As a person who is always trying to reduce waste and be more eco conscious, I struggle every year with my deep and unwavering LOVE of all things Halloween. I consider this time of the year to be optimal for my day-to-day home goods shopping. Let's just say my everyday face cloths have little dancing skeletons on them. Still, I feel very icky about the disposable nature of festive decorations and themed decor people only use maybe once a year. So what is a diehard Halloween fan and artist/crafter to do?
Thrift! The answer is almost always thrifting. If you start early (or late) you can often find some fun decor to use as-is. Check yard sales and Facebook marketplace too! But if you're like me and you love a project, you could do something whacky and paint all the thrifted halloween decor a pastel rainbow. What can I say, I like to keep it weird. And on brand.
We painted the hallway in the shop pastel stripes some time ago and have been adding more hints of the colour scheme around the shop since then. One thing I always consider when thrifting for decorations is whether or not something can be used again or repurposed when the season of spookiness ends. Or better still, can something you already own become something spooky temporarily? A very easy example of this is a bowl. Got a nice big bowl? Cauldron it is! For this window display I went... well let's call it Hansel & Gretel's Candy House Witch: A Day in the Life. Everything pastel and looking like a marshmallow but ever so slightly... questionable. This includes a big white vintage bowl I filled with clear Christmas bulbs to look like a bubbling over concoction. Like she just stepped away from her spells to answer the door and the darn cauldron boiled over. Your typical relatable forest witch who eats children sort of thing.
Most of the the items in the window display are thrifted or reused. Thrifted furniture pieces we use year round. The crystal ball is a repurposed light fixture glued to a cardboard box covered with thrifted wallpaper & a string of lights inside for a little mysterious glow. The mushrooms I made with leftover cardboard, miscellaneous packing paper and masking tape covered in a thin layer of air dry clay.
So is it a perfect zero waste display? Nope! Not by a long shot. Reusing some items that would end up trashed, flipping some thrifts and making people smile with silly crafts is a worthwhile pursuit nevertheless.
Pastel Pumpkin Arrangment DIY
As I said above, I strongly urge you to thrift your holiday decor items! It only takes a little bit of imagination to make them into something different or to give a slightly broken item new life.
What you'll need:
-A pumpkin trick-or-treating basket/bucket
-Miscellaneous florals, sticks, leaves, etc. Real or fake!
-Something to stick your florals into. I used dusty old styrofoam cups because I was using what I had and didn't want to buy anything new. You could use a piece of packing styrofoam, florist foam or even a paper cup. Also if using real florals, get a floral frog!
-A primer that works on plastic. I used Zinsser B-I-N primer because that's what I already had. It's a truly horrible smelling product but it works very well for just about everything that needs to be primed.
-Paint in your preferred colours. I used Behr eggshell house paint because we already had it from the shop's striped wall. I've seen fake pumpkins painted more natural colours or even grey like concrete though!
-Paint brushes, drop cloths, and whatever clean-up items you prefer.
1. To start: wash the plastic pumpkin well! Remove any tags and let it dry. Don't skip this! Otherwise the paint might have a hard time sticking and that is extremely frustrating. Learn from my mistakes.
2. Prime! Let this dry according to the directions of your specific primer before painting over it.
3. Paint! Choose your own adventure. Make the whole thing hot pink if you want to. Barbie IS having a moment, after all. Let dry!
4. Assemble your floral arrangement:
If using real florals: I recommend picking a pumpkin vessel that doesn't have any holes in it and/or putting a little bowl or dish inside to hold water if you're using fresh flowers. Plus everyone should own a flower frog. They make things like this super easy! Some ideas for locally available seasonal greenery: cedar, hydrangea, a couple small branches from a tree in your yard, calendula, chrysanthemums. Broken twigs, changing leaves and acorns give it a good spooky look! *
If using fake florals: Do what feels right! I painted a bunch of things we already had. Some old Christmas things, an arrangement from ages and ages ago. This is a great use for the dusty fake floral arrangement you hate that lives in the basement. That, or look at the thrift shops. Don't limit yourself in terms of colours because you can change that! Silk florals take paint pretty well. For plastic you might need a spray paint. Black or grey flowers look great if you're going spooky! **
Now step back and admire your masterpiece!
* If you're looking for a completely plastic-free alternative you can do the same DIY with a real pumpkin and real flowers (dry or fresh). I've seen a few of these and they are quite lovely but they will only last a few days in the house before the pumpkin starts to get squishy. You could definitely use a few little pumpkins for this (and not paint them) and cook them after though!
** I tucked in some old packing materials (paper, cardboard, etc) to keep things from falling over and fill up my buckets. Then I covered that with an old piece of cheesecloth that I dyed yellow with turmeric & onion skins.