plastic pumpkins

Family Fun with Pumpkin Totem Poles

Are you looking to create some new magic this Halloween? We have just the trick…a pumpkin totem pole is a wonderful project to do with kids of all ages.

  • Here’s what you’ll need:
  • Wooden dowel or pole
  • Container
  • Bricks or rocks
  • Pumpkins – small, large or an assortment
  • Weatherproof paints
  • Brushes
  • Newspaper


Easy as ABC:

  • Choose a location for your totem pole. A sidewalk going up to the front door would be fun for soon-to-be trick or treaters.
  • Will the pumpkin totem pole be viewed from every side? If so, you’ll need to create interest on all sides of the pumpkins.  If only on one side, you’ll have less work to do.
  • Place the pole on the ground and line up the pumpkins (in order) so the pole is slightly shorter than the top of the last pumpkin. (You want the top of the pole to be just below the top of the last pumpkin so it’s inside the pumpkin and not seen.)  Before you cut, remember the pole must be hammered into the ground at least 12 inches to allow for needed stability.
  • Set a container (12-14 inches in diameter) on the ground. In the center hole of the container, use a hammer or mallet to firmly anchor the pole in the soil. Fill to the top with rocks or bricks for added stability, then cover with hay or leaves.
  • Before you paint, start with clean pumpkins. Remove the dried stems or ‘handles’ from the pumpkins. Do this so they will neatly stack on top of each other. Carefully cut a hole into the bottom and top of each pumpkin that is just slightly larger than the diameter of the pole. (If you’re working with children, it’s wise to pre-cut the holes ahead of time so knives can be cleaned and stored away.)
  • Pick a dry work area and cover it with newspaper for quick clean-up at the end.
  • -Line up your paints and brushes and let the fun begin.
  • When you’re finished painting, allow the pumpkins to dry completely before handling.
  • Then, carefully push each pumpkin onto the pole. Keep them centered for the best results!
  • When the last pumpkin is in place, it’s time to let your imagination run wild with accessories. Witch’s hats, wigs, caps, potted ivies or grasses to name just a few possible ideas.