pumpkin lantern craft

Make a House-o’-Lantern

By Kate Hofmann; art by Debbie Palen

Have you ever made a fairy house in the woods or your backyard? Here’s a twist that’s just right for autumn: a cozy home made from a pumpkin!

by Kate Hofmann; Art by Debbie Palen


First, you’ll need a pumpkin or a winter squash. Any size or shape will do.

Next, take an autumn walk to search for things to decorate your house with. Look for colorful leaves, pine cones, acorns and other nuts, seed pods, dried flowers, fallen twigs and bark, small stones, and whatever else nature offers. Fall is a beautiful and bountiful time to find treasures!

Now it’s time to take your decorations home and get to work. If you’d like to carve doors and windows into your pumpkin, ask a grownup for help with any tricky knife work. You can also just put decorations on the outside.

Here are a few ideas:
• Use twigs to outline the windows or divide them into panes.
• Make window boxes. Try pieces of bark or mini-pumpkins cut in half. Fill them with dried flowers and attach them under the windows with toothpicks or hot glue.
• Arrange a path of stones. Or build a staircase, a ladder, or a fence from sticks.
• Take a pine cone apart and then glue the scales on as roof shingles or a porch awning. Modeling clay, twine, and craft glue or hot glue can help you stand things up or stick them together. (Be sure to get a grownup’s help with the hot-glue gun!)


If you’d like some tiny people or animals to live in your pumpkin house, you can make those, too. Acorns and pine cones can be turned into the cutest of creatures. All you need is a little glue and creativity, and maybe some scraps of yarn or felt. You could also add furnishings. Perhaps a mossy sofa, a nutshell bathtub, acorn lanterns, or a leaf hammock?


For even more fall fun, add a table to your display and set out a meal. A piece of wood or bark can make a nice table. Collect acorn caps for plates and bowls and fill them with tiny seeds or berries. Make a teapot from an acorn. Invite everyone to gather around!


Of course, the final touch is to put some fairy lights inside your pumpkin house. Then watch it glow in the dark of an autumn night!

pumpkin lantern craft

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