By Kathryn Weber
There’s some debate about whether pumpkin is a squash or a gourd, but whatever you call them — and whether you use them for decorating or eating — pumpkins are a seasonal favorite.
1. Add some bling. Cover pumpkins with glitter and place them on silver or glass plates.
2. Create a pumpkin centerpiece. Select a pumpkin that will fit on a fruit or cake stand. Add green ivy to the plate and set the pumpkin on top. Hot glue one or two leaves around the top of the pumpkin for a quick kitchen or table decoration.
3. Make a lighted nameplate. Carve the outline of your family name or other message on a large, oblong pumpkin, add a light inside and you have a striking sign.
4. Try pumpkin luminaries. Carve small or medium pumpkins and place candles inside. Line them up along your front walk or driveway.
5. Decorate your entrance. Place pumpkins atop straw in urns and place them at the front door. Decorate with berries and fall leaves.
6. Dress up the fireplace. Fill the space with various sizes of pumpkins. Carve and add candles, or leave plain to use until Thanksgiving.
7. Decoupage your pumpkins. With watered down white glue, stick fabric or decorative paper unto pumpkins. When dry, spray with clear varnish.
8. Serve soup in a pumpkin. Carve small pumpkins into individual soup bowls or use a large pumpkin as a tureen.
9. Make a witchy pumpkin. Carve a witch face and add a hat for a spooky sentinel.
10. Create a candy dish. Cut the top off a pumpkin to create a candy dish, or carve a face and big mouth in front to serve to trick or treaters.
11. Make pumpkin planters. Carve out pumpkins and fill with live plants and fall flowers.
12. Send a message. Carve “Boo” or another simple message by putting each letter on separate pumpkins. Line them and add lights.
13. Put out a pumpkin punchbowl. Carve a punch bowl using a large pumpkin.
14. Decorate the mantel. Select pumpkins in colors that complement your decor and decorate the fireplace mantel with an assortment in different sizes.
15. Create a pumpkin vase. Use pumpkins to hold flowers. Arrange hollow pumpkins on a table and fill with flowers.
16. Try a lollipop holder. Drill evenly spaced holes in a pumpkin and insert lollipops.
17. Make a pumpkin caterpillar. Use small pumpkins for the body, pipe cleaners for the legs, and a large pumpkin for the head.
18. Gild the pumpkin. Paint small pumpkins gold and use them as candleholders or as nameplates on the table dinner table.
19. Build a pumpkin totem pole. Stack totem-carved pumpkins with hollow tops and bottoms. Light them inside. Leave the top on the top pumpkin and the bottom on the base pumpkin.
20. Create a pumpkin family. Buy pumpkins sized to represent each member of your family. Carve each person’s initials in the side, light and place on the front porch.
If you’re ready to recycle your pumpkins, turn them into something delicious with pumpkin recipes from the University of Illinois Cooperative Extension Service. You’ll find everything from pumpkin risotto to pumpkin-amaretto cheesecake at: http://urbanext.illinois.edu/pumpkins/recipes.cfm.
© Kathryn Weber, all rights reserved