Whether you're carving, decorating, or using this classic fall gourd for Halloween inspiration, our pumpkin ideas will excite you all season.
The old triangle-eyed pumpkin has its charm, but for a jack-o'-lantern unlike any other on the block, try our mix-and-match templates.
Don't be shy: Show off your top-notch collection of bodiless heads by placing them atop pedestals. You can put the display next to a stair railing or adjacent to a walkway outdoors -- in fact, anywhere you think a leering head would be a nice decorative touch. Draw faces you like, or print our templates.
Legend has it that the luckless souls who hear the Three Squashes' song of woe shall vanish into the nearest vegetable patch, never to be seen or heard from again. Since narrow squashes are easier to hollow out if you work from both ends, these guys had the tops of their heads cut off.
Being trapped in a candy dish is vexing, to be sure. The mini pumpkin on the right had his stem sliced off, then he was placed in the bowl. His eyes and nose were penciled in; he was removed, carved, and cruelly confined again. The one at left was carved, then balanced on a teapot.
Even though they're always disdainfully wrinkling their noses at you, this nosy family are smart to have around: They can smell danger from miles away. When carving, hollow them out from a hole in the bottom, and position their features (see page 2 of this template) on top so the stems can serve as noses.
Slow but sneaky, the snail uses his squash-stem antennae to lead him to a snack. His body is a squat pumpkin turned on its side; his head is a round, spotted gourd.
The alligator is on the hunt for unsuspecting prey. He's constructed of four large, oblong pumpkins.
This sideboard tableau intersperses luminous pumpkins with a decanter of wine, a stand with fruit, and other objects evocative of Edgar Allan Poe and his tales of horror. To render the glowing silhouettes, we used two techniques: The bright candelabrum and goblet are cut through the pumpkins' walls, while the textured quill and skull are pared gently from the outer shells. Pumpkins of different hues, including white Lumina, a green-gray Jarrahdale, and burnt-orange cheese pumpkins, add tonal variety.
Leaves seem to swirl and tumble in a chilly wind as a raven watches beneath a baleful, moonlit sky. Glowing along a stone wall or presented indoors on a deep mantel, this moody vignette can encompass as many pumpkins as space permits. It's also an opportunity to use fruits of various sizes in the same arrangement. (Keep in mind that smaller pumpkins are harder to work with.) We paired three basketball-style pumpkins with a small, smooth-skinned pie pumpkin.
Your next jack-o'-lantern may come with a bonus: a one-of-a-kind tureen lid. For a proper fit, measure the diameter of a tureen, and choose an appropriate-size pumpkin with a firm stem. Using a keyhole saw, cut off the top third of the pumpkin, and scrape the interior clean. Cut a small semicircle along the edge to accommodate a ladle. For an added fall accent at the table, arrange a vine or other foliage around the serving bowl's base.
Pumpkins need not be ghoulish. The deep-twilight hues of Australian heirlooms 'Jarrahdale' and 'Queensland Blue' form a poetic display, but they also serve a practical purpose, offering richly veined cheeses, crudites, and more. Stack them for an extra-elegant effect.
Because it involves no carving, this elegant but easy-to-create ode to autumn can last from early October until Thanksgiving. Boughs of fall-yellow ginkgo leaves brighten a balanced array of similar-hued 'Nest Egg' and 'Warty Orange Hardhead' gourds, which are augmented with small 'White Ball' and 'Pawnee Orange' gourds. To add subtle sparkle and gleaming warmth, the pumpkins' stems are painted gold, and ocher glass vases and gilded votive candleholders are interspersed throughout.
Make a golden impression right at the front door with a pumpkin overflowing with vivid chrysanthemums, subdued thistles, and seeded eucalyptus, all embellished with branches of Chinese lantern that have been colored gold with floral spray. A few golden pumpkins are strewn amid an array of naturally colorful ones to add even more shimmer and sheen to the welcoming tableau.
Blue is not traditionally associated with the season, but highlight it with small touches of gold, as in these spray-painted miniature pumpkins and a place card written in gold ink, and the color can become a happy participant in holiday revels. A block-printed napkin and tablecloth and the marbleized plate add patterned richness, while a mix of mismatched contemporary glassware and classic flatware keep the feeling clean and modern.
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