25 fun Halloween decorating ideas
Set the mood for a stylishly spooky holiday with pumpkin carving ideas and tricks the neighborhood will love
Artist Nikki McClure shares instructions for creating this unique jack-o'-lantern for Halloween.
Cut the stem and a few inches of the rind around it out of the top of the pumpkin, then scoop out the seeds. Cut a rectangle out of the face of the pumpkin. Position rubber animals and miniature trees—available at craft stores—in the “window,” poking the tree trunks into the flesh if needed. Place an LED candle inside.
With all the pumpkins available, why settle for the same ’ol, same ’ol? This year, pick up a white pumpkin, and carve a spooky specter. Better yet, buy a bunch and create a pack of them. A few tips:
- For perfectly round or oblong eyes, print large O’s from your computer to use as a guide. Play around with various sizes and fonts—italicized ones work especially well.
- Cut out the O’s, tape them to your pumpkin, then use a large needle or pushpin to transfer your design to the pumpkin.
How to: Make floating pumpkins
Add a bit of mystery to your carved pumpkins by fitting them with ready- made black masks. (Or make a mask from black construction paper or black felt from a crafts store).
Choose a globe that fits over the porch light and you can greet trick-or-treaters in an orange glow.
Get the how-to: Make globe lanterns
A shapely white pumpkin doesn’t need much help to sparkle on a clean white table or porch. Just buy tiny metallic stars and rubbery spiders at the crafts store, then sprinkle them around. Use dabs of white glue to hold some of them in place where needed).
Welcome trick-or-treaters with a cheerful grouping of harvest-season pumpkin flowers. These daisies, roses, sunflowers, and chrysanthemums are just as easy to carve as a ghoulish face. The tricky part: instead of cutting all the way through the core, peel away the tough outer layer and allow the pith underneath to remain. The contrasting shapes of orange will stand out during the day and glow at night.
Three pumpkins, joined together totem style, form this Halloween character that appears to kick up his heels on a front lawn. Use rebar stakes to secure the pumpkins to each other, and to the ground.
How to: Carve elegant pumpkins
Comets, planets, and stars bring outer space to your front porch. Hang tiny white lights around them to enhance the effect.
A green pumpkin with painted “hair” and pieces of stem embellishing its jaws looms out of the darkness on this tabletop.
When time is short, forget carving altogether and go for paint; acrylic paints from the crafts store work best. Use a damp cloth to wipe the pumpkin clean, then air dry it or dry with a paper towel. Outline the design using a stencil. Paint it in stages (top and sides first, then—when it’s dry—the bottom, so the pumpkin won’t stick to a paper-covered surface).
If you're a 49ers fan but your neighbor is rooting for the Raiders, try this pumpkin play on your front porch, using two small pumpkins and two larger ones. On the smaller pumpkins, carve the faces by peeling away the tough outer core but allow the pith underneath to remain. Then hollow out and carve the larger ones (from the bottom instead of the top), and paint them. Slip the larger “helmets” over the smaller “heads”.
If you really want to keep things easy for a Halloween buffet, try this: remove the top of a pumpkin or other squash, hollow it out, and use it as a serving bowl for your favorite squash soup.