Introduction: Pumpkin Family House Party Decoration

Our local area did a Halloween trail to raise money for the local cinema who have been closed most of the year due to COVID, and also to entertain the kids who will be missing out on trick or treating this year.
Our house is at the end of a cul-de-sac, near a cut through path which lots of people use to get to the park so I knew we'd get a good number of families coming past, but also its already a bit spooky going down the unlit path so I didn't want to do anything actually scary. Also my kid is scared of everything (including the Care Bears) so we definately didn't want anything even slightly scary.
I don't know why several of my photos have turned upside down when I uploaded them. If anyone knows how to fix this (on an android mobile) I'd be grateful for some advice.


- black sugar paper
- orange tissue paper
- sellotape
- scissors
- spray mount

Step 1: The Plan

The main things that influenced the design were
1. We have massive windows that people walking past look in all the time anyway, so we wanted to use that
2. It was very likely to rain the whole Halloween weekend so we didn't want anything outside
3. We needed to be able to continue living in the house, watching TV in the front room etc
4. We wanted to have the option of turning it "off"
5. It needed to be not scary
The idea came quite quickly, a pumpkin head family with tentacle legs (no hands, becauseI can't draw hands). Then over a few beers the idea turned into a plan.
In the main downstairs room we had a gramophone and 2 adults cheers-ing while upstairs would be a bit more chaotic - 2 pumpkins kissing in the little window (kissing=definately not scary, which is important) and kids would be running riot in the main upstairs window.

Step 2: Making the Pumpkin People

We considered using cardboard for the silhouettes and had a massive IKEA box that would have worked if we'd gone for a simpler idea, but once we thought of having one of the kids hanging from the light fitting that was clearly not going to work.
Instead I used black sugar paper (the kind you used a lot in primary school) and scissors (could have used a craft knife but it was easier to get the long curves with scissors).
I've thing I'd recommend is marking out the height of your window on the floor or table so you can try your people against the marks to make sure they'll actually fit on the window.
I started with the main window so that if I ran out of time I'd still have something. It probably took 6 hours to cut out all the silhouettes, but that I probably would have been more efficient if it wasn't 2020 and I wasn't looking for something to distract me from the news.

Step 3: Installing the Pumpkin Family

If I had sensibly checked if the spray mount can contained any spray mount (no. No it didn't) the installation would have gone quite quickly. But I didn't. Then I bought some spray mount for sticking carpet tiles down. And then I decided to use it anyway - actually it was fine. It was messy and normal spray mount you might use for craft would definately be better, but it did the job and we got the residue off with alcohol, so no harm done.
I used the gigantic IKEA box I'd previously rejected to protect the floor while spraying the spray mount onto the silhouettes and put the biggest silhouettes up first. For the big ones especially you really need 2 people as the paper flops over and tries to stick to itself.
It took around 3 hours to install the silhouettes and the tissue paper (see the next step), though you could be a lot more slap dash than we were and it would still look fine.
We wanted to add another colour for the love heart over the kissing couple and in the glasses of the people downstairs. For these I just stuck the silhouettes up like normal then cut a triangle of red tissue paper the right size and stuck it to the sugar paper using sellotape. Originally I planned to cut a hole in the orange paper where the red bits were but actually they looked fine without so I didn't bother. If you used colours that were less similar then you might need to do that extra step.

Step 4: Adding the Orange Tissue Paper to Make It Complete

So far we had some silhouettes, but because the house has all our stuff in it you couldn't really see them (in the second picture for this step the silhouettes are up but you can't really see anything spooky from outside). Also we need to be able to do normal stuff like eat and watch TV without being on display to everyone on the Halloween trail.
The answer was tissue paper! Lots of orange tissue paper to be exact. We used sellotape to stick the tissue paper together into bigger sheets. I started with the smallest window (the one with the kissing pumpkins) and realised that if I just stuck the top of the paper to the window frame it stayed in place AND hung with a slight gap at the bottom, meaning the condensation (inevitable in a bedroom) stayed on the window and not on the tissue paper - I think it would look pretty awful if the paper was all wet and discoloured.
For the one outward opening window we stuck the tissue paper on all round, but for the rest we just stuck the top down and let gravity so the rest. For the massive window we made 2 sheets, one for the top half and one for the bottom half.

Step 5: Turn on the Light

The pumpkin family looked best after dark, which is about 4:30 at the moment. We also wanted to be able to stop being a pumpkin house at short notice. The great thing about this design is that all we need to do was to turn the lights on (lampshades removed) to have the display on (I thought we'd need to add in lamps but the main lights were bright enough) and we just closed the curtains to make them disappear (not entirely, but unless you were looking for it you wouldn't see the display).
Although it did take quite a lot of time to make the pumpkin family, we're stuck in the house anyway this year so it was something to do. On Halloween night I could hear kids outside shouting "mum look! They're kissing. Yuck!" And it felt good.
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