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Innovative Ways to Enjoy Your Gourds This Harvest Season

09/23/2015 10:16PM ● Published by Kimberly Boney

Project Pumpkin

October 2015
By Kimberly Boney

It's October. The chill of fall is just beginning to creep its way into the night air. The sky is a beautiful smear of baby blue, coral, magenta and persimmon. There’s talk of perfect Halloween costumes on the tongues of North State residents big and small. And there is a sudden, irresistible craving for all things pumpkin. This harvest season, let us help you find new and interesting ways to infuse your life with the spice that only pumpkin can bring.

CARVE OUT YOUR OWN NICHE
So, traditional pumpkin carving isn’t your thing? There are plenty of decorate-without-carving methods available. Consider drilling holes into your pumpkin. It’s a cool way to add an interesting texture to your gourd without wielding a knife. We’ve seen everything from an all-over polka dot pattern to an initial to a jack-o’-lantern face done fabulously using this method. You still have to carve out the top and scoop out the center. Add a candle or battery-operated tea light to radiate your pattern across the room.

A cookie cutter can also make pumpkin decorating more fun and easy. Pick out your favorite metal designs and use a soft mallet to gently tap out the shapes onto your gourd. Be gentle – a strong arm could make for a mushy pumpkin. And that’s no fun.

GIVE YOUR GOURD A FACELIFT
The wonderful thing about having a sense of creativity is the joy that can be found in choosing the road less traveled, even where your harvest décor is concerned. If orange doesn’t go with your ensemble, whip out a paintbrush and some chalk paint and adorn your gourd with an unexpected shade. Add waxes and finishes to create a one-of-a-kind pumpkin that you’ll likely want to keep until long after Halloween.

Stickers and glitter are a fun way to adorn your squash without having to make a single cut. Decorative furniture tacks can create a unique look and can even be used to spell out Halloween-inspired words like “Eeek!” and “Boo!” Double brownie points if you paint it first.

SERVE UP SOME FUN
We’ve all seen some awesome recipes using pumpkin as the main ingredient, but have you considered using your gourd as a means of serving your food? Find an extra large pumpkin, cut off the top, scoop out the center, add a shallow plastic bowl with ice and voila! Your pumpkin has become a decorative cooler for sodas, wine or beer bottles at your Halloween shindig.

Need a fun and innovative way to serve up your veggies and dip? Use a small pumpkin, and using the same method used to create the cooler, turn that pumpkin in the ultimate dip bowl. Bet the kids will want to eat their veggies out of this! Hint: The same idea is pretty nifty for soup bowls as well. Yum!

Display lollipops for your trick-or-treaters using your drill to create holes for the sticks. You’ll be the most sought-after stop in the neighborhood.

CREATE A WHIMSICAL CENTERPIECE
Still have your drill handy? Make some holes in your pumpkin and use it to hold beautiful fall-inspired florals for your table or mantle. From faux mums to marigolds, this is the perfect way to create a beautiful conversation piece. Finish the look by adding decorative corn husks, tree trunk slices, pine cones and other natural treasures.

Use miniature pumpkins to light up your home with happiness. Pick up as many as you like, in all shapes, sizes and colors to add texture and dimension. Cut off the tops, scoop out the centers, and add candles or battery operated tea lights.

Pumpkins can also double as decorative pots for live plants. Just slice off the top, scoop out the center and add your favorite plant in a small plastic container. What a sweet way to add some green – and some orange – to your home this fall.

LET YOUR PUMPKIN TAKE CENTER STAGE
This will only work if you’ve got wee ones. And by “wee,” we mean children under eight months of age (give or take a few months, depending on your child’s size). Hunt for the largest pumpkin you can find, one that could safely hold your little one. Cut off the top, scoop out the center, carve out leg holes and turn it into a seat for your little pumpkin. It’ll bear a close resemblance to a Bumbo® seat. Grab the camera. Fingers crossed your little pumpkin will keep still long enough for you to snap a few gems. Cutest. Photo shoot. Ever.

MAKE A HEALTHY SNACK
With all of that cutting and scooping out of pumpkins, you’re left with a delicious center with tons of potential. Sort out the pumpkin seeds, rinse thoroughly, boil in a bit of salt water, drain and then seek out your favorite pumpkin seed recipe. Enjoy them over a salad, yogurt or homemade granola and celebrate the season in edible bliss.

In Print, Life+Leisure
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