From pumpkin pies and lattes to jack-o-lanterns, October is all about pumpkin everywhere we turn. This fun and fantastic gourd isn’t just for the kids, though, and can actually be transformed into many dynamic DIYs that everyone can enjoy! Here are a few of our favorite pumpkin projects to help you make the most of your pumpkin season:
Possibly the most traditional pumpkin DIY there is, the creation of the jack-o-lantern is a fun and messy activity that kids love and parents can, too, and we carry pumpkins in a range of shapes and sizes for you to choose from, along with carving kits to make the job easier!
Start by carving a hole for easy access to clean out your pumpkin’s center - from the top for candle lighting and the bottom to hide cords for electric lighting - and clean out any pulp and seeds from the pumpkin with a spoon. To start designing, you can find hundreds of stencils online and can easily trace them from paper by poking holes as a guideline. If you’re more of a free spirit, though, you can simply draw your own design with a marker. The rest is easy, just cut out your pieces and set on the porch!
Painting is a great no-carve way to decorate your pumpkins. With paint, your only limit is your imagination, so go ahead and create whatever your heart desires. Like carving, you may want to stencil out your design first as a guide and, while you can go freehand, there are hundreds of inspirations to be found online. To begin, use a sealant paint to create a base layer for the paint to stick to (a clear coat of spray paint, or even hairspray will work in a pinch). Then, you can move right into painting your design, but don’t forget to seal it with a top layer of sealant, too, to lock in your masterful creation.
A new trend that is taking pumpkins by storm is bedazzling. This easy DIY is a great way to decorate your pumpkins with some added sparkle and glimmer in a way that is unique and sophisticated, but also 100% kid-friendly! To get started, you’ll need to clean your pumpkin to better help your dazzling additions to stick. Then, using craft glue, you simply adhere your rhinestones, sequins, or gems to your pumpkin in whatever way you can imagine, like your initials or even some stripes or swirls.
If you’re up for the challenge, you can even create a beautiful work of string art. Simply find a template and create an outline by sticking push pins through the paper. Tear it away upon completion, and begin to zig-zag colorful string or threads to fill in your shape.
To bring pumpkins into your everyday autumn decor, one of the simplest and most elegant DIYs is making a succulent centerpiece. These gorgeous gourds easily transform into a beautiful and dynamic planter for a picture-perfect succulent garden and making one for yourself is easy.
Start with a clean and dry, flat-topped pumpkin, a range of succulents from our garden center to use for cuttings, and a glue gun. Using the hot glue, adhere moss to your pumpkin in a ½ to 1-inch layer. Then, use light dabs of hot glue on the stems of your succulents and clippings to stick them into the moss in a mounding shape (don’t worry, a little spot of glue won’t hurt them). For an added flair, explore with other materials, like acorns, mini Indian corn, and dried seed pods, to arrange a one-of-a-kind creation. To make your succulents last all year even after your pumpkin is spent, just cut off the top of it and plant into a planter.
If carving is your DIY of choice, it can often be hard to know what to do with the perfectly good pulp and seeds afterward. Those seeds are in there for a reason, though, and you can use them to plant your own pumpkin patch for the year to come. First, you’ll need to clean and dry your seeds by rinsing them off in water and laying flat to dry for a few days on a paper towel. Once dry, pack them up into an envelope and store in the fridge until spring when you can plant them in the ground! When the time comes, get them off to a great start with a Purple Cow Activated Compost.
If a pumpkin patch isn’t what you had in mind for your garden, you can always enjoy pumpkin seeds baked in the oven for a delicious low-carb, keto-friendly snack that is even safe for your dog! To prepare your own, preheat your oven to 300℉. Next, rinse your seeds free from any pulp and pat dry with a paper towel before laying them in a single layer on a baking sheet.
For fresh ideas to season or flavor your seeds, browse our specialty foods section. If you have a sweet tooth, try our Salted Honey or Bourbon Honey Spread. If you’re into savory, try a sprinkle of salt with our Garlic & Onion Olive Oil or give your seeds a kick with Carolina’s Rub with a squeeze of lime juice. Then, bake in the oven for 45 minutes and enjoy the crispy, little bites you won’t be able to get enough of!
If pie is all you can think of when you look at a pumpkin, you’re not alone. The sweet spiciness of a soft and gooey pumpkin pie is one of the best flavors of fall and making your own couldn’t be simpler. To start, pick out a pie pumpkin (sometimes called sugar pumpkin) from our greenhouse. These petite pumpkins are perfect for creating a fresh pumpkin pie from scratch. Wash your pumpkin, cut it in half, and clean it out. Preheating your oven to 325℉ and bake for 30-40 minutes until soft. Then, take it out of the oven and scoop the softened flesh to puree for your base.
Mix that puree with evaporated milk, sugar, eggs, and spices - like cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger - then pour into a pie shell. Carefully place your pie in the oven and bake at 425℉ for 15 minutes, then cook for another 45 minutes at 350℉. You’ll know it’s done when the crust is golden brown and a toothpick will come out of the center clean. Cool and top with whipped cream for a delectable dessert the whole family can enjoy!
Whether they’re an essential part of your autumn decor or a delicious snack to enjoy, pumpkins are so flexible and easy to transform that everyone can fit them into their fall lifestyle. To learn more about these perfect pumpkin projects or to pick up your pumpkins today, visit us here at Alsip to get your pumpkin season started.