Whether you’re interested in saving time or fingers, the no-cut pumpkin is becoming Halloween’s most bewitching decor.
If you leave the knife out of it, your creations are limited only to your spooky imagination.
The possibilities are endless in terms of materials, so you can Frankenstein whatever creepy jack-o’-lantern face you like, or abandon the scary aesthetics altogether (see heart and polka dots).
Here are just a few examples to get the crafty juices flowing.
Inject some unexpected drama into the traditional Jack O’ Lantern using decorative paper in fabric prints like leopard or lace to make the face.
- First, prime and paint the pumpkin, I used Martha Stewart Craft Paint in Mother of Pearl.
- Cut out facial features from paper and tape in place.
- After the party you can even remove the features for general seasonal decor or replace them with a different cutout, like say a moustache (Movember is coming).
Polka paper makeover
It’s almost a shame to make a pumpkin this pretty, only to have it rot, so enjoy it while it lasts or execute this look on a pumpkin-impersonating gourd that will keep well into the holiday season.I first saw the paper-stripping technique in the October issue of HGTV magazine and had to try it for myself.
- Cut the decorative paper of your choice into quarter-inch strips (use bigger strips for a bigger pumpkin) and Mod Podge around the pumpkin’s surface.
- Let this dry and Mod Podge overtop.
- Then take Martha Stewart Craft Paint in Mother of Pearl, or any metallic paint and roughly brush on the pumpkin’s stem for an antique look.
The chalkboard paint pumpkin is perfect for the creative who likes to change their mind. Not happy with your Jack O’ face? Simply wipe off and re-chalk. This pumpkin is also great for parties, as guests will appreciate the opportunity to vandalize pumpkins with their own obscene messages and drawings.
- Paint at least two coats of blackboard paint and let dry in between.
- Cure by carefully rubbing chalk over surface.
- *Note: I found that the chalk chipped off some of the paint, so next time I will try priming it first. Learn from my mistakes!
If e’er there were a holiday made for do-it-yourselfers and last-minute party-throwers, Halloween would be it.
With nothing more than a pumpkin, you can have the adult world’s coolest keg, a festive icebox for chilling beverages, savoury seed snacks and haunting Halloween décor. The pumpkin’s versatility is trumped only by its orange-ness.
And because you’re spooking up your space with produce, you can forgo the sexy cat or cowboy outfit this year and afford the elaborate costume you really want. Even if you live next to an organic grocery store, at around $5 each, these gourd essentials are eerily budget-friendly.
So prepare your knives and cover all cloth-like surfaces — pumpkin is great but doesn’t know how to keep to itself.
The pumpkin keg
Host the most memorable Halloween hootenanny yet with this do-it-yourself pumpkin beer keg from the fine folks at Celebrations.com. And the creators maintain that if you can carve a pumpkin, you too can make a pumpkin keg.
If only it were Halloween every day.
- one large pumpkin
- marker or pencil
- carving kit
- plastic spigot a.k.a. tap (find online for $5)
- lots of pumpkin beer
How-to: Pumpkin keg
- Draw a ring around the pumpkin’s top, and carve a lid. *The higher the lid, the more beer you can hold.
- Carve pumpkin with kit or serrated knife.
- Get all the seeds out and most of the pulp, but don’t worry if some of that’s left behind since it’s responsible for flavouring the beer.
- Find a place for the spigot and trace around it with a pen. Cutting the hole will require a finely serrated knife, so the carving kit proves useful at this point.
- Make the hole as clean-cut as possible, then pop in your spigot. You may have to thin out the pumpkin’s inner wall to fit the spigot properly. Don’t be afraid to dig in — the pumpkin can take it.
- With the spigot secured, pour in beer and enjoy!
There really is no wrong way to accessorize pumpkins or gourds. I chose to girly up warty gourds with some metallic craft paint.
- paint brush
- Martha Stewart Crafts Mulit-surface Acrylic Paints in Light Gold and Yellow Gold
- newsprint/drop cloth
- There’s nothing challenging or sophisticated about this painting project — in fact, the worse a painter you are the better they’ll look!
- Literally slop on your paint or lightly glaze gourds with your loaded paint brush (depending on the look you’re going for) and let dry.
- You’ll notice that the metallic paint glazes the surface but the gourd’s patterns will still show through. If you want something more opaque ,go for a solid acrylic colour versus the metallic. For Thanksgiving, Christmas holidays, darker solid paint jobs in fall colours could be a fun alternative.
Nothing is scarier than tacky decorations, so step up the spook-cessories with this tutorial from Heather Ribble (Mommyribs.blogspot.com).
Instead of putting decals on windows, Ribble opted to create decorative Halloween plates using Martha Stewart window and mirror clings (sold at Michael’s — but hurry, they are selling out). And the best part is, they are temporary and can be easily swapped out with next season’s motifs.
The clings cost her around $5 (on sale) and she found these plates at a thrift store, also for $5.
Even if you’re Bad Cook’s cousin, Dangerous Cook, pumpkin brains (or seeds) are something even the most amateur kitchen dabblers can master. Be warned, picking seeds out of a pumpkin is as gross as you think it is. However, no guts, no delicious glory.
Roasting pumpkin seeds
- Rinse pumpkin seeds and pick out pulp (do this before it dries).
- Lay out seeds on an oiled baking sheet or tinfoil (rub them around in the oil).
- Salt generously and bake at 325 F until toasted (around 25 minutes).
- Make sure you stir halfway and don’t overcook, or they’ll be too dried out.