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October 06, 2016

Heirloom Pumpkin Halloween Buckets

Ah, autumn, the season where everyone flips out and starts adorning their homes and lives with gourds and squash.

It’s been interesting to notice that with the rise of slow foods, local foods and heirloom foods, that the autumnal décor has slowly been following the trend as well.

It’s easy as pumpkin pie to find decorative heirloom pumpkins to adorn the front porch, because as we know in South Carolina, any real gourd set outside in the October heat will almost instantly start rotting

One area that is lacking in the heirloom trends department is Halloween décor though. Pumpkins for autumn are cute, pumpkins for Halloween are garish.

But it doesn’t have to be this way!

What if we want children to tote around heirloom pumpkin candy receptacles instead of these?


It only takes a little bit of paint, time and creativity to take that leering road cone orange plastic pumpkin and cute it up. And during the process, it’s a great time to teach kids about heirloom vegetables and about how uglier things shouldn’t be taken for granted – real important life lessons here.

I found this round pumpkin tote at my nearest Goodwill and set out to transform it on a warm, gentle Sunday afternoon using only paint. Pick a pumpkin online to emulate, you can be as elaborate or simple as you want here, but choose understated oranges, sage greens, or warm yellows and grays to really convey that fall-ish feeling.


Start by toning down the neon orange and painting the whole pumpkin white with acrylic paint. If I wasn’t in a use-what-you-have mood, I would have preferred to start with spray paint. But I went for the sponge brush method, and let it dry thoroughly between coats. Not giving the paint sufficient time to dry will mean huge chunks of wet paint sliding off against the slippery plastic.


For those who want to add texture to your heirloom pumpkin, dot on acrylic paint, or for bigger texture, puff paint. Let it dry extremely thoroughly, even overnight, before beginning the more fun painting. Follow your instincts and your pumpkin image of choice, layering on a base color, and using the sponge brush to add unique stripes or dapples to your new gourd.


Once it dries completely, it can be ready to go, or for an extra bit of adorableness, the plastic handle can be snipped off and a matching ribbon or piece of twine can be slid through and knotted on the ends. Sometimes we don’t have time for adorableness, but when we do, it’s so rewarding.

And that, my friends, is how you can turn a piece of orange plastic Americana from your childhood into something for the modern, tasteful adult or the modern, tasteful child who appreciates unusually-colored vegetables to use to collect tons of candy.

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