The gesture is real, but the symbols are an illusion. Pineapples, representing bounty and hospitality, are often depicted in carved-wood finials on furniture and fence posts. This pair of pumpkins masquerade as pineapples to beckon visitors along a path sculpted of autumn leaves. Boxwood clippings serve as the fronds.
• 2 pineapple-shaped pumpkins
• 3/4-inch masking tape
• boxwood or other evergreen branches
• floral wire
• sheet moss or sphagnum moss
• candles, battery-operated lights, or outdoor-approved light sockets with 25- to 40-watt bulbs
1. Cut a door in the back of each pumpkin. Cut a chimney vent behind each stem. Scoop out the seeds and the pulp.
2. With masking tape, mark a cross-hatch design on the front and sides of each pumpkin, as shown above. Cut straight into the flesh of the pumpkins, about 1/2 inch deep (not all the way through), along the edges of the tape. Remove the tape.
3. Chisel and scrape out the channels that were under the tape, being careful not to carve all the way through.
4. In the middle of each diamond, carve a small, downward-pointing triangle. Cut deep, but not all the way through.
5. For the fronds, secure two bundles of boxwood clippings together with floral wire. Cut a hole in the top of each pumpkin to hold each bundle. Wrap the base of each bundle with moss for a soft finish, and insert the greens.
6. Put the candles or lights into the pumpkins and replace the back doors. Scrape more flesh from inside, if needed, to allow the light to show through.
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Excerpted from Pumpkin Chic: Decorating with Pumpkins and Gourds by Country Living (Hearst Books, 2002).