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Pumpkin vines are nature’s container storage.

Their beautiful fruits have been used for countless centuries as dippers, bird feeders, storage boxes, hats, vases, dinner bowls, musical instruments, candle holders, salt shakers and anything else you can think of.

They are also excellent as a basis for festive decorations.

A trip to a farmer’s market (or an online search) will provide you with many dried pumpkins in many shapes.

Now, for a special Halloween or Christmas decorating project, look for dried bottle gourds with a round bottom and a tall, thin top, gourds shaped like large peanuts or gourds, or even the size and shape of eggs. When dry, these pumpkins don’t have the colorful skin of smaller pumpkins, making them a fantastic canvas for decorations.

Smaller pumpkins could be Christmas tree ornaments, while larger pumpkins could be decorations like jack-o’-lanterns.

Dried gourds usually have been drying for at least a year, sometimes two, and the exterior can be dirty or even moldy. Spend a minute washing them with a copper scrubber. After drying, you can also use a bit of sandpaper to smooth the hard outside.

Next, imagine what could become of your pumpkin. Pumpkin-shaped pumpkins could become a long-lasting jack-o’-lantern. A bottle gourd could become a tall hat Santa, a snowman, or a penguin.

For example, let yourself be inspired by Christmas cards or holiday napkins for your pumpkin.

Cover your pumpkin in a primer of acrylic paints and let dry. You can easily sketch a design over the primer with a pencil and then go in with brushes to paint the details.

After painting, cover with a clear top coat to preserve the pumpkin – this is especially important if you plan to display it outdoors.

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