The Art of Darkness

Pumpkin Centerpieces

June 17th, 2009 by Cobwebs

I’m oh, about four months early for this post (at least in this hemisphere), but I’m on a draft-cleaning kick and I’m tired of looking at it. Think of this as giving yourself plenty of time to plan a pretty table centerpiece involving pumpkins.

You can actually keep this look year-round if you use Funkins instead of real pumpkins, so it’s not that premature. If you squint.

Anyway. Pumpkins.

  • Use a medium-to-large pumpkin as a vase: Cut the top off and scoop out the guts. Cut a piece of floral foam to fit inside, soak it in water, then put it in the bottom of the pumpkin and insert the stems of fresh flowers into the foam. Alternately, place a potted plant with trailing vines (like ivy) into the pumpkin and let the vines swirl down the middle of the table.
  • Use miniature pumpkins as candleholders: Cut off the top and scoop out the insides, then test for steadiness. If the pumpkins are a little wobbly, cut a thin slice off the bottom to level them. Group the pumpkins in the center of the table, using a variety of candle heights for added interest. (If you’re using the same size candles you can also vary the heights by stacking two pumpkins, securing the bottom one with florist’s pins.)
  • There’s always the standard jack-o-lantern. In addition to festive carving you could stencil on designs, hot-glue craft jewels all over it, or make Martha Stewart’s celestial pumpkins.
  • Arrange a variety of pillar candles or an unmatched collection of candlesticks in the middle of the table, tallest ones in the center. Scatter fall leaves, dried gourds, Indian corn, or miniature pumpkins randomly around the bases of the candles.
  • Place a large glass bowl or cylindrical vase in the center of the table and fill it with miniature pumpkins. For a little contrast, add apples or small gourds.
  • If you’re decorating a large table, make a whole pumpkin patch: Set a large pumpkin in the center of the table and place a medium-sized pumpkin on each side, about 8″ away. Space one or two small pumpkins the same distance from the medium ones, the continue down each end with three or four mini pumpkins. Fill in the spaces between pumpkins with silk leaves in fall colors.
  • Arrange a collection of bell jars along the table, each one displaying a single mini pumpkin or cluster of fall leaves.
  • Arrange a large pumpkin or assortment of fall fruits on a pedestal cake plate. Festoon with twigs of berries, ivy strands, and fall leaves.


  • If you plan to have your centerpiece in place for more than a couple of hours, it’s a good idea to put something underneath the pumpkins and any other fresh decorations to protect your tabletop. You can use plastic and hide it, or choose something like pretty ceramic plates and make them part of the decoration.
  • Some species of ivy can be mildly toxic. Don’t use fresh ivy in any edible decorations (like bowls of fruit).

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