The art of etched and carved pumpkins by Martha Stewart

Raven\'s way Halloween vignette by Martha Stewart

The naive jack-o’-lantern of your childhood does not suffice anymore. Like everything else in life, Halloween decors took on a sophisticated trail.

We may have to thank Martha Stewart for putting more pressure on us. But when you look at the results, the extra efforts are worth it. You start by grouping pumpkins to make a table centerpiece or an outdoor vignette.

With a little skill and patience, everyone can reproduce these striking pumpkins. The October issue of Martha Stewart Living comes with all the templates and a full set of instructions with the tools you need. A version of Denizens of the Dark is also available online.

A few shopping tips

Look at your space and select the best place to set your vignette. Use the provided templates or draw your own. Figure out how many pumpkins you will need based on your overall composition and your space layout before you hit the farm stand or the pumpkin patch. Bring your templates with you. If it is your first attempt at etching, buy a couple extra pumpkins to practice.

Stop by the garden center and buy moss. The idea is to create a scene so do not neglect the small decorative elements. Putting moss under and surrounding the pumpkins is crucial to create natural scenery. Better yet, brush some yogurt on the surface, mist often to create an aging look. Some people suggest mixing the moss with yogurt. Try to temporary aging the walls and the rest of your decor.

If you are really into it, you can mix insect props, fall vegetables and other Halloween décor items. You can buy them or rent several pieces at a prop shop near you.

Opt for pumpkins of the right sizes and shapes with slightly flat faces because it is easier to transfer the designs on them. Varying the sizes and shapes of the pumpkins usually looks better.

Etching versus carving

Harvested scenes with pumpkins by Martha Stewart

You mix these two techniques to vary the illuminations of your composition. That is a huge part of the Wow factor. Varying the depth of etching is little bit like varying the line strength on a drawing. What you should recall is that the more pared skin, the brighter the design will glow.

Some suggestions on how to proceed

The outdoor scenes full of watchful ravens, screeching cats, and fluttering moths will please children and adults. Do not overlook key design elements. For example, the rickety picked fence unites the row of three pumpkins in a depiction of a farmer’s field. If it is your first time, I suggest you start by replicating Martha’s vignettes. It is best to gain some experience before thinking of designing your own Halloween scenes.

Apparently, you will be able to enjoy your carved pumpkins until the Thanksgiving celebrations in the United States. For your information, we celebrate Thanksgiving the second Monday of October in Canada.

Flyaway party favors for Halloween

Organize a carving event

Getting help will reduce your stress and add fun to the whole thing. So do not be shy and invite a few friends to participate in the pumpkin carving. It is a fun afternoon activity. Plan a dinner after the carving session to thank your friends.

Why not distribute the flyaway favors that night? This is another impressive creation from Martha’s team. Fill a brown paper bag with candies. Cut thin strips into a second lunch bag and make sure you stop short of the base. Place the bag filled with candies inside the cut bag. Insert a small branch with an inch or two inside the bag. Cinch the tops of both bags and secure with black twine.

Learn more: Denizens of the Dark by Martha Stewart
Learn more: Flyaway Favors by Martha Stewart

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  • studio wellspring
    September 19, 2007 at 13:28

    i host something haloweeny every year and i’ve been thinking a lot lately about what to do this year. thanks so much for this informational & inspiring post.

  • Jenn
    September 20, 2007 at 11:14

    it must be halloween season soon!
    i always loved carving pumpkins with my parents growing up and now i’m really anxious to start the trend with my own family! great tips and love this post!


  • At Home with kim vallee
    October 6, 2007 at 00:57

    Parents give more design ideas for decorating your pumpkins for Halloween

  • rogers place
    October 25, 2007 at 00:21

    Halloween again. Before long we’ll need professionals to carve our pumpkins. Every year they just get more complex.

    Happy Halloween