Photography: Courtesy

This is what happens to jack-o'-lanterns out West.

Spoiler alert: transforming pumpkins into whatever your heart desires no longer requires a fairy godmother. In fact, you can turn your pumpkin into a cactus, the perfect Western Halloween decor, in just a few simple, non-magical steps. (If cacti aren't your thing, check out our other home decor ideas for Fall!) To ensure your DIY cactus pumpkin goes off without a hitch, just follow these instructions from Katie Taylor, the Southwestern style maven whose gorgeous gourd stopped us in our chaps.

Small faux pumpkin
Small terracotta pot
Light green acrylic paint
Darker green acrylic paint
Low-temp hot-glue gun + glue sticks
Hot pink felt
Straight pin
Paint brushes

1. Plug in the glue gun and set aside.
2. Using the darker green paint, paint the pumpkin completely.
3. Using the light green paint*, highlight the ridges of the pumpkin to create a natural effect. If the two colors blend together a little, that’s okay. Let the paint dry completely. *PRO-TIP: If you already have white paint, mix it with the darker green paint to create the light green.
4. Using the glue gun, make the spines of the cactus: Along the light green ridges, squeeze out a small dot or pearl of hot glue and then pull away, creating a small peak in the glue. Repeat all the way down the ridge of the pumpkin, all the way around. (This might take a little practice, but once you get the hang of it, it goes pretty quickly.) After all of the hot gluing, there will likely be “hot-glue strings” everywhere, so just trim those off with a pair of scissors.
5. With the hot pink felt, cut out a 1.5-inch diameter circle, and then cut small notches all the way around the edge of the circle, so that it looks like rays of sun. Fold the circle into quarters, and then adhere to the pumpkin near the stem using the straight pin.
6. Place the pumpkin in the terracotta pot and display your DIY Pumpkin Cactus.


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