DIY: Damn Easy Pumpkin Decorating

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Six more days until San Francisco’s very favorite, super freaky, creepyspookytastic holiday. It’s officially time to get into the spirit of the season. That means putting the finishing touches on your costume, slutty or scary, putting up your DIY decorations, picking your poison and carving up some pumpkins. This is actually the first year I’ve ever decorated with pumpkins – I plan on scoring some smaller, cheaper ones at one of the produce markets on Clement Street – and while my carving skills are perhaps sub-par, my pumpkin crafting ability is off the hook. There’s a lot more you can do than just carving a spooky face. Here’s some inspiration for some uncommon pumpkins:

Spray paint: Just find a stencil online and go to town – get liberal with the drips.

Paint, paint: Pumpkins can get stacked and painted to become avant guarde art projects, or used as a canvas for spooky artwork. Pretty easy either way, just plan out what you’ll be painting and get busy.

Glitter: This produces a really cool look but be forewarned: glitter is the herpes of craft supplies so throwing down some newspaper beforehand is probably worth the 30 additional seconds it’ll take. Translucent glitters produce a tasty sugar and spice effect while bright colored glitters (or, glitter over paint) are super eye catching.

Bedazzled: Yes, like jean jackets and heavy metal purses, pumpkins can also be enhanced by some rhinestones. Get designer on it by pressing rhinestones, or hey studs, into a pattern on your pumpkin.

Etch and Core: Alright, I know we said we wouldn’t talk carving, but what about etching with a clay loop? Trace a design, and work through the rind carefully. Similarly, you can use an apple corer to punch out a message or create a design.

Characters: C’mon, Bert & Ernie, seriously? Raddest pumpkins ever. Grab some straight pins, a carver, yellow paint and some fun fur for hair and make your way to Sesame Street.

Paper Mache: Super arty? Like hideously freaky things? Experienced paper mache artist? Then you’ll probably want to opt for these creepy pumpkin mask heads. It’s pretty time intensive, but you’ll definitely succeed in scaring the crap outta the neighbor kids. All of your roommates. And maybe the guy who drives the 5-bus by your house at night.

Junk: A junk-o-lantern is also a great option because, seriously, why buy anything? Just grab a bunch of random junk from around the house and organize it into a crazy robot face.

Bonus: if you do your pumpkins close enough to Halloween, you can probably still use ’em for some DIY Pumpkin Beauty recipes too.


Images courtesy of Dollar Store Crafts,, Apartment Therapy, Craftzine,, Pintrest, Stolloween, and Dollar Store Crafts

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Amber Bouman - Crafty & Cashless

Amber Bouman - Crafty & Cashless

A freelance writer, blogger and poet based in San Francisco, Amber has written for PC World, InfoWorld, and the 16th & Mission Review. She has performed at City Hall, Litquake, the Brainwash, 16th & Mission, BlueSix, and SFSU among other places. Amber is also consummate fan of swearing, organizational freak, yoga practitioner, music geek, caffeine addict, and tattoo enthusiast who enjoys platform shoes, making out, thumb wrestling and fighting the good fight. She owns a bicycle named Gretel, a motor scooter named Elroy and a cat named Simon. She can be found in various virtual locations all over your interwebs.