2015-10-12 / In Focus

Carveless creations

Leave the knife in the drawer with these dressed-up pumpkins
The Associated Press

While some people can’t wait to get out the carving knife, there are lots of alternative ways to dress up a Halloween pumpkin.

“No carving means less mess,” says Katherine Parker, senior digital editor of Better Homes and Gardens magazine.

She suggests painting the pumpkin black before adding cardstock features that will appeal to youngsters. “A tail, ears or bat wings can transform a plain pumpkin into a cute, festive creature.”

Other kid-friendly ideas? Swath your pumpkin in pieces of cheesecloth to create a mummy, or clad it in silvery blue paint along with some faux rhinestones and a plastic tiara for a “Frozen” jack-o’-lantern.

Parker says paint pens are an even easier way to decorate pumpkins. “Arrange different size stenciled pumpkins to create a vignette — like a cat chasing mice, or a spooky message.”

For a Gothic, slightly racy look, take a bare pumpkin and apply a black lace stencil. An intricate doily or piece of tulle would create pretty stenciled patterns. Or simply wrap an old pair of fishnet or lace tights around the pumpkin and add a silky bow at the stem.

Go seasonally stylish, without overtly referencing Halloween, by painting your pumpkin and then embellishing it with stripes, chevrons or polka dots in fall hues. Think chocolate brown on cream; carmine on deep yellow; black on white; copper on indigo.

An all-black pumpkin decorated with tiny sequins or crystals in a celestial design creates late-night drama without the scare factor.

Get out the glue gun and add inky black gemstones, glitter or feathers for a custom version of those glammed-up, storebought pumpkins.

Or wrap your pumpkin from stem to base in vertical strips of paper, ribbon, yarn or washi tape in a fun, fashion-forward design.

Go right outside the traditional Halloween box by painting your pumpkins in an unusual color — think navy or smoke or olive — and consider a matte rather than glossy paint to up the style ante. Wrap stems in velvety chenille yarn or metallic thread.

If you’re more interested in earthy, country style decor, use natural materials like wooden petals (pictured below), dried leaves or twigs to create warm, woodsy pumpkins.

If you’ve got wide-based pillar candles or cake stands at home, you’re all set to elevate your creations; spray-paint them glossy black for extra punch.

Whether you’re having a party or just went to send greetings of the season, mini pumpkins are a great vehicle. Wrap stems with greenery, colorful twine and a little message or invite tag for the perfect Halloween invite.

Look for instructions and templates at www.bhg.com, www.instructables.com or www.marthastewart.com, among other resources.

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