How to make a pumpkin planter for fall and Halloween

It's easy to learn how to make a pumpkin planter and create a lovely display for your fall and Halloween celebrations

Pumpkin planter with seasonal plants
(Image credit: Neil Hepworth)

Follow our step-by-step guide on how to make a pumpkin planter and you can create a stunning centerpiece for your front porch or patio this holiday season.

While grocery stores are full of plump pumpkins that are all ready for carving into Halloween lanterns, why not pick one up and use it to create a display with a bit of a difference outside your front door? A generous-sized pumpkin is the perfect shape to carve into a quirky planter for your outdoor Halloween decor ideas

Don't want to stop at a single planter? You could use other varieties of squash and different sized pumpkins for a varied collection of planters. Most of us will have carved a pumpkin before so this planter should be easy peasy! 

Make a pumpkin planter in 3 easy steps

Outdoor fall decor doesn't have to be all about scary Jack O'Lanterns and spooky scenes. A pretty pumpkin planter like this will introduce a decorative touch to your yard, and you can even keep it as part of your fall front porch ideas long after the trick or treaters have left. 

You will need: 

1. Hollow out the pumpkin

child scooping out the insides of a pumpkin

Kids will enjoy getting involved in making your pumpkin planter

(Image credit: Catherine Falls Commercial/Getty Images)

Start by cutting the top off the pumpkin. Scoop out the flesh and seeds from inside in the same way you would if you were carving a pumpkin to make a Halloween lantern. 

Make the round opening on the top of the pumpkin as wide as you can – this will help you to fit in as many plants as possible. Cut a couple of small holes in the bottom for drainage too as waterlogging will be no good for the plants or the pumpkin.

Our top tip? Instead of discarding the scraped out inside, at the very least you can add the seeds and the pulp to your compost heap. You can even clean the seeds up and roast them in the oven for tasty snacks for you or birds in your garden.

2. Fill your pumpkin with plants

colorful flowers of calluna vulgaris, also known as heather

Heather is a lovely choice for including in a fall-themed pumpkin planter

(Image credit: STUDIO75/Alamy Stock Photo)

Half fill the hollowed-out pumpkin with a good-quality multi-purpose planting compost, just as you would do when creating a standard fall planter in a pot or container.

Next is the fun part as you can get creative and arrange a mix of seasonal fall flowers and plants in shades of orange and yellow for a really autumnal vibe. Solanum, heather and ivy are good choices for fall color, but any winter plants for pots would work well and there will be plenty on offer at your local garden center. 

'If you'd prefer to add cut flowers to your pumpkin planter instead, simply switch out the compost for some chicken wire or a flower frog at the bottom of the planter and insert the flower stems into it,' says Gardeningetc's Holly Crossley. 'If you're lucky enough to still have some in bloom, adding a mix of different types of dahlias would make a stunning look, or dried hydrangeas from your backyard would be equally effective.' 

3. Display your pumpkin planter

Pumpkin planter with seasonal plants

(Image credit: Neil Hepworth)

Fill in any gaps in your pumpkin planter with more of the compost and don't forget about watering plants to give them a good start. 

Pop your finished DIY outdoor fall decoration on a table as a centerpiece or as a seasonal greeting on your front porch. 

Can you use a real pumpkin as a planter? 

In short, yes! Any pumpkin can be turned into a seasonal planter for your Halloween porch decor, although you might find that a rounder pumpkin with a flatter bottom will be better suited as it will be easier to keep it upright on a table or front porch. 

'And don't forget, pumpkins come in a wide range of colors,' say the experts at The Greenhouse People. 'You can find white, green and even blue pumpkins and gourds, so there's no need to stick to garish oranges if this doesn’t suit your style.'

Teresa Conway
Deputy Editor

Teresa has worked as an Editor on a number of gardening magazines for three years now. So she is lucky enough to see and write about gardening across all sizes, budgets and abilities. She recently moved into her first home and the garden is a real project! Currently she is relishing planning her own design and planting schemes. What she is most passionate about when it comes to gardening are the positive effects it has on our mental health to grow and care for plants, as well as being great for the environment too and help provide food and shelter for wildlife. 

With contributions from