Country Living
First Prize Pumpkins Image Credit: Country Living
First Prize Pumpkins Image Credit: Country Living

First - Prize Pumpkins

From a Make-Your-Own Marquee sign to Game-Ready Gourds, These Country Fair-Inspired DIYS Are Your Winning Ticket to Carving Competition Bragging Rights


CORN HUSK: Tear corn husks or tamale wrappers into 1 /4- to 1 /2-inch strips. Cover a white or orange pumpkin (if desired) with strips, hot-gluing in place on the top and bottom. Hot-glue smaller strips around the stems of pumpkins, about 25 for a small pumpkin and 75 for a large pumpkin.

HOT-AIR BALLOON: Add stripes to a red Hubbard squash (which naturally mimics the shape of a hot-air balloon) using varying colors of electrical tape, overlapping as necessary to create desired width. Thread string through a mini basket ( and attach to the pointy end of the squash with a nail or thumbtack. Fill basket 3 /4 full with plastic packing material (this will keep it from getting too heavy) then top with mini pumpkins. Insert a hook into the stem end of the squash; tie rope around the hook to hang.

MARQUEE SIGN: Cut a large hole in the bottom of an oblong pumpkin; scoop out pulp and seeds. Carve desired word or phrase—think BOO, WELCOME, or your last name—or trace our FAIR template* on the long side of the pumpkin, scaling up or down as necessary. Chisel out letters and border. Remove the bulbs from a strand of globe string lights. Cut holes along the border of the chiseled area for the light sockets; insert sockets then bulbs. Plug in lights.

TICKETS: Separate rolls of raffle tickets ( into individual tickets. Working one ticket at a time, brush glossy Mod Podge on fronts and backs of tickets with a craft brush. Attach to pumpkin, brushing more Mod Podge on top. Repeat, overlapping tickets as you go, until pumpkin is

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