Polka Dot Pumpkins & Other Ways to Re-Purpose Jack-O-Lanterns | Jackson Free Press | Jackson, MS

Polka Dot Pumpkins & Other Ways to Re-Purpose Jack-O-Lanterns

All the trick-or-treaters have come and gone, the bowl of leftover mini Mars Bars have been devoured, and the genius costume you painstakingly created is now stained and smelling of day old cigarettes. Halloween's over! And now you've got hordes of squash on your porch. What would a [FLY] Girl do? Why, re-purpose them, of course!

Unfortunately you'll have to let the full jack-o-lantern carved faces sit and stew until they become a big pile of pumpkin mush, unless some wily neighborhood teen makes sport of them with a mallet first. These guys just don't have staying power past All Hallows Eve. Political pumpkins are the only exception: I saw some fantastic Obama carvings that would be terrific porch lighting until the election is over.

Now, if you have a bunch of raw gourds, squash and pumpkins sitting on the dining room table or porch, you might as well do something fun [and FLY] with them. Here are a few of my favorite pumpkin projects:

1. Punch holes into a hollowed out pumpkin with an apple corer. Rub the inside flesh walls with pumpkin pie spices and light a candle. Instant potpourri! YUM.

2. Make your pumpkins shine! Paint all shapes and colors of pumpkins and gourds (Indian corn works well too) with a sponge brush dipped in shimmery, glossy paint thinned with a glaze base. Golds and iridescent bronzes work best. Group together for a lusterware inspired table centerpiece.

3. Hollow out a small to medium sized pumpkin, then chop off the top 1/4-1/3, leaving two spots where you can carve "handles" by making half circles and punching two holes with an apple corer. Fill with birdseed and hang from a tree or the eaves of your house with fishing line or string. Fodder for your feathered friends, all fall long!

4. Using a chef's knife, slice one long horizontal notch in Jack-Be-Little mini pumpkins. Write guest names on parchment or small craft paper tags. Slip a tag into each slotted pumpkin and use as place cards at your holiday dinner party.

5. Saw off the tops of curved swan gourds. Using a thin knife, hollow out the top portion. Fill neck with water and use as a vase for spare blooms like lilies.

6. Cut varying shapes and sizes of bulbous gourds in half. Hollow out and let dry for a week. Paint in monochromatic tones and finish with a high gloss for a mod take on a holiday centerpiece; they can be filled with food, flowers, or anything you desire.

7. Drill a hole the diameter of a quarter in the top portion of mini pumpkins (where the stem would be) and place a tea light candle in the hole. Line your mantle with a handful for a soft glowing display.

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