Halloween Craft. The Pumpkin Diorama – An Update.

The pumpkin that’ll induce fear year after year. Turning a Funkin (fake foam pumpkin) into a genuinely creepy Halloween decoration. Allow me to introduce you to the Pumpkin diorama. Or as I like to say …

A decade ago when I was first starting out as a blogger, a magazine emailed me to ask what I would do with a “Funkin” (fake foam pumpkin). They were getting ready for their next year’s Halloween issue and wanted to feature bloggers’ ideas. This was it. This was my shot at being featured in a magazine and getting great exposure for my new blog.

I can’t remember what magazine it was, just that THIS WAS MY BIG BREAK.


I immediately emailed them back saying if it was hollow, I would cut it open and make a creepy Diorama inside. I clicked send and waited for the response. And then just like in the movies … I never heard from them again.

I guess the magazine didn’t like the idea. I liked my idea so much that I made one just for myself. And you of course.

The pumpkin diorama is one of the most shared and copied posts I’ve ever done. Because it’s GREAT. 10 years later and I STILL can’t be humble about it.

I love it with all of my heart and the first knuckle of my baby toe.

The absolute BEST part about it is you can do ANYTHING.  Scary, cute, childlike, eerie. I go for creep, but you could also turn one into a cute woodland scene, or turn it into Cinderella’s carriage.

Whatever you want.

You can be as detailed as you want as well.  I went so far as to fray the rope on the noose, put dirt on the ground and use battery operated mini lights to light up the skulls. But I didn’t go so far as to clean up blobs of hot glue. 😂

I also cut a little hole in the astroturf so I could pop a mini light up from there. I then stuck the skull on top and BOOM you’ve got a glowing skull.

To create your own Pumpkin diorama there are only a few tips you need … make sure you have a foam pumpkin that’s hollow inside and … actually it’s just the one tip.

I got my pumpkin at Michaels and I was shocked to see they still carry the exact same ones. At the moment (mid-October 2021), it looks as though they’re sold out in Canada but do have them in stock in the US.

A few more tips to make things easier for you …

Decorating a Pumpkin Diorama

Decorating a Pumpkin Diorama

Yield: 1 pumpkin diorama
Active Time: 2 hours
Total Time: 2 hours
Difficulty: Intermediate
Estimated Cost: $15

The creepy crafty pumpkin that will instil fear year after year!

Materials

  • Foam Pumpkin (hollow)
  • Halloween props/items
  • Mini lights* (like copper string lights)

Tools

  • Hot glue gun
  • Drill or hole punch (if you use mini lights you need a hole at the back of the pumpkin to feed the lights through)
  • Drywall knife, or serrated knife for cutting the hole in the funkin.

Instructions

  1. Cut a piece of cardboard and cover it with fake grass (purchased from Dollarama in craft section) and put it in the base of the pumpkin.  This makes a flat, level surface to stand things on. You could also use scrap fabric, carpet or dirt instead of grass.
  2. Put everything where you want it, and then hot glue it in place. Fiddle with things,  move them, adjust them.
  3. Make a creepy tree by hot gluing sticks together.
  4. When looking for stuff to put inside be creative.  The cat sitting on the skull is from inside a glass Halloween snowglobe from Dollarama.  I bought it, took it home, smashed the glass and took the cat out.
  5. If you're going for realism, be careful about your proportions.  You don't want a cat that's bigger than your skeleton.  Or maybe you do.
  6. Let your props guide you.  I discovered the tiny skulls I had (bought from Dollarama)  had holes in the back of them that were just big enough to fit a mini light in.  So I abandoned my original idea (to use the mini lights as stars), and used them in the skulls and around the inside of the pumpkin instead.

Notes

* If you use mini lights try to find ones that are on a timer so the Die-O-Rama will come on at the same time every night, and go off at the same time. It just makes life easier and batteries last longer.

Recommended Products

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Total Cost – $30

A lot of the things I used to build the Die-o-rama I already owned so it didn’t actually cost me $30.  I already had the bat, the lights, the grass and a few other things.  But if you were to duplicate mine exactly and owned none of the materials it would cost you around $30 provided you  have string, cardboard and twigs.

