Easy-to-Make Gourd Goblins

Carve these jack-o'-lanterns once, and use them again and again.
Ellen Riley

Carved pumpkins are great for porch and patio decor. But when you want to bring the season indoors, we've got an idea you'll love. Make a collection of ghoulish goblins using dried gourds. Choose various shapes and sizes from the farmers' market or produce stand. For finishing touches, add some miniature Indian corn and smaller, fresh gourds to the arrangement. A few autumn leaves on the table will enhance the colorful display.

Gather the necessary materials, these instructions, and your imagination for a fun family activity.

Step 1: Cut a large hole in the bottom of each gourd with the rotary tool and 1/8-inch bit. (If using an electric drill and hole saw, cut a hole, and enlarge it with the mini hacksaw.) Clean out seeds and debris.

Step 2: Use a pencil to lightly draw a face onto the gourd. You can let the children draw faces on paper, then you can transfer the images to the gourds. Simple designs work best because of the brittle, dried surface. Secure the gourd between two stationary objects, and cut out the face with the rotary tool (or electric drill and mini hacksaw). Don't rush this step--when we hurried, we cracked the gourd. Take your time.

Step 3: Cut a large tissue paper square to fit behind the face inside the gourd. Tape it in place.

Step 4: Arrange the goblins, snuggled close together, in a large shallow bowl or container. Tuck a portion of white lights inside each gourd, with the plug extending over the container's edge.

When you plug in the goblins and illuminate their smiles, remember: Do not leave home unless you unplug them, and never use a strand of lights with damaged wire.