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I love Jack O'Lanterns and I just never have enough! We have a big front yard that needs...subtle, fun haunting for families and young kids. Something magical. I want to create a pumpkin patch of sorts, all full of different faces etc that my kids and I carve.

In the past, on a small scale we've always just grown our own, or waited until the cost goes down close to Halloween, bought a ton and then frantically carve to get ready (Carve old lady. Carve like the wind!). To say this is stressful and frantic is understating things. This is just as impractical, expensive and time consuming as it sounds. There has to be an easier way to have 30-100 Jack O' lanterns.

I've bought every one of those plastic store ones I can find-the ones that already have the faces carved in-but there is a lack of variety available and I hate repeating faces. So, I thought it would be nice to get a hold of some full size foam craft pumpkins-or something similar, then carve our own jack O'Lanterns and then just be able to store them and reuse them year after year. But everything I'm pulling up in searches are $20-$50 PER pumpkin (funkins.com). Maybe those are the only options and I'll just spread the cost out over time, but are there other options/sources?

Does anyone know of options that I might have for an idea like this? To be able to buy different sizes (all full size though) and shapes at a lower cost?

/out of ideas.

Thank you SO much in advance:)
 

Typical Ghoul Next Door
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You can order them from Joann Fabrics for much cheaper I believe. I'll try to find the thread I saw in the last year or two regarding deals on Funkins and add in the link.

Especially good pricing if you do it when they're having sales (which happens at least a few times leading up to the big day) and of course try to use coupons as well (Joann's app or even paper coupons, and they should still take competitor coupons but check their site for details).

I haunt (lol) craigslist, offerup, Nextdoor, thrift stores and summer garage sales and snap up all the pumkin/JoLs that come through. I don't do Facebook but have heard good things about marketplace there. I get a good variety since folks that donate them may have bought theirs 20 years ago, 10 years ago... I also keep an eye out on the ones sold each year to see if there are any fun new faces (At Home used to sell some great versions but have gotten a bit lax in variety).

ETA: Discussion to give you an idea of the kind of sales: https://www.halloweenforum.com/wanted-to-buy/198841-large-foam-pumpkins.html

Also, get their app/register to keep an eye out for their friends & family day/coupon!
 
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You could make some out of paper mache - just google 鈥渄iy paper mache pumpkin鈥. In my opinion it鈥檚 more work than it鈥檚 worth though. Michaels has several sizes of the foam ones that you can carve yourself for less than $20 but they are not as nice as the ones from funkins. The ones from funkins have thick walls like a real pumpkin so are more realistic.
 

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I did 25 papermache pumpkins two years ago. It took forever and basically destroyed during storage so this past year I bought the fumpkins from michaels! They worked awesome! I went every day and used the 40-50% off coupons so I accumulated about 25. Start early collecting them they sell out way before Halloween.
 

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As someone who has carved dozens of pumpkins I鈥檒l save you the aggravation of trying to carve a funkin pumpkin. Buy the ones at Michael鈥檚 craft store. They鈥檙e softer and made of poly styrene. Use a #11 blade xacto knife and be careful not to use too much force or you鈥檒l cut right through a delicate part of the pattern. Been there done that.
Punch your pattern out with a push pin, that鈥檚 what I use and take the time to make sure the pattern is straight before you start.
After I take the pattern off the pumpkin I take the dull side of the knife and connect the dots with a line to make the pattern more visible before I start.
I attached the most complicated pumpkin I鈥檝e ever carved. It was a *****!
 

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The Haunting Girl
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If you start now, maybe try putting call out on your local Freecycle(.org) group for faux pumpkins. I actually got the one I have now that way by putting out a call for general d茅cor items a few years ago. If you live somewhere where there's a lot of yard/garage sales, you can probably find a bunch of them for dirt cheap.
 

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I bought 10 of the 13鈥 ones from Michaels last week for 40% off. They are now selling the larger ones online. When you come across a coupon for 40% off whole purchase you can get a bunch for much cheaper than normal. It鈥檚 the cheapest I鈥檝e found before Halloween so far.
 

