Gorgeous Gourds

Round, twisted, bumpy, or smooth, squash bring the season's beauty and whimsy indoors or out.

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Outdoor Decor


Suspend a group of gourds on a cord (we used bicolor spoon gourds) from tree branches and watch them dance in the breeze.

Here's how: Use a drill with small bit (ours was 1/8 inch) to make a hole at bottom of the neck, drilling all the way through. Repeat with desired number of gourds. Put a cord through one and double-knot the string on either side of the hole to secure. Repeat with rest of gourds.

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Sweet Offerings


Dish out treats in a new way. Fill ornamental gourds with candies and display on a tray.

Here's how: Trace a circle atop a gourd with a jar lid and grease pencil. Cut out the circle with a pumpkin carving knife and scoop out seeds and pulp. Make a small pouch to fit inside using plastic wrap. Fill it with your favorite candy, place it in the gourd, and cut away excess wrap.

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Seasonal Centerpiece


Turn a large squash into a bowl heaped with a mix of ornamental gourds. We used an heirloom variety called Cinderella pumpkin.

Here's how: Place a bowl big enough to rest on the top of a large squash or pumpkin and trace a circle around the circumference with a grease pencil. Scoop out seeds and pulp.

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Curvaceous Containers


Turn narrow-necked Speckled Swan gourds into vases. These lilies mimic the gourd's graceful shape.

Here's how: Saw the gourd's tip off with small craft saw. Use a knife to scrape out the seeds and membrane at the top of the gourd. Pour water in and arrange a few flowers.

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Stars of the Table


Make candle holders from a cluster of palm-size Jack Be Littles. Although often called miniature pumpkins, these—and all pumpkins—are part of the squash family.

Here's how: Place a tea light on top of the pumpkin and trace with grease pencil. Follow instructions for candy bowl and place a tea light inside.

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A Burst of Blooms


This carved-out squash enhances a casual, happy arrangement of mums. If you can't find the rare Iran squash shown here, use a pumpkin.

Here's how: Choose a bowl to trace a circle on top of squash. Follow instructions for candy bowl. Place a plastic container inside the squash. Use floral foam inside the container to hold flowers in place. Arrange as desired.

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Sitting Pretty


A tiny gourd topped by a place card delivers a hint of autumn to the table.

Here's how: Write guests' names on metal plant markers and insert into ornamental gourds. Arrange on a napkin with acorns and sprigs of berries. Or tie a ribbon around the stem and attach a name card.