Gourds and gourds of fun

Light'em, carve'em, enjoy'em!

Kelly Heidbreder
Kelly Heidbreder

You can’t get to the end of October without talking about pumpkins. They are our biggest decorating item inside and outside of the house at this time of the year. I have seen dozens and dozens of families shooting those harvest pictures with their own little pumpkin perched among the pumpkins.

We have so many choices, from bright orange and round, to white and flat. Don’t forget about the long swan-like gourds or the tiny colorful varieties that look lovely on the Thanksgiving Dinner table. Let the shape and color of the pumpkin or gourd spark some inspiration.

Here are some of my daughter’s favorite ideas: A crook-neck gourd can be stuck on the face of your pumpkin to create an elephant, or how about using some clear caulk to stick two flat-wing gourds on the sides of your pumpkin for big ears. Cut a wide mouth and stuff another small pumpkin inside to really get some attention. A curly stem was the inspiration for a great witch’s nose or the tail of a pig.

Light them up

You don’t always have to carve a big orange Jack-O-Lantern. Grab a couple dozen small gourds and make Halloween swag for the front door.

Cut off one end and scoop out the center. Once the seeds are cleaned out, use your drill to fill it with holes. Use a larger bit at the top of the gourd to create a larger hole. Grab the box of Christmas lights and stuff three or four bulbs into the top of the large hole at the top of a gourd. Continue to do that with the other gourds. When you are done, you will have colorful glowing swag to greet your trick-or-treaters.

Carve them up

I have bent many spoon handles trying to scoop out the slimy guts of a pumpkin. Try using an ice cream scooper instead. One idea my daughter came up with this year was to cut a larger hole on top. She cut around the stem, and then cut a larger panel off the back of the pumpkin all in one piece. This made it much easier to get your arms inside the pumpkin to remove the gooey innards.

I always like to find a way to use my cordless drill. Carving pumpkins seems to be a perfect way to break out the power tools. Once you clean out the pumpkin, use a drill and a small bit to outline your design then use a sharp knife to connect the dots and cut out the finished picture.

If you just want to do some basic decorating and aren’t talented enough to carve President Obama’s face in your pumpkin, you can use your paddle bits and other larger bits to drill holes all around the pumpkin. Make a few of these to line your sidewalk. They really look fun once you put your candle inside.

Swipe a thick coating of petroleum jelly on the inside of your pumpkin to keep it from getting moldy before Halloween. You can always use tea candles to keep them glowing. I like to use the battery powered ones and even a few glow sticks to add a few different colors.

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