1. Cut top off the pumpkin and hollow it out.
2. Make sure the pumpkin is clean and dry.
3. Paint a few coats with acrylic paint, allowing time to dry between coats.
4. Use a plastic container inside to hold the flowers, making sure that no water gets into the pumpkin.
Lessons I learned the hard way:
1. Choose small pumpkins. The flowers will add height, making larger pumpkins too tall to see over and they will take up too much table space. We had to move our pumpkins off the table after the soup course to make room for family-style serving dishes. Also, once you've added the vases with flowers and water, they become very heavy.
2. I read that it's a good idea to use produce protector on the inside of the pumpkins. It is not. Immediately after sprinkling this weird chemical powder into the pumpkins, they emitted a ton of gross, messy pumpkin-water. And the pumpkins were rotten within days.
3. Use acrylic paint. I used spray paint, and as you can see in a few of the photos, the paint cracked and flaked off.
4. Be specific with your florist about which exact types of flowers you want. This sounds obvious, but I gave a sample photo, asked for "something like this" and the end result was not what I had envisioned.
5. Toast the seeds. I rushed through the carving stage and didn't save the seeds. I wish I had! A treat bag full of toasted spiced pumpkin seeds would have made a great party favor. (I'll share our actual favor along with a hostess confession tomorrow.)