppliers of gift baskets in the nation, and currently resides in Manchester, New Hampshire.