Inside: Create spooky-chic Halloween décor for your front porch when you conjure up a concrete jack-o-lantern.
Do orange and black make you scowl like a wicked witch?
I feel ya friend. The traditional colors of Halloween don’t mesh well with my decorating style. (Gimme all the neutrals!)
Don’t get me wrong. I still like to celebrate All Hallows Eve. But you can celebrate the spirit of the holiday without the cheesy colors.
I’m always on the lookout for less-spooky-and-more-chic Halloween décor. No fake cobwebs and skeletons for this girl. (I’ll save those for a party.)
But even I agree you can’t have Halloween without carved pumpkins.
So if you could make a more stylish jack-o-lantern, would you?
Here’s The Best Way to Make a Stylish Concrete Pumpkin
When it comes to jack-o-lanterns, who says they have to be orange? Or real pumpkins for that matter?
A jack-o-lantern made from concrete adds a surprising and stylish touch to your front porch.
Why concrete? As an inexpensive and low-maintenance material, it works well for DIY projects. And, it’s trendy. You’ve probably seen polished concrete floors all over Instagram. And, concrete kitchen counters taking over Pinterest.
Why not start your concrete adventure with a DIY concrete pumpkin?
You can make concrete pumpkins more with less hassle than you might expect. No magic required.
Plastic pumpkin buckets—the ones trick-or-treaters use to gather their goodies—serve as the molds for the concrete jack-o-lanterns.
If you don’t have any extra plastic pumpkin buckets, you can find them at most dollar stores or big box stores for around $1 each. And a 50lb bag of concrete costs about $5-$10.
The only technical part to making these concrete jack-o-lanterns is mixing the concrete. As a concrete newbie before completing this project, I can vouch that it wasn’t as scary as I expected. You too can mix concrete!
Before you get started, gather your supplies. The materials for this project include plastic pumpkin buckets (I used two) and a package of fast-setting QUIKRETE® concrete mix. But, you’ll need a few other tools you already have on hand to get the job done.
What you’ll need to make a concrete jack-o-lantern:
- Plastic pumpkin buckets (I used two)
- 50lb bag fast-setting QUIKRETE® concrete mix
- Screw eyes (one for each pumpkin)
- Stir stick
- Putty knife
A Step-by-Step Tutorial to Make a Concrete Jack-O-Lantern
Get ready to get your hands dirty.
Also, grab your significant other or a friend because mixing concrete takes two people: One to pour and one to stir.
Follow these steps to make your concrete jack-o-lanterns.
Step 1: Mix your concrete
You’ll need a bucket to mix the concrete and water.
My boyfriend and I eyeballed how much concrete and how much water to add. But QUIKRETE suggests using one gallon of water for every 50lb bag of concrete mix.
Slowly add water until the mixture has the consistency of thick oatmeal. (We kept adding too much water and then had to dump it out. So, make it easy on yourself and measure ahead of time.)
Here’s a handy video from QUIKRETE on how to hand mix concrete.
Step 2: Stir, stir, stir
Channel your inner witch and use that elbow grease to stir until the mixture thickens. Saying a little bit of hocus pocus might help too.
Keep stirring the concrete-water mixture until you work out most of the chunks and it reaches a thick consistency.
We used a small piece of pipe to stir the mixture, but QUIKRETE suggests using a wheelbarrow and a hoe. (We didn’t have either of those. So, we made the bucket-stick method work.)
Step 3: Pour into molds
Once your concrete is ready, pour the mixture into your pumpkin molds.
The 50lb bag of concrete we used filled two plastic pumpkin buckets perfectly.
Pour the mixture all the way to the top. If some of the concrete drips over a little, don’t worry. Concentrate more on getting the molds completely full. That’s more important than a few drips.
Step 4: Level it off
Let the concrete sit for about 20 minutes.
Then, use a putty knife to level the top of the pumpkin.
When the concrete starts to set, insert a screw eye into the mixture. The screw eye will make it easier to move your pumpkin around once it hardens because you’ll have something to grab onto.
Other options besides a screw eye for your pumpkin’s stem:
- Decorative hook
Step 5: Let it dry
Don’t touch your pumpkin for at least 24 hours. I waited 48 hours.
It was hard. But worth it.
You want to make sure the concrete has fully hardened before trying to remove the mold.
Step 6: Remove the mold
Unfortunately, you can’t keep the plastic pumpkin bucket. Use a box cutter to cut off the pumpkin bucket.
Slit all the way from the top of the pumpkin to the bottom. Then, use pliers to remove the pumpkin bucket completely.
I worried that the features—eyes, nose, ears—of the jack-o-lanterns would get messed up or not turn out at all. If they didn’t look prominent, this concrete pumpkin project would be more like a ball-of-concrete project.
But both came out great! (Probably due to the eye of newt and dead man’s tears I slipped into the concrete
The Best Ways to Decorate with Your Concrete Jack-O-Lantern
Now for the fun part. Decorating with your concrete jack-o-lantern.
Concrete jack-o-lanterns make perfect outdoor Halloween décor because they’ll hold up to the chilly October weather.
Set them on your front porch for the neighbors and, of course, the trick-or-treaters to enjoy.
But you don’t have to plop them on the porch and leave them as-is. Use these ideas to create a one-of-a-kind fall display.
How to decorate with a concrete jack-o-lantern:
- Pair it with real pumpkins
- Mix in traditional carved pumpkins to the display
- Add extra fall elements like hay bales and pine cones
Don’t want to leave your pumpkin gray? Here are some ideas to add your own style to your concrete jack-o-lantern.
Ideas to embellish your concrete jack-o-lantern:
- Spray paint it
- Add stickers (spider stickers might be fun, for example)
- Swap out the screw eye for a thick stick to look like a stem
- Add liquid cement color when mixing the concrete (like this terra cotta liquid cement)
I like the concrete jack-o-lantern as-is. But then again you know how I feel about black and orange. Still, they’re pretty snazzy for gray pumpkins, huh?