Each year, the week before Halloween, my husband’s job is to make one or more jack-o-lanterns with the kids. The children draw out the face they want (sometimes scary, often silly) and my husband does the cutting. It’s a tradition they all enjoy (and I enjoy having an hour to myself!).

But I also decorate other pumpkins, and my way results in less mess, and the pumpkins last longer than the cut up jack-o-lanterns.

Years ago, in a Family Fun magazine, they suggested cutting photos from magazines and gluing them to pumpkins to make odd faces. The instructions were to cut out an eye here, a mouth there, a nose from another photo, all to be combined on one pumpkin for a goofy mismatched face. If I remember correctly, I believe their idea was to use these decorated pumpkins inside, such as on the dining room table.

Great idea, I thought, but why not make it specific to my family and use them outdoors? So I took close-up photos of each family member’s face, enlarged them and printed them out on photo paper, then carefully cut out each facial feature. Some of the photos I left as is, but on others I used permanent markers to give an eye some extra color, exaggerate eye lashes, and on one made the teeth pointy while on another blacked out a few teeth, and I also added a wart here or there on the noses. Then, to make sure they wouldn’t be ruined in bad weather, I covered each piece with either clear contact paper (on both sides), or used self-sealing laminating sheets (I had these available and they worked great for this purpose). Using a tiny bit of duct tape, I taped an opened safety pin to the back of each photo to stick the pointy part into the pumpkin.

I made sure not to use all one person’s features on a single pumpkin. So, for example, one pumpkin has my daughter’s blue eye along with my oldest son’s hazel eye, then my youngest son’s nose with my mouth.

And bonus! These can be used year after year. I replace the safety pins each year, but so far the pictures have lasted very well.

On trick-or-treat evening, I place glow sticks around each pumpkin. They give off a nice glow and make the faces look awesome.


pumpkin family