The holidays are right around the corner, and what holiday isn’t complete without traditional seasonal décor? As far as traditions go, pumpkins have become a staple autumn piece, customarily carved and turned into a jack-o’-lantern for Halloween. This, however, was not always the case. Historically, turnips, beets and potatoes were carved by the Scottish, Irish and British, and were used in Celtic Celebrations. When immigrating to America, it was quickly discovered that pumpkins, native to North America, were more suitable for jack-o’-lanterns. The tradition of pumpkins has held strong in America since the switch from roots to squash, but the ways in which we use pumpkins has transformed.
Pumpkins have been a décor piece during the fall season across the United States for many years, especially in October. Unfortunately, pumpkin prices have increased by 4% since 2011, but there are ways to make them last longer. While pumpkins can stay healthy for over a month if left uncarved, they can begin to rot within 48 hours after they’ve been carved. Therefore, we suggest you get your pumpkins early and use them as decorations around the home to get yourself in the holiday spirit. We have plenty of ideas for ways to revamp your pumpkin leading up to Halloween.
Decoration in the Home – Pre Carving
Painting a Pumpkin
Does the typical orange pumpkin not match the personality of your home? A simple solution…paint! Before painting your pumpkin, make sure to wash and dry it to remove dirt. Then, use your favorite acrylic paints and add glitter or a bow for a personal touch
Have some old ribbons around the home? Use a mix of ribbons to give your pumpkin some character. Simply hot-glue the ribbons along the veins and you’re done.
For the artistically inclined, create a frosted pumpkin to give your home a wintery feeling. Seep acrylic puffy paint through the veins of the pumpkin, focusing heavily on the top portion to produce a frosted pumpkin look. Add snowflakes and silver glitter to give it some shimmer.
Carving Your Pumpkin
Get ready to dive into your pumpkin around October 30. We’ve found that this is the optimal time to open it up for even more uses. Although carved pumpkins can last up to three days in cool weather, it tends to rot quickly when a candle is placed inside, or when in warm weather (Sorry Arizona!). But even so, here are some fun things to do with your pumpkin during your last days before Halloween.
Roast Pumpkin Seeds
When opening up your pumpkin, you will find a treasure of gooey, slimy pumpkin seeds, but don’t throw them in the trash. These seeds can be baked into a tasty treat. Place the seeds into a bowl of water, allowing them to soak and separate from the excess pumpkin flesh. Next, drain the seeds until dry. Spread the seeds in a single layer across a baking sheet along with a tablespoon of oil. Bake at 350°F for 15 minutes, allow to cool, and enjoy!
Create a Flower Vase
If the traditional jack-o’-lantern isn’t your thing; turn your pumpkin into a cool flower vase. Clean out the inside and place a holder into the pumpkin, such as a coffee tin. Then, fill the holder with water and add your favorite flowers.
It is all right if you aren’t one to stray from your annual jack-o’-lantern customs. Simply search “free pumpkin carving patterns” online, download and print. The following websites provide excellent directions for how to carve a pumpkin, and offer exciting carving templates.