Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Storybook Pumpkin Patch

Hi friends!

If you haven't tried a storybook pumpkin patch in your library yet, you've GOT to give it a try! This was my first year to give it a go, and WOW! Our students really surprised me!

Gerald, the elephant

Now, these are the same students who forget to turn in library books, and I thought they might forget to bring their pumpkins, but their creativity was SHINING with this project!


Our library is blossoming with pumpkins, designed to look like our favorite characters from books. I put green butcher paper on top of our bookshelves, to contrast with the pumpkins.

Greg Heffley has his own speech bubble!

This was super easy to do, and the whole school is excited about it. Here's what I learned from my librarian colleagues in my school district:

  • pumpkins may not be carved or cut (avoid rotten, stinky smells)
  • pumpkins should be designed based on a character from a book
  • acrylic paint or permanent markers are good for creating designs. Watercolors and spray paint are bad.
  • Items can be glued on to the pumpkin.
  • Students can use a real or fake pumpkin
  • Students pick up their pumpkin the afternoon of October 31. When they pick up their pumpkin, they receive a spirit stick for participating. (You don't want to get stuck with these pumpkins forever!)
  • On the back of the instructions, have an entry form with blanks for the child's name, pumpkin's name, book title, author, illustrator, and a description of the character. 

This project took very little effort on my part, but it has our whole campus smiling and talking about their favorite characters. I did make a simple pumpkin of my own about a week ahead of time (Pinkalicious, with dollar store hair, tiara, and wand) so that students could see an example.

Humphrey (cotton balls with make-up on them)

Some of the schools in our district have been doing this for 20 years. It's not too difficult for the students, and the families had fun working on these together. I wish I'd tried it sooner!

Fortune Wookiee

Out of 850 students, I now have 100 decorated  pumpkins in our library. Wow! Have you tried the Storybook Pumpkin Patch in your library? If you have, tell us about it!


  1. Wonderful!! I have wanted to do this but was worried about how much work I might be making for myself. You have inspired me to plan this for next year! What was your time frame for sending home information? When did the kids start bringing their creations to the library? I actually bought several dollar store "carvable" faux pumpkins last week planning to decorate a few myself for the library but haven't found the time.

    1. Good questions, Shelly! I'm glad you asked.
      I sent the flyers home on the Tuesday (Oct. 16) before I wanted students to bring them in on the following Monday (Oct. 22). I included a weekend, knowing how crazy school nights can be.
      Students started bringing pumpkins on Monday (Oct. 22) and they'll take them home next Wednesday, Oct. 31.
      In addition to the flyer that went home with every student, I talked up my Pinkalicious pumpkin to every student who checked out a book!
      This is definitely one of those "magical" projects where a small time investment yields big results!

  2. These are so cute and a great idea! Please let the student who made the Babymouse Pumpkin that it is adorable and I'd really like to steal it, but I'll let the library enjoy it :)

    1. Thanks, Lizz! I'll pass along your compliment.
      Babymouse is popular in our library all year long!

  3. Love, love, love! We did a Storybook Pumpkin Patch for the first time this year, but instead of individual students, each class submitted a pumpkin. They turned out so cute! Take a look We are doing this as a fundraiser for 3 local charities that our school donates to each year, so each pumpkin has a little jar sitting next to it for "votes" (1 penny=1 vote). I really like that the students brought in one of their own. I'll have to keep that in mind for next year!

    1. Wow! Thanks for sharing those photos, Deana! Those are some GREAT pumpkins! I love the idea of adding a fundraiser for charity.

  4. Oh I love this! I can't wait to do it next year.

    1. Thanks, Ms. Drew! I think you'll have a blast with this project!

  5. Hi! Great idea! Do you have the flyer you sent home posted anywhere? Thanks! Brenda

    1. Brenda, I haven't posted the flyer because I adapted it from one of the other librarians in my district. I will ask her permission to share it. Thanks for asking!

    2. Brenda,
      I did receive permission, and I've uploaded the flier to Google Docs. You can view it and download it at this link:

  6. We just did our very first Storybook Pumpkin Patch and the entire school had a BLAST! You can read about it on my blog at
    Many of the kids and teachers are already planning their pumpkins for next year! Thank you so much for sharing this idea! Our school now has a new tradition thanks to you!! :)