If you don't have a yard or don't want to make a large totem pole, you can simply follow these instructions with smaller pumpkins to create a centerpiece. There are endless options for pumpkin totem poles. You can use different pumpkin sizes to achieve a stacking effect (large pumpkins on the bottom, small pumpkins on top). You can paint the pumpkins, in addition to or instead of, carving a design. You can even "accessorize" your totem pole with hats, scarves, or any other object. Most importantly, be creative and have fun!
Note: Steps 2-9 will be repeated for each pumpkin.
Approximate Cost of Materials: $35-40
Estimated Completion Time: 2 hours or less
• 5 or more pumpkins
• Pumpkin carving knife or serrated carving knife
• 3 five-foot wooden stakes
• Outdoor Christmas lights (clear or multicolored)
• Tape measure (or a ruler)
• Extension cord
• Permanent marker
• Garbage can
• Large spoon
For pumpkin design ideas, visit the following link:
Pumpkin Carving Patterns and Stencils
Step 1: Cover Work Area
Step 3: Measure & Draw Lines
Note: After constructing our pumpkin totem pole, we found that 3-1/2 inch lines on the pumpkins would create a more stable totem pole (instead of the original 5 inch lines). Be sure to match the measurements made in this step to the measurements made in step 12.
Step 4: Cut Pumpkin Top & Bottom
Step 6: Keep One Pumpkin Top
Step 7: Gut the Pumpkin
You also have the option to save the seeds of the pumpkins and bake them for a holiday treat! For instructions, visit the following link: Roasting Pumpkin Seeds
Step 9: Carve Design
Step 11: Go to Desired Totem Location
Note: Although the stakes in the photographs are plastic, wooden stakes are sturdier.
Step 12: Assemble Totem Pole Stakes
Warning: In order to fit the top of the pumpkin onto the top of the totem pole, you may have to hammer the stakes further into the ground once you stack all of your pumpkins in step 15.
Note: Trial and error revealed that marking 3-1/2 inch lines, instead of the original 5-1/2 inch lines, would create a more stable totem pole. This change applies to step 3 as well.
Step 13: Retrieve Lights and Extension Cord
Step 14: Wrap Lights Around Stakes
Step 15: Assemble Totem Pole
Note: If the stakes are too tall to fit the pumpkin top on, you will have to hammer the stakes into the ground until this works.