Stack your jack o’ lanterns to make a unique, Halloween totem pole. This simple, whimsical approach to the pumpkin carving tradition makes it easy to display multiple pumpkins in a small space or create a unique decor for Halloween night. Plus, they light up brighter than they would with a single candle or bulb.
Just secure the pumpkins upright with a fence post or length of rebar, and use string lights to illuminate them from within. By day, adorable, but lit up on trick-or-treating night, they serve as a wayfinder and cast a spooky glow.
Tools and materials you’ll need:
- serrated knife
- 2″ hole saw (optional)
- metal fence post or length of rebar
- strand of outdoor white holiday lights
- outdoor extension cord
1. Cut and Gut the Pumpkins
Use a knife or jigsaw to cut away the top of the pumpkin, as you would for any jack o’ lantern carving project. Give the lids a fairly wide diameter because you’ll be drilling a second hole in the top to remove the stem.
Clean the seeds and guts from inside the pumpkin. (Make some roasted pumpkin seeds, obviously.)
2. Remove the Stem
To make the pumpkins stackable, you’ll need to remove the stem. Select one pumpkin that will keep its stem. This pumpkin will be placed on the top of the totem, so its stem will be the final cap on the totem pole.
You could cut the stem out using a knife or a saw, or, like I did, use a 2” hole-saw bit on a drill to cut the long stem out of the top of the pumpkin.
3. Create a Hole in the Bottom
Use the hole saw to cut out a hole in the bottom of the pumpkins, too. With one opening on top of the pumpkin and one on the bottom, you will be able to thread the pumpkins onto the fence post.
4. Carve Your Pumpkins
Get creative with your pumpkins and carve faces, your house numbers, or a word – like BOO! Carving with a jigsaw makes the job easy, but if you’re using regular knives, use a serrated knife for the most speed and accuracy. Plan to put the heavier pumpkins on the bottom of the totem.
5. Position the Stake and Attach the Lights
Anchor the fence post or piece of rebar by pushing its base into the ground. Then, wrap the post top to bottom with the strand of white lights. Make sure that the electrical plug access emerges at the bottom and can reach the outlet or an extension cord.
6. Stack Pumpkins, Large to Small
Thread each pumpkin and its lid down the fence post over the lights. Place the heavier pumpkins at the bottom.
7. Turn on the Lights!
Enjoy your customized pumpkin decoration and celebrate the season. They’re appealing during the day, but really show off their effect at night!
More Halloween DIYs:
- Faux-broken glass makes it look like your windows have been shattered
- Halloween tombstones
- Black noodles for Halloween Mac & Cheese
- Creepy eyeballs in your windows
- Sew webs on your pumpkins for unique decor
This project was originally created for DIYNetwork.com in 2015.