When it comes to Halloween decorations, let’s be honest. It’s a lot of plastic. Like A LOT of it. It’s full of foam, or thin plastic, or easily damaged materials. Many times, I’ll spend hours packing it all up carefully to have a candlestick broken or a skull dented in the next year when I open it back up. Sometimes I seek out more substantial materials to give a different look and texture to an otherwise plastic-y type holiday.
So when the idea came to make a cement pumpkin, I just had to see it through. It gives a very unexpected look and texture, and with the added surprise of glow in the dark paint, it makes for a really fun addition to your space!
This is a project that stores well, can be reused year after year after year, and gives such room for creativity to make them into so many shapes, sizes, colors, and for a multitude of ways!
- Plastic Pumpkins – I used these traditional pumpkin pails and the 6.5″ mini version
- Concrete Mix – I used Sakrete 50-lb Fast Setting Concrete Mix (inexpensive, but does contain small rocks which can give a slightly rougher finish) Another great option is Quikrete 5000 to get a smoother finish.
- Cement Mixer or Metal Trowel
- Large 5 Gallon Bucket
- Red Solo Cup
- Utility Knife
- Glow in the Dark paint, if desired
- Paint Brush – I just used a foam brush from my 24 pack of foam brushes
- Black Light, if you prefer to keep them glowing for longer stretches of time!
Step One: You’ll want to prepare your area first. I would recommend working outside and on the ground to avoid having to lift the heavy concrete on a higher surface. You’ll want to be close to your hose so you can fill your bucket with water. Also, be sure you’ve placed a heavy tarp down on the ground to keep your work surface free of the cement.
Step Two: You’ll need as much dry concrete mix as can fill your pumpkin. You can use your pumpkin as your guide or just scoop roughly that amount into your bucket with your red solo cup. Follow the bag instructions for how much water to add to your mix and use your cement mixer attachment on your drill or a strong metal trowel to mix the water and dry mix. You’ll want to work to do less water than too much so always be cautious when adding water.
Step Three: Scoop into your pumpkin with a metal trowel or your plastic cup.
If you’re going to use your pumpkin as a flower pot, you’ll want to leave about 1-1.5″ of space at the top of the pumpkin. Push the red solo cup into the pumpkin so that the concrete pushes up to the very top. Place a rock, brick, or other heavy object on top of the pumpkin to hold the cup into place.
Step Four: Gently bump your pumpkin against the ground to release bubbles from your mix. The more you tap it against the ground, the fewer holes or pock marks you’ll see in your final result!
Step Five: Allow your pumpkins to dry overnight, preferably 24 hours, before working to remove the plastic cup and pumpkin. Use your utility knife to CAREFULLY slice the pumpkin off along the ridges. I was able to cut the pumpkin vertically from bottom to top in 3 equal places around the pumpkin before it easily pried off.
Step Six: Now’s the time to get really creative!! Plant a flower inside, paint the outside, glow in the dark paint them, stack, arrange, let your mind wander! I liked the idea of having a glow in the dark feature on the front porch so I painted them with orange glow in the dark paint and added black acrylic paint for the eyes, nose and mouth.
The charge doesn’t last all that long into the night so grabbing a black light like this black light would be a great feature and make quite the statement to your Halloween home!
These are decorations that are built to last. You’ll have these as long as you’ll even want them and I personally love that. Want to pull them out for fall? Just turn the faces around and hide the jack-o-lantern side. Paint them different colors each year. Place them inside or outside. Your creativity is your guide and I think you can have a lot of fun with these!