Pumpkin Carving Alternatives

Halloween PorchMy mother was not the most creative or artistic mother in the car pool. Oh, let’s be honest…there wasn’t a car pool. When the family dinosaur died, I had to hoof it, the mile and a half to school. That long walk gave me plenty of opportunities to see the creative efforts of other moms during the Halloween season. I remember the most wonderfully carved pumpkins, some with cat faces and others with scary faces that were attached to scarecrow bodies. One of my favorites adorned the porch of a school friend, whose mother turned their front porch into a mini-haunted house. The jack o’lanterns she carved guarded the entrance, and both invited and warned guests of what awaited them. They had skeletal arms attached that seemed to enable them to drag their ungainly, legless pumpkin bodies up and down the stairs.

Pirate Push-InsJackThe jack o’lanterns we had at home were simple. Mother allowed us to draw the faces on the shells and she did the carving. Too many lines, and my mother simplified the design. She wasn’t very artistic, but, I didn’t say she wasn’t smart. So, if you are like my mother, clever, but not feeling very creative, I have some examples of alternatives to carving the family jack o’lantern. I have also included a couple of ideas for jack o’lantern accessories that will dress up even your most simple design.

Ninja Push-InsThe makers of Mr. Potato Head found pumpkins to be a perfect palette to expand the uses of their designs. The “Pumpkin Push Ins” are available in Witch, Pirate, Princess, Fireman and, my personal favorite, Ninja! You can also buy a bucket of non-specific face and body parts to create your own unique 3 dimensional pumpkin. Just remember, since these add-ons actually pierce the skin of the pumpkin, you won’t be able to use it later for cooking purposes.

Pumpkin Wear ScarecrowAlong the same lines as the push-ins, but with a unique twist, are the many ideas from “Pumpkin Wear”. The accessories made by Pumpkin Wear include Pumpkin Wear Spiderdecorations that attach to the pumpkin to make it a Scarecrow, Witch, Black Cat, Spider, and more. I particularly like the spider, that has a votive candle at the end of each leg. These might work best as indoor decorations or centerpieces, but they certainly are a unique way to turn an ordinary pumpkin into something extraordinary!

Painted PumpkinsAnother alternative to carving your gourd is painting. Your pumpkin paintings can be as simple or as complex as you want. Sketch out your idea, and use fine-line dry erase markers to mark it on the skin of the pumpkin. Any good acrylic craft paint will work for your purposes. Don’t limit yourself to the flat acrylic paints. Try some metallic, flourescent, glow in the dark, or glitter paints for special effects. Even if you are making a carved design, painting might enhance your masterpiece. Another reason to consider painting your pumpkin is that, after Halloween, you can still cook it down and use it to make pumpkin pie, bread or other pumpkin goodies!

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About Jenna Maxwell

Since I was a kid, I have always loved fashion. Everyday life was just another opportunity for dressing up and yes, perhaps some of my looks were a bit like costumes. That was my means of self-expression back in those days and in many ways, it still is. It is only natural then, that I absolutely adore Halloween. Combine my love of costumes with my alter ego as a closet history nerd and you have this crazy juxtaposition that can mean only one thing...me and Halloween go together like hand and glove! I am completely fascinated by the traditions, lore, history and customs surrounding this day we call Halloween and to be honest, I can't get enough costumes, either. The only irony of this whole scenario is that I am a pretty big 'fraidy cat and am not so thrilled with things that go "bump" in the night. Perhaps writing about the spookier side of life helps me to face my fears--just a little bit. So my friends, that is where it all began...