It has been said that sometimes I get a little out of control when it comes to pumpkin decorating…perhaps that is a little true. Pumpkin decorating combines two of my favorite things, Halloween and creating a 3D decoration (centerpiece, prop, display, etc.), and when I have a clear vision of what I want to do, there’s no stopping me until I make it a reality!
In this post I’m going to teach you how to make a Haunted House pumpkin that lights up and has sound effects, then I’m going to go over a number of other pumpkin decorating ideas that don’t take quite as much time and materials. But first…
Set the mood!
Before I start my first Halloween project of the year, I get all my supplies together….Halloween movies, pumpkin candles, and Harry Potter audio books. It’s a lot more fun to work on a Halloween project when you are in the Halloween spirit and have something “Halloweeny” on in the background! A rainy day always helps too. Here are just a few of my favorites, but I’ll post a list of all my favorites at the end of this post…in case you’re looking to add to your Halloween watch list this year.
Now, on to the Haunted House Pumpkin!
Haunted House Pumpkin
- Sketch what you want the final product to look like. It doesn’t have to be perfect, just have enough details that you can develop a plan and something to refer back to as you are creating your haunted house pumpkin.
- Get all your materials together. I used the following:
- 3 craft pumpkins (2 medium round and 1 large tall)
- Cardboard or chipboard to use as templates
- White pencil (to mark on black)
- Black sharpie
- Black foam core board
- Black tape
- Silver paint pen
- Silver glitter glue
- Clear tape
- Salt dough (don’t mix until ready to use: 1 cup salt, 1 cup white flour, 1/2 cup warm water) bake at 200 for 1 hour (longer for thick pieces)
- Vellum paper
- Lighting and thunder effect battery operated string lights
- Black spray paint
- Purple shimmer spray paint
- Black pipe cleaners
- Wood craft picks and wood toothpicks (for fence)
- Acrylic paint (gray, white, green, orange, brown, yellow, black)
- Moss sheet (found at craft stores)
- Fake dirt for landscape models (found in craft stores)
- Craft glue
- Cut pumpkins to fit together and make templates.
- The two smaller pumpkins will need to fit snugly against the middle larger pumpkin, so cut the sides of the smaller pumpkins to “hug” the larger. See photo top left below.
- Cut a hole in each side of the large pumpkin large enough to fit your string lights through but small enough that it doesn’t show when the sides are in place.
- Cut the “stems” out from each pumpkin, this is where the string lights will come up from the pumpkin to the cupola.
- Make cardboard or chip board templates for the windows, door, and cupolas on top of each pumpkin. For the cupola on each of the smaller pumpkins, I used a scrap piece of pumpkin for the face piece with the window cut out so it still had a pumpkin feel. Make sure once you have assembled the template, you mark each piece so when you put it back together with foam core board you know which piece goes where.
- Cut out windows and make templates for the window shutters.
4. Use the templates to cut the cupolas, door, and shutters out of black foam core board.
5. Spray paint all cut foam core pieces and the pumpkins purple shimmer. You may want to start with a black base for the pumpkins, so if you don’t already have black craft pumpkins, paint them black before painting the purple shimmer.
6. Cut a hole in the back of the large pumpkin large enough to get your hand through. Save the piece to reattach at the end.
7. Attach vellum to the back of the circular window in the center cupola and behind each window.
8. Cut out and attach black silhouettes to go behind the window vellum. You won’t see them when the light is off, but when it flashes it will create a shadow through the window.
9. Assemble the cupolas using glue and secure the sides with black tape. Once assembled, attach to top of pumpkins using glue gun.
10. Use the silver paint pen to add details to the shutters and attach to the windows.
11. Using tape to secure the lights into place, attach the string lights to the inside of the pumpkins and cupolas. The sides are still not attached, but you will need to pull the lights from the middle pumpkin to each side pumpkin through the side holes. Make sure you angle one light into each cupola. Keep the battery pack and the on/off switch on the outside of the pumpkin in the back out of sight. I used the test button that came with the lights so it would only go off when pressed.
