Although traditional carved pumpkins are one of the most iconic symbols of fall and Halloween, cutting into the flesh of a pumpkin can be a lot of work and it shortens the freshness life of your pumpkin (meaning that if you carve a pumpkin more than a few days in advance, your jack-o-lantern might not make it to Halloween).
This year, after you painstakingly pick your pumpkins, try another method for decorating it. Check out these out out of the ordinary ideas:
Painted pumpkins - Break out your acrylic craft paints and give your pumpkin a colorful skin.
Decoupage pumpkins - Using Mod Podge (or watered down Elmer's Glue), affix newsprint, tissue paper, scrapbook paper or photos to your pumpkin, and decorate.
Polka dot pumpkins - Power drill. Fat drill bit. Pumpkin. What could be easier? Drill random holes, or drill a design. Make sure to clean the pumpkin guts out of the drill bit after each hole to keep subsequent holes crisp.
Spray paint pumpkins - Give your pumpkin a metallic shine, paint it black or white (or both!), or use stencils to create a unique design. Paint white and yellow stripes on an orange pumpkin for a candy-corn look. Paint the pumpkin all one color, then attach letters or stickers, and paint it another color. Then remove the stickers for a study in contrast.
Pumpkin topiary - Look for small pumpkins with flat bases. Cut the stem off all but the top pumpkin, and arrange your stack, securing each layer with hot glue.
If you do decide to carve your pumpkin, consider these tips:
- Toss in a few packets of silica gel to absorb moisture and stave off mold. You can also spray a mixture of bleach and water inside pumpkin daily.
- Use a glow stick or an LED candle for a safer glow.
- When you cut the top off your pumpkin to gut it, cut a square from the back, too. It will make scooping out the pumpkin's gizzards much easier, and you'll have quick access to placing, lighting and replacing lights inside.