First, I should tell you, there are two ways to make a succulent pumpkin centerpiece.
There’s the easy way.
And the hard way.
Guess which one we’ll be doing?
If you said “the totally easy, lazy person’s way” you guessed right. But, just in case you want to know the hard way…
Because you like options….
Because you want to kill time in the spirit of Halloween….
Because you don’t own a hot glue gun….
Here is the hard way…
The hard way: Use a serrated knife to remove the top portion of your pumpkin. Consider how many succulents you want to fit into your pumpkin planter when making the opening. Use a spoon to scoop out the stringy, seedy innards of the pumpkin. Fill its cavity with potting soil. Plant succulents and admire.
When the pumpkin begins to show signs of age, (shriveling, wrinkling, just like on a human–or a hotdog microwaved on high for over 50 seconds), you can bury the pumpkin planter directly in your yard. Make sure the entirety of the pumpkin is hidden and only the succulents are visible above the soil line. The succulents will continue to grow and as the pumpkin decomposes, it will provide natural fertilizer. Not so hard, really.
But, for the rest of us who have the attention span of a gnat. Hello? Hello, did you make it this far?
The easy way:
1. Begin with a pumpkin. I chose a white one (this variety is so aptly named “Casper”) with beguiling green splotches since I imagined the green would blend nicely with the green of the succulents. But plain white, or regular ol’ orange, would look nice, too.
2. This next step almost feels like cheating it’s so easy and no knives are necessary–only finger-singeing hot glue, so it’s still a project that requires adult supervision and/or an adult who knows her own level of coordination and is, therefore, never more than a few feet from an ice-stocked freezer in-case-of-a-glue-gun-emergency.
Glue reindeer moss (available at Michael’s Craft Store and most nurseries; did you know this stuff also comes in a chartreuse shade?) directly to the top of your pumpkin to form a moss base.
3. Continue gluing until you have created a nice foundation for the succulents. See that bald spot in the picture below? Don’t leave a bald spot. I happened to take this photo before I filled it in. Repeat: no bald spots!
4. Use a knife, your fingernail, or scissors to snip most of the stem off you succulents because you want to give the illusion that your succulents are planted in the moss, not on the moss. Don’t worry, succulents are tenacious things and can eventually re-root through the glue and moss.
5. Now apply a bit of hot glue to the underside of your succulent and press it into the moss.
6. Keep gluing the undersides of your pinched succulents (as in pinched-bottomed, not stolen) and adding them to the arrangement until it looks right and/or you have run out of room.
And you will end up with something like this…
Just in case you’re in need of a spooky surface on which to perch your pumpkin centerpiece, here’s an idea. You can make a “Book of spells” book prop using an old text book or other hardcover book that you never care to see the cover of again. The beauty of this project is you get to reuse a book that might have otherwise be destined for the recycling bin and make a cool book prop: win win!
Paint your hardcover book with black paint and use a white, gold or silver pen (or paint) to write “Brews and Enchantments” or “Spells and Potions”, or whatever else piques your interest, on the spine. I used a template for a printed cover from the Crafty Cupboard (you can, too, by clicking here), aged the paper by painting it with a mixture of 1 T instant coffee mixed into 1/4 cup of hot water. When the paper dried, I ironed it smooth and glued it to the cover.
I also have the Crafty Cupboard to thank for the “poison” apple inspiration. To make your own, hunt down a very red, shiny apple from your local produce aisle. Take a single bite then use a paint or basting brush to coat the exposed flesh with lemon juice to thwart oxidation. Quick aside: I set mine out for a party and, two days later, it still hasn’t turned brown (yay!), but the skin around the exposed flesh is starting to pucker (boo!).
And, with that, I wish you happy it’s-almost-Halloween decorating!