Halloween is my favorite holiday. I had retail stores for 35 years and Christmas was my busiest season. Working right up to closing time on Christmas eve meant that I never had time to prepare for, or enjoy Christmas with my family. Halloween was different. I loved seeing the children in their clever costumes running from house to house to get as much candy as possible before time ran out. When I was a little girl, most children wore their parents big clothes for costumes. I felt special when my mother put my long hair into braids, and made a white apron and Dutch cap for me so that I could be a little Dutch girl. It was simple, but that was a REAL costume.
I expanded my love for Halloween by opening a children’s costume shop on Melrose street in Los Angeles in nineteen eighty. I sold children’s dress-up costumes all year around. Each year in September I hired a dozen or so out of work actors as salespeople. They transformed the store and every day was a fabulous fantasy experience. For two months we worked with hundreds of practically manic children trying on costumes, and the day after Halloween we all collapsed from a happy exhaustion.
PICTURES FROM “COSTUMES FOR KIDS”
MY FAVORITE PUMPKIN
I still have the pumpkin I had when I was 4 years old….which is 80 years ago. I pull it out every year and place it as the centerpiece on my table. This year I was heartbroken to discover a piece had broken off. I couldn’t throw it away so I placed a succulent from my garden in it.
My garden is full of succulents, which are perfect for decorating pumpkins. This month I thought I’d show you how I decorate mine.
1. Aleene’s Tacky Glue
2. Dried moss. It comes in a package in green, brown, and occasional colors.
3. Garden clippers
4. A nice selection of succulents. Various colors are nice to have as well as some large ones for the center, smaller ones for around the center, and a few trailing ones for the edge.
5. Choosing your pumpkin. An indentation in the top is best, but isn’t necessary. The stem is unimportant because you will be cutting it down to no more than an inch. Any size pumpkin will work.
6. Last of all, I always have a cup of water on the table when I work in case I get hot glue on my fingers.
PREPPING MY PUMPKINS
Place a thick (1/2 inch deep) layer of glue on the top and press moss hard into it. I like to let the glue dry but you can actually work on your pumpkin right away.
I collect all shapes and colors of succulents from my garden. Usually when you have a succulent cutting, it’s important to let them form a scab over the cut part before planting. When gathering them for the pumpkins it isn’t necessary to do that. You will be cutting the stem on the succulent the length that you need as you work, and you will be putting glue on the cut end.
CREATING MY DESIGN
I start placing my succulents by working up from the bottom of the design up. I first put the ones that will be hanging down around the edge of the arrangement. Second, I place the tall succulents in the center, and next I fill in all around. Please use your own creativity to decorate any way you like. It’s all good.
CARE OF MY ARRANGEMENTS
Be careful not to prick the skin of the pumpkin or it will rot. I like to spritz my arrangements lightly, approximately once a week. Don’t worry if you forget. They will forgive you. I gave a pumpkin to my daughter last year and she said it lasted nine months, with an ‘occasional’ watering. When your Pumpkulent has had it’s day, you can remove the succulents and place them in your garden for a new life.
Recently some ladies from my succulent group met at my home to make Pumpkulents.
We’ll do this again next year. So much fun. We are already talking about making succulent wreaths for the holidays. Hot glue guns in our hands and we are ready to glue succulents on anything.
I’m not making very many mosaics anymore, however, I will be showing a few new pieces, along with my friend Suzanne Duran’s gorgeous work, at a POP-UP craft show at Bay Quilts in Richmond California on November 23rd and 24th. Here are some of my new pieces for the show.
SUZANNE DURAN’S ALWAYS FABULOUS MOSAICS
Have a frightening good time on Halloween, and I hope to see you at the POP-UP in November.