Carve a cat pumpkin
Step 1: Cut out top of small pumpkin and scoop the inside clean. Place it upside down on the base pumpkin, turning to find a good fit. If necessary, carve opening slightly to adjust.
Step 2: Set head on the base to decide placement of eyes, then carve them out. You can draw them on first or use our template.
Step 3: Cut pointy ears out of felt or card stock and mark their positions on the head with a pen. Carve two shallow grooves into the head to hold the ears. Avoid cutting all the way through the pumpkin. (For more realistic ears, carve crescent-shaped grooves.)
Step 4: Prep an outside work area for spray painting. Stuff the head with loosely crumpled newspaper. Cover pumpkins, mini pumpkins, and cucumber with one or two thin coats of black spray paint. Allow to dry. Remove stuffing and insert the ears.
Step 5: If the head is wobbly, gently pound a few floral picks into the body with the mallet or hammer. Measure the opening of the head, then position the picks to fit just inside. Touch up paint if needed.
Step 6: Put a short tea light on a lid or dish to catch any drips. Stick to the top of the big pumpkin with a small ball of clay polymer or poster putty. Attach the head. Position cat and arrange tail and paws next to body.
Cookie Cutter Pumpkins
These cookie-cutter pumpkins are anything but run-of-the-mill. They take no time to make and will add a gorgeous glow to your porch or walk. Start by selecting a theme, such as leaves, ghosts, or spiders. Because pumpkins are pretty tough cookies, look for durable cutters made of thick stainless steel (www.cookiecutter.com). Smaller ones work best, as larger designs tend to lose their shape more easily. Preparing the pumpkins is easy as pie. Cut a hole in the bottom instead of the top, and clean out the insides. Place a cookie cutter on the pumpkin. Gently tap the cutter with a rubber mallet until it pushes through the skin. Repeat until you complete your desired design. Then simply place each pumpkin over a small candle, and enjoy the ghoulish glow.
House Numbers Jack-o-Lanterns
• Select one pumpkin per house number and cut a hole in the top of each.
• Clean them out, saving the tops, and wipe exteriors dry.
• Center paper stencil number (ours was 5 inches tall) on the first pumpkin and adhere with painter's tape.
• With a marker, trace the stencil outline, then carefully carve just outside the line with a small handsaw or heavy-duty craft knife.
• Repeat for each number.
• Arrange a few tea lights inside each pumpkin, then line up or stack in proper order.
• Replace top on the highest pumpkin.
• Illuminate tea lights using a long-handled lighter through the holes.
You can create all of these nifty designs using acrylic paint and painter's tape. For a two-tone, dipped look, bisect a pumpkin with a strip of tape (angle the tape for a diagonal effect). Use a foam brush to cover one section of your pumpkin with two coats of acrylic paint, allowing 30 minutes of drying time per coat. Remove the tape and discard. Stop there, or repeat the steps to add another color to your pumpkin. To form chevron stripes—whether two or tons—link short strips of tape to make the zigzag patterns, using our photo as a guide. Use a foam brush to cover your pumpkin with two coats of acrylic paint, allowing 30 minutes of drying time per coat. Remove the tape and discard. Clean up the edges with a cotton swab if necessary. If you'd like the second color to be different than natural pumpkin orange, fill in using a small paintbrush and contrasting acrylic paint, as we did for the black-and-white pumpkin.
I hope you have fun decorating your porch and front yard this Halloween Season! I know I will.
Thanks for taking a peek ~