12. Attach the side pumpkins using a glue gun.
13. Make the accessories. Using salt dough, make your pumpkins, tombstones, witches broom, skulls, doorknobs, etc. Bake in a 200 degree oven for 1 hour (longer for thick pieces). Once cooked through and cooled, paint. Use the black pipe cleaners (twisted together) to make a creepy tree.
14. Create the base for the pumpkin. Attach foam core board to a sturdy base (thin piece of plywood or a few layers of sturdy foam core board). On top of the foam core board, glue the moss sheet and trim the edges.
15. Glue the pumpkin into place on the base, leaving enough room in the front for the cemetery and pumpkin patch.
16. Create doorway and cupola cobwebs. Using non-stick aluminum foil, draw out the cobwebs using glitter glue. Once it dries completely, pull it off the foil and attach to the roofs with craft glue.
17. Create the property and cemetery fence. Paint the wood picks black and glue together in a fence pattern (not too even).
18. Create the cemetery. I used a foam base that I covered with the fake dirt then pushed in the tombstones and the fences. Attach to the base with glue gun.
19. Create the pumpkin patch and glue to the base.
20. Attach the fence to the border of the base by poking it into the foam core board with some glue.
21. Add any additional accessories (window details, chimney, sign post, pipe cleaner spider, witch broom, front walkway and steps, etc.)
And here’s the final product!!
Other (simpler) Fun Pumpkin Decorating Ideas:
Steampunk Pumpkin (Steampumpkin):
I spray painted a craft pumpkin shiny copper. Then I drew a plate pattern with a silver paint pen and accented the lines with brads. One eye is a pirate eye patch with a painted plastic hair spray cap on top and the the other eye is a tub drain with a clock face and gear over it. The nose, mouth, and hat accessories are gears, clock parts, and misc. items I found at the hardware store. The base is just PVC pipe spray painted copper.
The Raven Pumpkin:
As an Edgar Allen Poe fan, this was a no-brainer. I printed out “The Raven” by Edgar Allen Poe on parchment paper in different fonts and cut them into strips by verse. I decoupaged the poem strips onto a large pumpkin along with a few black ravens and Poe’s face, then stuck a raven on top. Done!
Vampire Bat Pumpkin:
Start with a black craft pumpkin and glue on white and black felt for the eyes. Use black construction paper for the ears and the wings. I used bent wire hangers for the wing structure and covered them with construction paper (anyone else hear “NO WIRE HANGERS” from “Mommie Dearest” whenever anyone mentions wire hangers? Perhaps it’s just me?) Just leave a bit of extra wire at the base to poke into the pumpkin and done!
My Favorite Halloween Movies:
- Frankenstein (1931)
- Bride of Frankenstein (1935)
- Dracula (1931)
- Bram Stoker’s Dracula (1992)
- The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1923)
- Nosferatu (1922)
- The Phantom of the Opera (1925)
- House on Haunted Hill (1959)
- The Haunting (1963)
- The Evil Dead trilogy
- Halloween (1978)
- The Omen (1976)
- Rosemary’s Baby
- The Exorcist
- The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (1920)
- It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown
- The Halloween Tree
- Halloweentown series
- Hocus Pocus
- The Legend of Sleepy Hollow (The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad)
- The Haunted Mansion
- Scared Shrekless
- Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas
- Tim Burton’s Corpse Bride
- Hotel Transylvania
- Pooh’s Heffalump Halloween Movie
- Addams Family
- Addams Family Values
- The Shining (1980)
- The Rocky Horror Picture Show
- Interview with the Vampire
- Tim Burton’s Sweeney Todd
- Stephen King’s Rose Red
- Young Frankenstein
- Harry Potter series
Enjoy your pumpkin decorating and Happy Halloween!