And now, the results of my annual pumpkintorture session:

Missoni! Yes, Missoni-inspired pumpkins. I decided I needed pumpkins to match my plates. (For the “It’s the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown Party” that I still need to plan.)

Aren’t they fun? They’re also simple and quick. I did them in about an hour, not including dry time. It’s just paper and glue. (You could also paint, which might look better, but that sounds hard.) Republic designer Audrey Tate even made zigzag templates for you to download. Pumpkin One, Pumpkin Two, and COLOR! (Not pictured.)

Here’s how:

Get a pumpkin, real or fake. If you’re going to all this trouble, it’s nice to keep your pumpkin around for a few years. I’ll show you how to make the faux look real. (My missonis above? Fake. Yep! And some of the pumpkins next to them are real. Tough to tell, isn’t it?)

PUMPKIN ONE: This pumpkin was $10 at Target. I like that the ribs and surface are uneven, like a real pumpkin.

Next, take the pumpkin outside, and paint it. The perfect white pumpkin paint is Krylon Fusion in Dover White. This takes minutes, since Fall in Arizona means HOT weather and quick-drying paint.

This is optional, but I think this paint looks more real than the finishes that come on the faux pumpkins.If your faux pumpkin is orange, I’d paint that, too — in a satin finish, whatever color you want.

If you have a real pumpkin stem on hand — which is the trick to making these look authentic — then pry off the plastic stem before painting. If you don’t have one, tape off the plastic stem.

Next, download, print and cut your zig zags. Use regular-weight paper. You’ll probably need three or four print-outs to go around the pumpkin.

I cut the zigzags above into two portions for my Target pumpkin: one zig zag larger than the other. Next, coat the back of the cutout with Mod Podge in Matte. Stick it on your pumpkin, and top with another coat of Mod Podge. Let dry. Continue around the pumpkin until it’s finished.

TIPS: Some inks will get smeared by the Mod Podge, and you’ll have grey glue smudges on your white pumpkin. Just wipe them off while still wet with a damp paper towel.

TO MAKE IT LOOK REAL: (Remember, you have pried off the fake stem.) I learned this trick from Lynne Bonnell, the velvet pumpkin queen. Buy pumpkins with good stems, and save the stems after Halloween. Pry or cut them off your pumpkins, and let them sit out in a ventilated area, like your garage, and dry until next year. When dry, scrape dried squash off the bottom of the stem, and attach to a faux pumpkin with Quick Grip adhesive.

If you want a stem right now, glue won’t hold it, but there is a way:  buy a pie pumpkin, hack off the stem, cut all the squash off the bottom, and use an awl to poke a hole in the bottom of the stem about two inches deep.

To attach, stick one end of a toothpick into the top of your faux pumpkin, and attach the stem to the other end. Handle with care. Next year, glue it on.

PUMPKIN TWO: It was difficult to get the spacing even between my zigzag rows, so for the second pumpkin, I used Audrey Tate’s template and printed it on cream-colored paper so that the in-between spacing was already in place. If your pumpkin is orange, print the template on orange paper.

And remember that you can make your zigzags go any direction you want.


Templates: Pumpkin One, Pumpkin Two, and color (not pictured — and in my defense, I tried, but my printer was out of color ink — something a black and white acolyte tends not to notice).