[Note from Frolic: We are so excited to have Nancy Naigle, author of ‘Christmas Angels‘ guest posting on the site today! Take it away, Nancy!]
It’s Fall Y’all! That means we’re just days away from Halloween, then a month until Thanksgiving, and then a few weeks until Christmas. I’ve heard it referred to as HallowThanksMas, and I get it… it does kind of become a blur of activities. But I’m not complaining. I love all seasons and holidays and I love getting ready for them.
For the next three months we’ll be scaring, sharing, caring and decorating like crazy. Whatever you do, have fun with it and get someone to join in on the fun be it a friend, child, spouse or your mom.
First, you’ll need to decide on technique. Will you carve, paint, or bedazzle your Jack-o-lantern this year? Will you design something scary, decorative, use a template, or have a theme? What’s your pumpkin pleasure? Tall and oval, squatty or round?
I know. I know. It’s a lot to think about. I mean this isn’t just drooling down the candy aisle trying to pick out the best candy, or the kind you won’t eat yourself if you’re like me!
I’ve tried lots of creative things over the years to turn my perfect pumpkin into a Jack-o-lantern. Painting a solid pumpkin means no candlelight, but they last through both October and November and there’s something to be said for that. If you’re not great with a paintbrush, bedazzle that pumpkin with sequins, beads, or studs. A quick, cool process that yields great results.
Templates are easy to find these days. Simply print one out and then use a toothpick or pushpin to poke an outline of the design on the flesh of the pumpkin before you start carving. You might want to use a marker to indicate the parts that will be cut all the way through. No worries though. If you accidentally remove a piece that was supposed to stay, simply stick a toothpick into the piece and press it back into place. A bandage will only make him look cuter, or scarier, too!
The last couple of years I’ve stepped up my game and done extravagant designs by peeling the orange skin and leaving the light-colored inner flesh exposed so that part will light up, forgoing the old cut and remove blocks technique that’s so popular. I peel the design using a few chisel tools to make a 360-degree design that looks great from any angle. You can achieve great results by poking holes with your power drill into the pumpkin too.
To keep your fresh pumpkin Jack-o-lantern from rotting too quickly, here are a few tricks I’ve found success with that might help you.
- Give your pumpkin a nice bath in bleach water to remove any bacteria. Rinse the pumpkin inside and out in a bucket or your kitchen sink of water with 2/3 cup of bleach added. It might take a few spins to get it all rinsed out well. Take your time. When done, set aside and let dry well.
- Forget the candles when lighting up your design. Not only are they a fire hazard, but they’ll increase the rotting process too. Especially if you use scented candles! Use a battery-operated candle or flashlight instead. Don’t forget the batteries.
- Try spritzing Jack each day. Water with a few drops of bleach should do it.
- If you see your prize-winning effort starting to wilt, you can dump him in an ice bath, or pop him in the freezer for a while. Unfortunately, once they begin to wilt Jack’s days are numbered.
Here’s the thing. Make it fun. We’re heading into the most family-friendly time of the year from Halloween to New Year’s Day. Celebrations galore. Count your blessings. Don’t feel bad turning on the Hallmark Channel in October. Countdown to Christmas movies begin airing in the middle of the month. I’m already picking up the holiday novels I’ll be reading through the holidays…yes, all three of them.
Here’s an idea for you. Why not make a HallowThanksMas stack of three themed pumpkins representing all of the holidays? Why not? I’d opt for the synthetic pumpkins for this idea. Not only will they not rot, but they do provide a smooth easy carving surface.
If you decide to go the “fake” pumpkin route, start at the bottom create and stack one of each:
Christmas theme – pretty ornament design, Santa, Frosty the Snowman, a nativity, or red, green, silver and gold always get the idea across.
Thanksgiving – It’s Fall Y’all, Give Thanks carved or simply use caulk to write the words out in script. When it dries simply spray paint the whole thing for a really neat 3D look. A cornucopia always looks pretty.
Halloween – paint, carve, bedazzle or peel. Have fun! Go spooky, scary, fun or wild.
Cut a hole through the top and bottom of each pumpkin and thread a piece of PVC down through them to keep them from toppling over. Leave the pumpkins out through all three holidays or simply remove each holiday pumpkin as the holiday passes. I can’t wait to hear how you’re going to get geared up for the upcoming holidays. 3-2-1! GO!
About the Author:
USA Today bestselling author Nancy Naigle writes small-town love stories and women’s fiction. Having published over twenty-five novels, in 2018 two of her novels, Christmas Joy and Hope at Christmas, became Hallmark Original Movies. Nancy also wrote the two novelizations of the Christmas in Evergreen Hallmark Originals. This year Nancy released Christmas in Evergreen: Letters to Santa, The Christmas Shop and on October 15th Christmas Angels will make it to bookstore and e-tailers everywhere. A native of Virginia Beach, she now calls North Carolina home.
Download a free series checklist from Nancy’s website, www.NancyNaigle.com, and visit her on social media.
Find Her Here:
Christmas Angels by Nancy Naigle, out now!
Growing up, Liz Westmoreland dreamed of taking over her grandparents inn located in the small mountain town of Antler Creek only for it to be sold before she ever got the chance. While browsing the internet, she stumbles upon a listing for what looks to be the picturesque inn and it’s set to go to auction. Liz places a bid, and by a miracle, wins the auction. But when she gets there she finds the property in significant disrepair.
When Matt Hardy narrowly lost the inn and property that butted his land, he just hoped it wasn’t another city slicker coming to make matters worse after the previous owners gutted the place for an art gallery. But the minute he recognized the sweet, freckle-faced girl from his childhood and heard her plans to reopen the inn, he jumps at the chance to help his childhood crush restore a place where he made so many fond memories.
While working on repairs, Liz and Matt discover her grandmother’s collection of angels in one of the cabins. When the angels start mysteriously showing up all over the inn, she begins to look at them as reassurance―that restoring the inn is what she’s meant to do. But when an accident leaves Liz feeling like she made a mistake, will Matt―and the residents of Antler Creek―be able to show Liz that she’s found a home? And possibly true love as well?