Skip to main content

So many gourds, so little time! Here are 4 creative ways to use them this fall

Just because Halloween is over, doesn’t mean it’s time to retire gourds altogether. Along with your corn stalk decor pieces, these plants, which include pumpkins and squashes, make for beautiful decoration supplies through Thanksgiving. Luckily, they’ll be in season everywhere this season, so you’ll find them in abundance as you hit up your grocery store or farmers market. Whether you have leftovers from autumn recipes or you want easy-to-access fall decor, here are four creative ways to incorporate gourds in your home this autumn.

Gourd assortment
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Turn them into lanterns

Who said that gourd lanterns have to end with Halloween? In addition to (or instead of) orange pumpkins as jack-o-lanterns, try other colored pumpkins and squashes to create festive lanterns. Start by scrubbing the outside of your gourd with soap and water. Then, cut off the base and scoop out as much of the insides as possible. Trace your designs onto your pumpkin with a pencil and cut them out using a pumpkin carving kit or power drill. Afterward, jazz up the surface of your lantern with mineral oil for shine. To minimize the fire hazard factor, pop in string Christmas lights or an LED tea light instead of a candle.

Of course, it helps to work with dried gourds, although completely dried gourds should be prepared for next year instead of immediate use. If you’re wondering how to dry out a gourd for crafts, it’s actually not too complicated. You’ll want to start by cleaning the outside of your gourd thoroughly and letting it dry for about a week in a well-ventilated area. Then, leave them in a dry, dark place to cure for about six months, making sure to rotate them every few weeks.

Other quick alternatives to preserving your gourds include spritzing them with bleach water or rubbing petroleum jelly onto them. If you’re going down these routes, make sure not to put any fire sources inside your gourd.

Make a planter

Making a vase with your gourd is essentially the same as making the aforementioned lantern. You’ll want to clean the outside and scoop out the insides as possible. (To get even more garden use out of your gourd, don’t forget to toss the seeds and pulp into your compost bin!) Instead of popping in a light source, add your favorite plant or flowers. To avoid spreading mold to your houseplant, keep your plant inside its nursery pot with a saucer underneath it. If you’re going with the vase route, you can pick out fall flowers such as chrysanthemums, sunflowers, and pansies to play up the autumn vibes.

Make a bird feeder

Yes, you can absolutely make a bird feeder from a gourd and replace it with a cone for winter holiday fare later! All it takes is sawing off the bottom third of your gourd and scooping out the pulp and seeds. Then, grab a few feet of twine to create a macramé hanger. (See more specific instructions on how here.) Place your gourd into the hanger and drop in bird seeds. Tie it to a tree or some other structure in your yard, and you should be good to go. Instead of a hanger, you can also drill two holes on the sides of your gourd and tie secure knots on both ends.

Thanksgiving gourds

Use them as Thanksgiving table pieces

This idea is probably the least involved way to use your fall gourds since it doesn’t require any carving or cutting. If you have miniature gourds in your garden or come across them at your local garden center, pop them onto your dining table for effortless fall vibes. For extra visual interest, mix and match shades of white, orange, and yellow as well as bumpy and smooth textures.

When you have guests visiting for Thanksgiving, place your gourds next to leaves, corn stalks, candles, and name tags on your dinner table or in guest rooms to elevate your autumn decor game. You can even draw on your gourds with paint and glitter pens, but they should be good to go all on their own. There are many different ways to arrange them — nest them inside a basket for a cornucopia, or lay them across the center of your table.

There’s no easier way to decorate during autumn than with gourds. Not only can you eat them, but you can also get crafty with them. Their sturdy shells make them the perfect material for projects such as bird feeders, lanterns, and planters. If you want a straightforward way to make your Thanksgiving table feel cozy and elegant, line them up for centerpieces. You’ll be one of those people saying “oh my gourd” in no time!

Editors' Recommendations

Stacey Nguyen
Stacey's work has appeared on sites such as POPSUGAR, HelloGiggles, Buzzfeed, The Balance, TripSavvy, and more. When she's…
4 dried corn stalk decoration ideas for fall
Dried corn stalks

When you think of autumn, you may be envisioning pumpkins, sunflowers, cornucopias, and corn stalks — lots and lots of dried corn stalks! Corn is easily one of the staples of the autumn harvest, and its usefulness goes beyond the dinner table. Dried corn stalks make for great autumnal decor, and accessing them is relatively easy. If you’ve always wanted to try your hand at corn stalk decorations, keep reading ahead for some inspiration.

How to dry a corn stalk
Before you decorate with corn stalks, you need to dry them first. Luckily, getting your corn ready for decorating isn’t too difficult. After harvesting your corn, cut the stalks close to the ground and hang them upside down in a dry place—your garage works well for this. However, drying your corn stalks outside can help them achieve that bleached, golden-autumn color sooner, though you should be mindful of curious critters, such as squirrels, nibbling on them. You can also buy ready-to-go stalks at your local big box garden center, but this DIY endeavor can be a fun project to try out for yourself if you have the stalk part on hand, either from your own harvest or from your haul at the farmers market.
Decorating with dried corn stalks
The possibilities are endless when it comes to giving your space a bit of autumnal flair with some dried corn stalk. Using dried corn stalks makes the most of the corn plant so that you don’t need to go out of your way to buy fall decor—except for that great big pumpkin, of course! Ahead, we’ve gathered a few easy and low maintenance ways to go about making upcycled corn stalk decor.

Read more
Where is the avocado growing zone? Here’s where avocados grow best
Do you live in a region where you can grow delicious avocados?
Hand holding avocado on a tree

The avocado tree was first grown in Mexico and Central America. One of the first records of the plant dates back to writings from the Aztecs, who described the plant's creamy, green flesh and rich, buttery taste. Avocado seeds were even discovered buried deep inside Aztec cities along with other artifacts.

Today, the plant is enjoyed all around the world, but where exactly can it be grown? Long story short, the avocado growing zone consists of hot and humid climates, so don't try to plant one in Siberia. If you want to try harvesting your own delicious avocados, here is what you need to know about where they grow best.

Read more
What fruits have citric acid?
The importance of citric acid for fruits
Lemons and crystalized citric acid on a cutting board

Citric acid is a weak, organic compound found throughout the processed food and beverage industry and in other industrial and consumer goods. Originally isolated from the juice of citrus fruit, it has been used for centuries as a flavor enhancer and food preservative.

Today, it is also used as a preservative in medications and cosmetics, as well as a disinfectant to combat bacteria and viruses. The modern industrial version of citric acid is a synthetic product manufactured through fermentation using the mold species Aspergillus niger. Let's find out which fruits are citric acid fruits.

Read more