Polka Dot Pumpkin Lanterns

October brings shorter days and cosy evenings; fires are lit and leaves are falling from the trees while the mornings are becoming misty and moody. October is also the month of Halloween. This month I decided to use pumpkins to create a slightly different weekend project. This is a great project to do with the kids as they love to get stuck in to the messiness of pumpkins and the effect is so stylish.

What you need

  1. Pumpkin - A large pumpkin or a few smaller ones. I harvested my own using Unwins Pumpkin which I sowed earlier in the summer but you can get the large pumpkins in most supermarkets during October.
  2. Drill - A hand held drill and matching drill bits, Ideally you will need a lightweight drill which is easy to hold and is battery powered such as this Bosch one.
  3. Candles - Tea light candles - I love the Irish Duffy & Scott range available at Woodie's. The Nutmeg and Ginger is perfect for this time of year. Alternatives as a safer option you could us battery operated tea lights such as the ones from the Premier range at Woodie's.
  4. Spoon - A small spoon for carving out the centre of the pumpkins after drilling
  5. Knife - I suggest using a Kitchencraft 'Colourworks' knife as it slices easily through the pumpkin

Step 1.

The first step is to take the bottom out of the pumpkin using the knife. Basically you want the pumpkin to sit upright. It does however need to be big enough to get your hand in to scoop out the fibre and seeds inside.

Step 2.

You can see that there is lots of fibrous flesh and seeds inside the pumpkin. using your hands, scoop out as much as possible. Then take your spoon and try to clean out the inside of the pumpkin as much as you can. Don’t thin out the skin too much at this point as you want it to be firm for drilling. 


Step 3.

Now comes the exciting part. I decided to create randomly placed circles using the drill all over the pumpkin. This gives a lovely effect when lit up at night. You can really do any design that you like but just remember the more holes there are the more effective the lantern. I used varying drill sizes-the drill bit kit from Bosch at Woodie’s includes lots of different sizes. I used the 10mm and the 22mm and created varying holes all over the pumpkin. When it comes to the larger drill bits try to do the initial drilling very gently and when that is carved-push it in fully. This will ensure a very neat and clean drilled hole

Step 4.

When you are happy with your design I would advise rinsing the pumpkin with water to get rid of all the extra flesh bits inside and those stuck in the drill holes. This will give a cleaner effect.


Step 5.

The last step in the pumpkin lantern is to take your spoon and thin out the inside of the pumpkin a little. Thinning it out means that the actual orange of the pumpkin glows more. Don’t thin it out too much though-you don’t want the skin to start bending. Often the inside flesh is very thick and you can keep this flesh and make a delicious pumpkin soup with it or even roast it in the oven which is delicious. My pumpkin was so big I did both! I also roasted the pumpkin seeds and they are great and super healthy sprinkled over the soup.