Make a Pumpkin Totem Pole in Less Than 2 Hours




Introduction: Make a Pumpkin Totem Pole in Less Than 2 Hours

This set of instructions will teach you how to make a unique Halloween decoration. The pumpkin totem pole is a fun, easy activity for friends and families to do for Halloween.

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
• Hammer
• Outdoor Christmas lights (clear or multicolored)
• Newspaper 
• Tape measure (or a ruler)
• Extension cord
• Permanent marker
• Garbage can
• Large spoon
• Tape

For pumpkin design ideas, visit the following link:
Pumpkin Carving Patterns and Stencils

Step 1: Cover Work Area

Lay newspaper down on table or other large surface to avoid creating a mess from carving the pumpkins.

Step 2: Place Pumpkin

Place a pumpkin on the newspaper-covered surface.

Step 3: Measure & Draw Lines

With the stem as the center, use the tape measure and permanent marker to measure and draw two perpendicular 3-1/2 inch lines on the top and bottom of pumpkin.

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

With the carving knife, cut a circle on the top and bottom of the pumpkin in order to create a 3-1/2 inch diameter hole.

Step 5: Remove Top & Bottom

Remove the top and bottom of the pumpkin.

Step 6: Keep One Pumpkin Top

Keep the top of one pumpkin. This pumpkin will be at the top of your totem pole. Throw away the rest of the tops and bottoms.

Step 7: Gut the Pumpkin

With the large spoon, scrape the inside of the pumpkin. Throw away the pulp and seeds into the garbage can.

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 8: Draw Design

Use the permanent marker to draw desired design onto the pumpkin.

Step 9: Carve Design

Use the carving knife to cut out your design. Throw away the pumpkin pieces into the garbage can.

Step 10: Repeat

Repeat steps 2-9 with the remaining pumpkins.

Step 11: Go to Desired Totem Location

Go to the desired location of the pumpkin totem pole with the hammer, three stakes, and the tape measure.

Note: Although the stakes in the photographs are plastic, wooden stakes are sturdier.

Step 12: Assemble Totem Pole Stakes

Mark a 3-1/2 inch line in the desired spot. An iPhone worked well for us. Using the hammer, drive the stakes into the ground 3-1/2 inches apart from each other. Make sure the stakes are sturdy.

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

Retrieve the Christmas lights and extension cord. Connect the extension cord to the Christmas lights.

Step 14: Wrap Lights Around Stakes

Wrap the Christmas lights around the stakes. Use any type of tape to ensure the lights remain attached to the stakes.

Step 15: Assemble Totem Pole

Bring out the pumpkins and lower carefully one by one around the stakes. Leave the top pumpkin to place last. 

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.

Step 16: Plug Extension Cord in & Enjoy!

Plug in the extension cord at night and enjoy!

Congratulations! You have now made your very own pumpkin totem pole! Be prepared to start a decoration trend next Halloween.

Thank you for using these instructions. Please comment if any step is unclear.

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    10 years ago on Introduction

    This is awesome! I am thinking for posts maybe some bamboo or lighter wood and a white string of lights so that it will blend in more. I can't wait to try it.


    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

    Thank you for the feedback! We also found that using wooden stakes would be better. Hope you enjoy making one!