Adventures with the Drayers – Our DIY Halloween

This is our first proper Halloween in Portland – last year, we were still in the process of moving from our apartment to our house, and there was no time or energy to decorate. This year, we decided to only decorate the new window and the porch – decorations are expensive, and we have a kitchen renovation in progress!


the last time I carved an orange pumpkin was in Switzerland

We decided that we were going to carve our own pumpkins, for the first time since we were small (apart from one attempt in New Zealand in 2009, with very different pumpkins, organised – and supervised – by American friends).

We got our pumpkins from Frog Pond Farm, where we also got to meet llamas and other farm animals, and experience a Spooky Walk!

We started the day with tiny spiderweb waffles that George made so we would be energised and ready to go, then we set up a trestle table in our kitchen and got into it!

I ordered pumpkin-carving tools online and was a bit surprised at how small and basic they were – these would not have a hope against a NZ pumpkin.

Amazingly, they were more than sufficient for George to use, although I needed a sharp knife to start my cuts because I couldn’t push the blunt ends of the blades into my pumpkin. George cut off the tops, then we tried to scoop out as much as we could – but I think we didn’t scoop enough? Can anyone tell me how much you are suppose to remove?

Meanwhile, George decided to follow one of the templates supplied with the tools, and he was incredibly fast – it took me a LOT longer to carve my simple face than his intricate spider pattern!

So that was the front porch sorted! Next, we moved on to the decorations for the new window we just had installed.

Eyeball grapes

Our Friend Amanda sent me a photo a while ago of a cluster of ping pong balls with googly eyes, and it made me think, of course, I should make this much more difficult for myself and add lights, leaves, and skeletal hands!

It was a very simple process – make a hole in a ping pong ball, and either stuff a knot from the string into it and hot-glue it, or make the hole bigger and fit a fairy light inside, and stick a googly eye on it – then keep going.

It was the “keep going” part that took all afternoon, but we did it!

After dinner, we assembled the grapevines, adding leaves and skeletal hands, and hung them at the window, with some concealing faux foliage and a pompom wreath to frame our little pumpkin neon light.

Once we had the pumpkins on the porch, it at least showed willing! And for next year, we can start planning something bigger. But for this first year, it was a pretty good effort, and we felt pleased with ourselves. And we got our first (ever) trick-or-treaters, so it worked!

Here’s the video, if you want to watch us make things and see how the pumpkins look all lit up!

What did you do for Halloween? Any ideas for next year?

Published by Drayer Ink

Artist, designer, ideas person

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