October is one of my favourite months – not because of the beautiful fall colours or the slight chill in the air… no, it is because in October we have two celebrations. Holidays and were always big in my childhood home. My Mother saw to that. She would welcome every holiday with great gusto. My father used to proclaim that we lived from holiday to holiday – any chance to celebrate. So you can see that the month of October, bringing both Thanksgiving and Halloween, soon became a favourite for me.
Halloween has always excited me. Now you might supposed that the offering of a plethora of candy (obtained within a few hours of trick or treating) was the attraction, but you would be wrong. It was the planning and preparation that I loved. My Mother would really get into it. Not only did she help us with our great homemade costumes, but Mom, herself, even got dressed up just to hand out candy. Often she would blacken-out teeth, put on eerie makeup, mess up her fantastic, thick, black hair and with a witchy cackle Mom would answer the door in hopes scaring the neighbourhood kids. Whatever costume or look Mom came up with for Halloween she put herself into it 100%.
In more recent years, people have begun to decorate their houses or yards for Halloween, but my Mom was ahead of her time. She always decorated our house, often hanging masks, which looked like real ghoulish heads, on poles around the front patio to add that extra touch. She was also the “Cool Mom” allowing us to make deals with the neighbourhood kids. In exchange for our immunity and no trickery or pranks aimed at our house, the kids in the neighbourhood had full access to all the spoils left in our garden, providing them with all the ammunition you could want to hurl at unsuspecting victims. It was a fantastic deal and it worked.
Halloween was a perfect holiday at my home…well almost perfect… all that was missing was our own pumpkin patch! Although if we had had one, I’m sure Mom would have encouraged us to sit in it at night and wait for The Great Pumpkin to appear just like Linus Van Pelt from the Peanuts.
I have always loved pumpkin patches. Perhaps it was the old-time favourite TV special, It’s The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown or my Mom’s enthusiasm for all things Halloween that inspired me to create my own Pumpkin patch. Yes, you read that correctly…I have my own pumpkin patch, a very splendid one I might add!
These pumpkins were easy to do and make a great impression. You can use real pumpkins and paint them or use craft pumpkins. If using real pumpkins, paint with acrylic paint in the colour of your choice.
Tip: Be sure to use flat paint not glossy or satin as you will want the paint to have a bit of tooth to it for better adhesion.
Craft pumpkins are easy to use and can be painted with acrylic paint as well. The advantage to using craft pumpkins is that they come in black, orange, and white thus eliminating the need to paint the initial base colour. In addition, craft pumpkins don’t rot so you can keep them for years to come.
You can paint or draw designs on the pumpkin. If you choose to draw, use a permanent marker. Not great with a paintbrush, drawing not your thing? Try using ribbons, stickers, fabric, adhesive crystals, or scrapbook supplies.
Tip: When using ribbon to decorate your pumpkin, use two-sided tape NOT glue to apply the ribbon to the pumpkin. Even if you use thick tacky glue, it can seep through
the ribbon and stain it. Narrow, two-sided tape is a better way to do it not to mention less messy. You can find narrow tape at art supply stores.
Tip: When using stickers don’t forget that they were intended for flat surfaces so you might have to glue or tack down the sticker edges with straight pins when applying to the curved pumpkin surface. If the sticker is a large one, you might need to make a few cuts in it – adjusting it to fit and ease over the curved surface.
Tip: Don’t restrict yourself to art and craft supply stores for decorative materials. Local dollar stores provide a wealth of inexpensive supplies which is important especially if you choose to use real pumpkins which will be thrown away.
So put your knives away and try this method for decorating pumpkins. Regardless of what type of pumpkin you use, or how you decide to decorate them, you’ll enjoy this Halloween project. I’m sure it would get The Great Pumpkin Seal of Approval, and better yet, my Mom’s approval, which of course is all that really matters.
As for me, I will be putting my pumpkin patch next to my Celtic graveyard and in view of my Witch Haven Bistro on my front patio…and maybe…just maybe, while I wait in the pumpkin patch, I will catch a glimpse of The Great Pumpkin! More than likely, however, I will fall asleep just as Linus did. I just hope that someone will be a kind as Lucy, bring my inside and get me safely to bed.
Note: No pumpkins were harmed in this project.
Craft and Photos by Lyndsay Jenkinson