If you thought those Mr. Potato Head pumpkin decoration sets were a clever way to get out of gutting a gourd while still making it look festive, then you probably don’t have a neighbor who’s into making junk-o’-lanterns.
There’s a home located next to the building where my daughter attends cooking class that is lined with pumpkins decorated with, well… junk. Wing nuts, rubber from old tires, window latches, wood from old fences, curtain ties, tacks, screws, springs, hinges, you name it and the homeowner has attached it to his pumpkins to create these amazing junk-o-lanterns.
It took me a couple weeks, but I finally mustered the nerve to wander up to the guy’s garage/workshop (he was standing outside smoking a cigarette) and inquire about his unique pumpkin family. He told me that he got the idea from a TV show a few years back and decided to make a few of his own.
When I complimented his work and asked for some pointers he looked at me strange and told me that it was as easy as it looked. Just dig around your home for unwanted items (check your junk drawer first) and nail them onto fresh pumpkins.
Seemed pretty straightforward, almost too easy, so I decided to do some research before writing this blog. Apparently, the junk-o-lantern craze is not that new. I found a few websites that gave instructions on how to craft your own junk-o-lantern. Some of the samples included a pumpkin with a drainpipe mouth, caster ears, and two eyes made out of brackets. Another photo showed a ladybug junk-o-lantern complete with upholstery-tack spots, a wing-nut head, nails for feet and an 18-gauge wire for the antennae.
Tips to getting your junk-o-lantern to last beyond Halloween include keeping it in the shade. If you place the decorated pumpkins in the sun for too long the puncture holes get a little loose and the junk will start to slip out. If junk starts slipping, simply slide in a piece of scrap wood or a toothpick to tighten things up.
Michele Cheplic writes about red-hot celebrities in POP CULTURE, fiery topics in PARENTS, sizzling recipes in FOOD, calorie burning exercises in FITNESS, and hot new kid-friendly crafts in FUN. Check out all of her articles here.