Fall is my favorite season! Hands down. The crisp air? The flavors? The fashions? YAAAAS. I own 11 pairs of boots in a locale that is 80 degrees or warmer most months of the year just for this 6 weeks of gloriousness. And yes, I counted. Eleven.
So obviously I'm going to decorate for Thanksgiving as well as Halloween, even if I won't host it at my house this year. It just brightens my day coming home to a festive house this time of year. There's something hopeful and nostalgic about it!
And apparently I'm not alone in that sentiment. Let's take a closer look at America's pumpkin consumption, by the numbers:
Good gourd, that's a lot of pumpkins, you're probably thinking. And you'd be right! The sad part is that nearly all of them wind up in a landfill, as these are not of the eating variety.
Living greener means thinking about how to reduce, recycle, and reuse, so that means reusing parts of my sustainable Halloween. But how does one upcycle a gourd, hm? It is legit a vegetable, lest we forget.
Never fear! Here's how to sass up your squash, y'all!
Some of my gourds were a little worse for wear...
So I riffled through my craft bin and stumbled across a gold paint pen. Bingo! Are paint pens exactly GOOD for the environment? No. Absolutely not. But I already own it, so I won't be contributing to the supply and demand chain, and so I might as well us it to upcycle some pumpkins instead of buying a bunch of plastic, imported crap to decorate my lovely abode. And getting more joy out of something before you discard (OR COMPOST!) it is a more sustainable mindset, and learning to think greener is half of what this blog is about.
We've been so conditioned to just throw things out and buy more crap because it's "easier" or we "don't have time" and that mentality 1) costs you a lot of money and 2) costs the planet and 3) I don't know what Target you're going to, but upcycling your pumpkins is way faster than suffering through that purgatory of a checkout line. Ugh.
This upcycling is alarmingly easy.
I did all three of these within one obnoxious Selena Gomez song. And unless you went super crazy (in a good way), your pumpkins are conventional and covered in wax. So the pen moves incredibly easily across the surface of the pumpkin! Not up for a more intricate design? I just traced the natural creases in the pumpkin for some, and loved the result. For my lumpier little squashies, I roughly ran the pen over the surface of the pumpkin for a more textured look.
It both adds a touch of glam to your pumpkins while camouflaging some of their imperfections and age spots. I like to call it giving them a Joan Rivers.
These old-made-new-again little lovelies are decking out both the in and outside of my house right now, and make for the cutest table settings, should you be doing a Friendsgiving this year!
So if you've carved your pumpkins? Awesome! Try to also compost them. Too lazy for carving? We should be friends. But give those babies a second life and show your friends you're fancy AF. Before you compost them.
Literally the only things I purchased to transition my home from Halloween to Thanksgiving this year were the sunflowers and mums, and those are compostable and came out to a grand combined total of $8.00. How much did you spend?!
Feeling extra crafty? Hit the patchouli a little too hard, and ready to go full blown hippie? Or are you stone cold broke yet feelin' festive? You are in the right spot, my odiferous Martha wannabes. I've got another crazy (eco-friendly) idea below.
I'm both too cheap and too lazy to buy a fall wreath for my front door, but it looked distinctly unfinished without one. So what's an amateur blogger to do? Raid the backyard, of course.
(Some of you are laughing at me already. But you wouldn't keep reading unless I did a couple zany things, and also I was also raised by a woman who pulls Spanish moss off the trees to use around the base of her indoor plants. Side note: there aren't those dreaded little bugs in there until it's on the ground. DON'T pick it up off the ground, fellow crafters.)
Meet Virginia Creeper.
This sneaky vine capitalizes on it's similar appearance to poison ivy, and you'll find it running amok all over the South. It is utterly harmless, unlike it's three leafed compatriot.
Sometimes juvenile plants have only three leaves for part of the vine, but remember, poison ivy only ever has three. So if you see more than three leaves, live boldly.
Virginia Creeper is not only plentiful and a nuisance, it's highly pliable and makes for a great wreath base. Being both lazy and short on time, I literally just yanked some off the fence, ran my fist down the length of the vines to strip the shoots from the main vine, and wound it into an imperfect rustic little circle.
I secured the form with floral wire from the Halloween display.
But any wire, including twisty ties, will work just fine.
I fell in love with that twisty, minimalist wreath, and almost left it just like that, or hit some of the pieces with the gold paint pen, but I figured I'd do more for you readers who like a little more pizzazz.
I've had a roll of burlap ribbon kicking around the house for God knows how long, so today was its day to shine. I wound it around the wreath and tied it in a bow, and then grabbed the leftover wheat floral filler that hung from the fireplace for the Halloween mantle.
Remember this stuff?
I dusted it roughly with that same paint pen for an extra sheen and a "touch of class".
Then I grabbed several sprigs at a time and jammed them into the floral wire ties I'd used to hold the whole thing together. Viola! A rustic wreath!
I love this little goober, but I also love that since it cost me nothing to put together, I'm not going to hoard it up in my attic for a year. It will likely wind up on some compost heap, or behind the shed at my house, biodegrading as nature intended.
So if you're feeling crafty or a hit that patchouli essential oil extra hard this weekend, I want you to get out there and send me photos of your pumpkin upcycles and sustainable decor! And remember to have fun with it... even if it comes out wretched, it will be a hilarious story for your girlfriends later.