Your kids will love this Halloween craft. 

By Real Simple
Updated July 20, 2017
Philip Friedman; Styling: Blake Ramsey

Pumpkins are the symbol of the season, showing up on every porch and front stoop on the block, and lending a little charm to dining tables and entryways. But to make these pumpkins truly magical, you’ll want to make them everlasting. When crafted out of paper mache—the classic process of dipping newsprint into a glue-like mixture of flour and water—pumpkins can be summoned from storage and used as decorations year after year. To set these handmade masterpieces apart from the boring pumpkin-patch variety, we decoupaged ours with paper napkins in iconic patterns. When topped off with a twisted craft paper stem and a couple gilded crepe paper leaves, they really start to come alive. Twist the stems together into a vine arrangement along a mantel or line them up on a dining table to create a DIY centerpiece for a Halloween dinner party. Go ahead, leave these pumpkins out until Thanksgiving—these enchanted gourds will never rot.

What You’ll Need:

  • 12-inch balloon
  • 3 rubber bands
  • Flour
  • Blank newsprint (found at office supply stores)
  • Patterned paper napkins (we found ours at Marimekko, $6 per pack)
  • Clear craft glue
  • Brown craft paper
  • Gold crepe paper

Follow These Steps:

  1. Inflate a balloon about three-quarters of the way full.
  2. Place a rubber band around the balloon, then add a second so that the two bands form an X at the top and bottom of the pumpkin. Add a third rubber band so that all of the bands are evenly spaced and divide the balloon into segments.
  3. Mix equal parts flour and warm water to create the paper mache paste. Tear the newsprint into approximately 1-by-4-inch strips. Dip the strips into the flour mixture and smooth them onto the balloon. Repeat until the entire surface is covered, leaving a small hole on the opposite side of the balloon knot (this will be the bottom of the pumpkin).
  4. Add a second layer of paper mache. Let dry overnight, then pop the balloon.
  5. Cut sections from the patterned paper napkins. Decoupage the pieces onto the pumpkin surface by coating one side with glue, smoothing it onto the pumpkin, and then brushing more glue on top. Continue decorating the pumpkin as desired.
  6. Twist a length of craft paper to form a stem, and adhere it to the top of the pumpkin. Cut leaf shapes from the crepe paper and glue them onto the stem.