Pumpkin Decorating 101

By Skyla Patton

The month of Halloween is upon us. Apparently some people call it October? The smell of nutmeg is in the air, Halloween costumes are trending on Pinterest and it’s the time to shine for everyone’s favorite scary-faced squash – the Jack O’Lantern. According to History.com, pumpkin carving originated in Ireland, and they used the plethora of turnips that grew there to ward off angry spirits. Pick up the biggest (or smallest  —  size is not everything!) pumpkin you can find at one of Eugene’s local farms and take it home to slice and dice. Check out these great tips for carving and creating your best porch pumpkin yet.

Wait… What should I do?

If you’re anything like me, you get so excited about picking your pumpkin out at the patch and taking it home that when you actually sit down, knife in hand, you draw a blank on what exactly to carve into your pumpkin this year. Fear not, even the most artistically gifted deal with writer’s block every once in awhile. Many websites online offer free, printable templates to use on your pumpkin or give you an idea of what to shoot for. Don’t be afraid to utilize everyone’s favorite search engine, Pinterest, to get your creative juices flowing.

Tealight Candles are like, totally so not in right now.

Most of us grew up with our parents lighting a small tealight candle inside of our pumpkin once we’d finished to reveal a dim, but exciting, glowing face grinning back at us. This definitely works, but often times the next evening you’ll discover a melted candle and a funky, burnt squash smell where the shining smile once was. Plus, your apartment may not allow for candles! There’s a few options besides candles to really light up your hard work! Check out local hardware stores for battery-powered LED lanterns or lights. For just a few dollars, your pumpkin will shine bright like a diamond. If your pumpkin happens to be near an outlet, cut a small notch in the top of the pumpkin and shove a bundle of string Christmas lights inside for an equally stunning effect.


Materials: Stencils (or construction paper), glow in the dark paint, paintbrushes

As if Halloween isn’t spooky enough, this fun craft project will really light up the night with glow in the dark pumpkins. Using glow in the dark paint and your choice of stencil, color in the pumpkin. You can either outline the face and paint in a ghoulish smile or reverse it and paint the negative space. This way, the whole pumpkin glows, aside from it’s creepy eyes and grin. For a more free-form design, doodle on the pumpkin in whatever artistic way speaks to you. Pinterest users  frequently make use of fun designs like polka dots, geometrical patterns or calligraphy to make their pumpkin one of a kind. There are a million different ways to decorate your pumpkin with this method, so be creative and explore your own spooky ideas.

Glitter, Glitter, Glitter!

Materials: Clear glue (or liquid paint), chunky/fine glitter (or thumbtacks), newspaper

This project is key for pleasing the inner glitter fanatic that hides in all of us. For the most aesthetically pleasing result, use a white pumpkin with a flat-ish top, but it will work on anyone’s favorite squash type! This is a messy project, so be sure to layer the workspace with some old newspapers or a sheet before you get started. Smear on a layer of clear glue on the top of the pumpkin, almost like you’re icing the top of a cake — or, for an extra pop of color, use paint instead and let it drip down the sides for a melting effect. Before it dries entirely, sprinkle your choice of glitter all over the news sticky parts of the pumpkin and shake the excess off onto the newspaper. Repeat this process of glitter dumping until it’s as sparkly and shiny as your heart desires. For a faster, mess-free version of this project, pick up a package of gold or silver thumbtacks from a craft store and pop them into your pumpkin of choice to replicate a polka-dot sparkly look!

Channeling Picasso

Materials: Paints, brushes, sponges, etc.

This is the most open-ended form of pumpkin decorating, but it has limitless options! Grab your favorite paints and brushes and get to brainstorming with some pumpkins by your side. Pumpkin enthusiasts across the world have innovated the tradition of carving into painting. The trend swept across social media and Pinterest boards alike, with each new painted pumpkin cooler than the last. Designs include lifelike skeletons, spiders with pipe cleaners as legs, popular cartoon characters and more! Explore Pinterest for even more fun pumpkin painting ideas.Think of your pumpkin as more of a canvas than a squash with this tactic. Experiment with different types and shapes of pumpkins, too — no pumpkin is created the same. A funky lump or odd color can make this project even more fun. You’ll have so many fun designs, you’ll want to put a pumpkin inside every nook and cranny in the house.

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