We made it! We survived a brutal summer and now we get to celebrate one of my favorite times of year – autumn! Just the word conjures up wonderful thoughts – cozy clothes, crisp weather and comfort food. The season even comes ideally attired with its perfect accessory: pumpkins!

Pumpkins are the “little black dress” of autumn. Dress them up, dress them down, spook them out or adorn them with mums and fall foliage. No matter what, these wonderful orbs of orange (or white) make the season – and your home – a festival of fun. With a little planning, you can put these guys to work and they will carry you from Halloween to Thanksgiving.

I am not a faithful holiday decorator. It’s not that I don’t love the pulled-together look and the opportunity to be creative, I just don’t want to put it all away. I guess that is one great thing about decorating for Fall. Decorations you put up at the first of October can stick around until the end of Thanksgiving. I like that. Of course, the giant cackling witch or the inflatable pilgrim have an expiration date, but if we use Fall’s perfect accessory, pumpkins, as our go-to, we are set!

Here are two ideas to get you started. Let’s focus on the front door area.

Pumpkin Topiary. This is so versatile, so simple, so elegant, so perfect, so… here we go.

McKinney Online - Fall 2011

1. Start with a large pot or urn.

2. Pick out three pumpkins in descending size (think snowman).

3. Place the largest pumpkin in the container, making sure its stem has been removed. The top needs to be fairly flat.

4. Take a wire hanger, straighten it out and stick it through the top of the base pumpkin. Next, you thread the medium pumpkin, stacking it. Make sure the stem is cut off on this one too.

5. Stick the wire through the base of the small pumpkin. You have your basic pumpkin topiary!

6. Decorate with fall leaves, twinkling lights or flowers.

7. Write “BOO” down the pumpkin (one letter per pumpkin). When Halloween is over, turn the pumpkins around and the topiary is still perfect for Thanksgiving! Also, consider using foam pumpkins. They will be much lighter and can be used year after year.

Pumpkin/leaves luminaries. This is a kid-friendly craft.

McKinney Online - Fall 2011

Assemble supplies: paper lunch sacks, orange, red and yellow tissue paper, LED tea lights, glue and scissors.

On the seamless side of the paper sack, cut out pumpkin or fall leaf shapes. Cut squares of tissue paper to fit the shape and glue on the inside of the sack. Insert LED tea lights and voila, you have luminaries to line your front walk, or sit in your windows.

Another version of pumpkin luminaries uses real pumpkins. This is a little more labor intensive, but you get to use a power tool. Life is all about trade-offs.

Cut a hole in the base of the pumpkin and remove seeds and fiber. Drill holes all over the pumpkin, insert lights and you have pretty pumpkin luminaries. A little tip: if you spray antiseptic spray (like Bactine) on the cuts in your pumpkins, they will last much longer.

I hope these simple ideas get your wheels spinning. Have fun and enjoy creating a lovely fall scene. It will make you smile every time you see it, and give those neighbors something to talk about. After the summer, we need something cool to talk about.


About the author: Simri Davis lives to read and loves to live in McKinney with her husband and three children.


(This story is reprinted from the October-November 2011 issue of McKinney Magazine)