Thanksgiving Countdown Corner Nov. 14: Painting your Halloween pumpkins for Thanksgiving

Loretta Gillespie

Use your newly gilded pumpkin with rustic or shabby chic decorations, or as a formal centerpiece.

Thanksgiving Countdown Corner Nov. 14

If you bought pumpkins and ornamental gourds for Halloween and they are still firm, you can repurpose them for Thanksgiving with just a can of spray paint and a little time.

Clean pumpkins with a damp cloth and allow to dry.

There is no need to prime if you are using spray paint. Colors that work well for Thanksgiving are gold, orange, brown and copper.

Be sure to spray pumpkins in a well-ventilated area. Put them on some newspaper, then spray evenly and lightly, for the first coat.

Allow to dry well. This step is important because your pumpkin will be gummy and not hold up well if you don’t let it dry completely between coats.

Apply second coat and allow to dry. Repeat until desired depth of color is reached. (I used about four coats of brown, but on the gold one, it took only three coats).

After your final coat has completely dried, you can really get creative. Glue crystals or beads on for a glittery look, or put polka dots and/or stripes on over your solid coat. (Note: don’t use hot glue for this project, as it might dissolve your paint; use craft glue, or Loctite glue, found in the craft section of most discount stores. You can also use craft paint or paint markers for this).

Use a small sponge brush with a round head to make polka dots.

When your new pumpkins are ready, display them prominently. Use a flowerpot covered in burlap to lift your pumpkin if it needs some presence, or put them atop burlap covered cake plates.

Other ideas for painted pumpkins:

  • Initials; find a printable script that you love online and copy, then trace it onto your pumpkin and paint over the trace
  • “Welcome” or “Give Thanks”
  • Your street address

If using ornamental gourds instead of pumpkins, find where your gourd naturally sits as level as possible, then, using a drill bit about the size of a pencil, drill holes in the top portion. Insert single stems of flowers, such as mums or daises, into each hole. Place the gourds around your centerpiece, or use as a cute way to indicate to your guests where they should sit by writing their name on each gourd with a shiny paint marker. You can add water by holding your gourd under the faucet, directing water into the holes, for just a few seconds.


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