Carving pumpkins has become more of an art form it seems, with people using different tools, pumpkins, and materials to create this traditional Halloween decoration. Here are a few ideas of what you can do with your pumpkin this year, other than the classic smiling Jack-O-Lantern.
One idea is to use your pumpkin to help decorate for your favorite football team. From "Da Bears" to "Go Hawks" or "Boilers," you can decorate for Halloween and show your team spirit all at once.
Another alternative to carving the traditional face is to use other pumpkins and gourds in your Halloween display. You can carve the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles in a grouping of pumpkins, adding the correct colored headbands of course. Or you could use a miniature pumpkin or gourd that's being eaten by your much larger pumpkin (see photo). Carving a scared or surprised face into the small gourd as it gets devoured by the much scarier, larger pumpkin.
Going along with using little gourds, you could skip the traditional pumpkin all-together and pick out one of the many interesting large gourds to carve instead. Use a white pumpkin or the large blue gourds and carve it just like you would a pumpkin. Scoop out the insides, and get creative with the faces. There are lots of unique gourds to choose from, and even a few extra-warty pumpkins that could make great witch faces for your porch.
There are also a lot of ways to decorate your pumpkins without having to get out any knives or spoons. Pumpkins can be easily painted with black, silver, or dark purple paint, adding scary faces or just polka-dots. Add some glitter to the pumpkin to make it really sparkle! You can also use miniature pumpkins and paint to make creative place cards for fall dinners or your Thanksgiving table. Simply paint the first name of the guest, or write it with a paint pen, and they have a party favor to take home as well.
Another way to use pumpkins to decorate is to create a stack. This is very popular with Cindarella pumpkins. These pumpkins are not as round as your traditional jack-o-lanterns, and come in shades varying from a pale yellow to a deep red-orange. Add a little bit of straw or fake spider webs to fill your urns for the fall.
Finally, a great use for pumpkins is to use them as your planter. Cut the top of the pumpkin off and clean out the pumpkins as you would if you were going to carve them. Then fill them with dirt and create a beautiful fall arrangement, or simply drop in a large mum. This unique planter gives a creative spin on the usual bushel basket planters you see on everyone's porch, but they do not last as long as traditional pots. Depending on the weather, the carved pumpkin or gourd will begin to rot after three or four weeks. The warmer and wetter it is, the quicker they will rot, so keep them under a protected porch or put them in the garage if it's going to rain. (The pictured container was planted three weeks ago and is still holding up quite well.)
So try something new this year with your Halloween decorations, adding a few more gourds and faces to your front porch.