How to make a pumpkin planter for the perfect Halloween porch decor

Pumpkin planters make the perfect Halloween alternative to a Jack-o-lantern. These crafty experts explain how to make one

A selection of pumpkin planters with succulents
(Image credit: Jaclyn Bridges)

Pumpkin planters are the Jack-o-lantern's prettier sister, and we can't get enough of them. These clever little floral arrangements are nestled within a cut pumpkin with blooms exploding out the top like a fireworks display. They make a beautiful addition to your Halloween porch that's guaranteed to wow guests, bringing a whole new meaning to tasteful fall decor ideas

Whether you're looking for a safer alternative to pumpkin carving or just a more tasteful way to decorate, a pumpkin planter is for you. Let's face it, 'scary' is far from 'beautiful', and we're all about the latter. 

But how do you make one? When it comes to DIY projects, they don't get more fun than this – really, the creative possibilities are endless. Yet there are a few technical things you ought to know before you try your hand and the task. For example, how do you water a floral display inside a pumpkin?

To answer these burning questions and direct us with some instructions, we've asked some florists and crafty experts for their top tips on how to make the perfect pumpkin planter. 

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Lilith Hudson

Lilith is an expert at following news and trends across the world of interior design. She's committed to helping readers make the best choices in their homes through sharing practical tips and guides for all their DIY decor ideas. With Halloween just around the corner, she spoke with florists and craft experts about how to make a pumpkin planter for your front porch. 

Why opt for a pumpkin planter?

A pumpkin planter used as a centerpiece for a tablescape

(Image credit: Bloom & Wild)

If we're totally honest, a pumpkin planter isn't your typical Halloween decor – spooky and frightening it is not – but that's partly why we love it. An elegant floral display inside a pumpkin brings all the vibes of Halloween to your porch decor, just less kitsch. 

While it's certainly possible to bring these planters indoors, we think they make a great addition to your front porch. 'Not only does it add interest and a touch of the macabre, but the orange color is also very eye-catching against green plants,' says Lindsey Hyland, gardening expert and founder of Urban Organic Yield (opens in new tab). There's also the benefit that your pumpkin planter is completely sustainable, too, with no plastic waste involved. 

What about the aesthetic benefits? Well, the variety of pumpkins and plants to choose from gives you full creative authority over your decorations. 'Choose plants in fall colors, such as mums, succulents, or red-leaved cabbage/lettuce to achieve a full fall aesthetic,' says Craig Wilson, Director of Gardener’s Dream (opens in new tab). For a spookier Halloween effect, he suggests painting scary faces on your pumpkin.

How to make a pumpkin planter

A Halloween themed tablescape with a pumpkin planter as a floral centerpiece

(Image credit: Bloom & Wild)

Chances are that you're now sold on making a pumpkin planter as your weekend project. If so, here's how it's done. 

Materials: 

- A pumpkin

- A knife 

- Chosen plants or flowers

- Compost/soil (if using potted plants)

- Floral foam blocks (if using cut flowers)

To make a planter for cut flowers: 

If you want to make a planter for indoors, or perhaps as the table center for a Halloween tablescape, you'll want to use cut flowers. These also make more of a dramatic statement on your porch, too. 

Start by cutting the top off your pumpkin and removing the flesh and seeds inside, as you would when carving a Jack-o-lantern. Next, cut a block of floral foam to fit inside your pumpkin. (These circular foam blocks from Flofare on Amazon (opens in new tab) are a good choice.) These retain water to keep your flowers hydrated so that they last longer – simply add a little water each day if needed. 

Now put your flower arranging skills to the test to produce a beautiful fall-themed display. For some ideas on which flowers to use, take a look at these fall flower trends for inspiration. Your display should last at least a week before your pumpkin begins to rot. 

A floral arrangement inside a pumpkin

(Image credit: Bonnie Chase)

To make a planter for potted plants:

To make a planter for potted plants, follow the same steps as above but instead of filling it with floral foam, fill the pumpkin with potting compost. You'll also want to use the knife (or a drill) to make some small holes around the bottom of the pumpkin so water can drain. 

Next, plant your chosen flowers or foliage inside the pumpkin, making sure to give them a good drink afterward. When it comes to flowers, we think oranges, reds, and yellows look best. For inspiration, take a look at the best fall flowers to plant. These displays will last a little longer than cut flowers, but your pumpkin will inevitably decompose after a few weeks. To keep your pumpkin from rotting too quickly, make sure the soil is only slightly moist and never waterlogged.

For a longer lasting display, try a succulent planter 

A selection of pumpkins with succulents planted on top

(Image credit: Jaclyn Bridges)

If you want a pumpkin planter that will last a little longer, why not give a succulent planter a try?  You need a pumpkin (preferably the Cinderella type with the flat top), craft glue, moss, and succulent cuttings. 

'Unlike other planters, you don't cut into the pumpkin because it will make it rot quickly,' says Jaclyn Bridges from Queen of Succulents (opens in new tab). 'Glue the moss on top of the pumpkin and then glue the succulents onto the moss. You can add other natural elements too, like pinecones or dried fruit or flowers.'

When it comes to how to care for succulents, they're very low maintenance – just mist your succulents every 7-10 days. Once the pumpkin starts to shrivel and decompose, you can remove the succulents and adds the pumpkin to your compost. 

'I love that it’s an eco-friendly DIY,' says Jaclyn. 'They last longer than flowers and make such a great gift this time of year. You can make mini succulent pumpkins for party favors or large succulent pumpkins for a centerpiece on a table.' 

Does it need to be a real pumpkin?

A floral arrangement inside a pumpkin

(Image credit: Bonnie Chase)

If you want fall vibes all year round, and don't fancy getting crafty, you could use a fake pumpkin with a detachable lid, like this one from Amazon (opens in new tab), to make your pumpkin planter. You could also use any other type of Halloween decoration, such as a rubber skull, for a freaky floral display. Simply cut off the top and follow the steps above.