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Have you thought about mixing in some 2-dimensional painted jack-o-lanterns? I had an Attack of the Mutant Flamingos scene a few years ago with about 50 classic plastic lawn flamingos and mixed in another 50 painted plywood flamingos to fill out the scene.
 

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Have you thought about mixing in some 2-dimensional painted jack-o-lanterns? I had an Attack of the Mutant Flamingos scene a few years ago with about 50 classic plastic lawn flamingos and mixed in another 50 painted plywood flamingos to fill out the scene.
Photos please!!!!
 

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Hi! I have been building a pumpkin patch for years, here's some of what I learned. On buying pumpkins, the 40% coupon is the way I go, but always be on the lookout for sales. Stores start putting out Halloween around Labor Day, remember to check Walgreens, Rite-Aid, Target, or any other big retail outfit for your patch building. Shipping cost kills buying them through the mail, but if Walmart, or your store of choice, offers free shipping to your local store, that could be the way to go.

Regular plastic pumpkins store no problem. Foam take more care. I have shelves in my garage attic that hold 20+ , up to 18-20 inch high. If you have access to milk crates, you can fit smaller pumpkins in them, just make sure the bottom of the crate is not touching the pumpkin below it. (Can you tell I ruined a Phantom of the Opera like that? I fixed it by filling the pumpkin with plastic bags and leaving it alone till the next year, Pushed his face right back out.)

As for carving, instead of using a pin to transfer the image, you can glue the paper stencil to a Funkin with a glue stick.(I recommend Elmer's, the ones that go on purple). You can wash off the glue and bits of paper in the tub under hot water.

I use a Dremmel, or rotary tool, to crave the image. You buy the very small drill bits, the kind to drill small holes. I mean REALLY small, They are called micro drill bits when you Google search. Use the smallest bit you can get. You start at a medium speed, plunge the bit in, and then trace along the lines. Start in the middle, and work you way out. I do the smaller spaces first. GO SLOW!! Let the tool do the work, DON'T FORCE IT !! If you do, you will be snapping bits off left and right.

For lighting, cut a big hole in the base, a little bigger that the light you are going to use. The, just put the pumpkin on top, I use to cut holes the the back, but the lights I was using shined right in peoples faces.

Foam cutting with a Dremmel creates A LOT of dusk. Wear a mask, try to do it outside, or the basement, were you can make a big mess.

You can glue short line of lights inside, make sure you use foam glue. I couldn't find anything else that worked.

If you go the Dremmel route, practice on real pumpkins till you feel comfortable trying on a $20 fake pumpkin. 2016-10-31 Halloween3 (10).jpg 2016-10-31 Halloween3 (22).jpg 2016-10-31 Halloween3 (19).jpg
 

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Another style I tried was buying large standard pumpkins at Target and covering them in Great Stuff.

I flipped them over,and cut new faces in the back

2016-10-10 Foam pumpkin 1   (2).jpg

2016-10-10 Foam pumpkin 1   (3).jpg

2016-10-10 Foam pumpkin 1   (6).jpg

Paint with good orange spray paint and bush paint highlight.

2016-10-10 Foam pumpkin 1   (7).jpg

2016-10-10 Foam pumpkin 1   (16).jpg

I made a stem on this one with duct tape

2016-10-11 foam pumpkin 2 (12).jpg

Storing the first one is a pain. The mouth is so big, the top collapses giving him a big overbite. I finally blew up an old beach ball inside him to hold the shape every year.

That's it, good luck with your patch
 

Oak Lane Cemetery
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I hit all the clearance sales and buy whatever foam pumpkins I can find. If they are the pre-carved cutsie ones from Walmart I alter the face to be more spooky. Once they are corpsed you can't tell I altered them or that they were cute. I buy a bunch of uncarved ones from Michael's and Target too if I can get a good clearance deal. Great thing about corpsing them is that color, patterns, style, or any damage is all erased in the process.

IMG_20180501_125652.jpg
 
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