Literary Lanterns: Making Reading Connections with Pumpkins for Halloween

The librarian at my daughter’s school has created so much excitement by encouraging students to bringing in pumpkins carved or decorated as their favorite story-book character. She pulls the corresponding book off the shelf and displays it alongside its pumpkin twin — the kids are eating it up and the library looks amazing! These LITERACY LANTERNS make me smile!

Decorate pumpkin as book character. Pumpkin Mercy Watson

We got in on the action with a pumpkin version of Mercy Watson. Claire really enjoyed Mercy Watson last year in first grade and being that (as a pig) Mercy is round, fat and sort of pumpkin colored, she seemed an easy character to try.

mercy watsonTarget had a collection of animal noses: pigs, dogs and something that (vaguely) resembled and bear. We simple cut the elastic straps off and glued that pig nose right on the pumpkin. With some google-eyes, pink felted ears and a sharpie smile our Pumpkin Mercy Watson was complete!

I’ve started a collection of these book inspired pumpkins over on Pinterest. Come on by and check it out.


Some Tips for Literary Pumpkins —

  • Look for characters with simple shapes and pick a fruit that’s similar. Think about Arthur – he looks just like a butternut squash!
  • Pick Details! For the most part you won’t be able to fit an entire character and every feature of that character. Pick a few details to get juuuuuussst right. Think of Olivia’s triangular nostrils, the striped pattern in “A Bad Case of Stripes.”
  • Use Accessories! Captain Underpants with REAL UNDIES, a raised Play-Doh scar for Harry Potter, a crown for Mercy Watson “Princess in Disguise.”

A few of my favorites are below. These storybook characters lend themselves especially well to being turned into pumpkins! There are tons of possibilities, have fun! I’m continuing to but a collection together online for some “Pin-spiration!” We still have to pick out this year’s pumpkin.

pumpkins decorated as book chracters

  1. Captain Underpants
  2. Where the Wild Things Are
  3. A Bad Case of Stripes
  4. The Little Mouse, the Red Ripe Strawberry and the Big Hungry Bear


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