This post has 70,000 shares and counting. One of the people who shared it was Elvira: Mistress of the Dark. She Tweeted it. To have your little Halloween craft approved and tweeted by Elvira is like being a yoga instructor in a strip mall and having the Dalai Lama retweet your daily affirmation.

Take that magazine I can’t remember.

I have something better than a magazine feature – I have Tweet cred.


If you make a Die-o-rama send me a pic. & I’ll feature it on my Instagram Page.


Wanna see a Behind the Scenes shot?  It’s fairly pedestrian.  Just a shot of me while I was working on my Die-Orama years ago at the dining room table in the middle of the night. I look like a celebrity in it.

Halloween Craft. The Pumpkin Diorama - An Update.

76 Comments

  1. Lynn says:

    Only one thing to say WOW cool

  2. Julie says:

    I love this so much!!!

  3. Gretchen Sexton says:

    Where do you find fake pumpkins to carve? I’ve been looking…

  4. Mary W says:

    One of my favorite decorations. Fun to make, easy to store, sits most anywhere, and all things I can get or have. You are the best!

  5. Tamara says:

    You could have painted your glue drops red. After all you did spill the glue on purpose. Right?

  6. Maggie vansickle says:

    I love this

  7. Debbie says:

    Very cool…but where do you buy a $2 crow?

    • Karen says:

      Hi Debbie. Dollarama. That’s our Dollar Store in Canada. The equivalent of America’s Dollar Tree or Dollar General. (only from what I hear from my American readers is that Dollarama is way better than either of those stores) ~ karen!

  8. Candy S says:

    Seriously – your pumpkin diorama is way too cool. I am so inspired to create one for the middle of my fairy garden (that spot is currently occupied by a castle). I only have orange pumpkins to use, maybe I could spray the interior of the pumpkin white. Thank you so much for the inspiration…. Candy

    • Karen says:

      HI Candy. Thanks! I’m not sure if you can paint the inside or not. It’s entirely possible that once you cut the pumpkin open it’ll already be white in side! If you do paint it, you’ll probably want to prime it to help the paint stick and stay stuck. Good luck! ~ karen

  9. JEANINE says:

    most beautiful, inspirational, creative, perfectly completed, and my personal most envied Halloween pumpkin Project I have ever laid eyes on….i MORE than LOVE this design. eventually i will give my best at a re-creation of our own, but it’ll never compare to this beaut!!! Thank you ever so kindly for sharing this diy with us!

    • Karen says:

      O.K. That is some SERIOUS enthusiasm, lol. Thanks! Yeah. I must admit I’m pretty happy with how it turned out. And it was WAY fun to do! Give it a shot, I’m convinced you can make one just as nice. ~ karen!

  10. HA! Apparently!….or learn how to multi-task a little better!! LOL I’ve been trying to think of all the different ways to decorate a pumpkin like this…….I LOVE the graveyard so much I want lots more!!

  11. stefani says:

    I love the teeny little bones. I could do one of the Donner party for winter. I always wanted to do a Donner party snow globe but a diorama would be good too.

    • Karen says:

      Had to look up what the Donner party was (Canadian and all). Yup. You HAVE to do a Donner party snow globe or diorama! ~ karen

  12. Mary says:

    Karen how did you cut the foam pumpkin??

  13. Terri says:

    You said you already had your lights, but posted them as being $3 — where did you find them and are they black lights or just purple?

    PS: WONDERFUL job!!

  14. Lindsey says:

    This is so great! I absolutely love it, and made a pin on Pinterest so I’d remember it for Halloween this year. I did, and made my own! Enjoy: http://lindseyedits.blogspot.com/2013/10/pumpkin-die-o-rama.html

  15. Carole says:

    You have a right to be proud. That is seriously too cool for words!

    • Karen says:

      Thank you ma’am. I’m already getting a bit nervous about topping it next Halloween. Heh. No idea why I put the “heh” in there. ~ karen!

  16. Elllareki says:

    Wow! I’ve just seen this pumpkin over at Poppytalk and it’s brilliant so I had to follow the links here. So pleased to have discovered your site :)

  17. carla says:

    This is sooo cool! I love it! And I am a big believer in Dollarama as a craft supply store!

  18. Leslie says:

    That is really. freaking. awesome.

    I wish I was that talented!

    I think you should attempt a Christmas diorama when the season comes…

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