Pretty-scary: A no-carve Halloween pumpkin that’s more chic than shriek

EL SEGUNDO, CALIFORNIA ? SEPTEMBER 23, 2018: Dayna Isom Johnson demonstrates how to make your own un
Make your own unicorn pumpkins using string and artificial pumpkins.
(Calvin B. Alagot / Los Angeles Times)

This Halloween, cast a spell that’s more magical than macabre with a no-carve unicorn pumpkin that is as sweet as it is simple thanks to step-by-step instructions from Dayna Isom Johnson, trend expert for and celebrity judge for NBC’s competitive crafting show, “Making It.”

“This pumpkin is more about whimsy than spooktacularness,” Isom Johnson said. “This year, it’s all about being pretty-scary.”

And she should know.

Halloween is a big deal on Etsy. A quick search for “Halloween decor” on the website devoted to makers and handcrafted, artisanal goods turned up 233,782 results, and a search for “Halloween” in general yielded 1,310,019 matching responses.

“It’s one of our favorite times of the year,” said Isom Johnson, “because it’s all about being creative — whether that’s through home decor or what you’re going to dress up as; we have so many different levels of inspiration.”

As trend director, she combs through the site daily looking for new talent, trends and undiscovered merchandise. “I try to find things that haven’t been tapped yet, that haven’t really been seen in the media yet,” Isom Johnson said, “and then I write a monthly trend guide.”

For the spooky season this year, Etsy’s most popular trends — meaning the ones being searched most often on the site — include tarot cards, mysticism, true-crime themes and palmistry. “You will start to see, if you haven’t already,” said Isom Johnson, “a lot of tarot card decks, a lot of palm prints and Ouija boards. I’m still terrified of Ouija boards myself,” she admitted, “but it’s a trend, and if you are into it, it’s up to you.” trend expert Dayna Isom Johnson calls Halloween “one of our favorite times of the year because it’s all about being creative.” trend expert Dayna Isom Johnson calls Halloween “one of our favorite times of the year because it’s all about being creative.” Calvin B. Alagot / Los Angeles Times

Overall, Isom Johnson sees a style direction away from the old school plastic pumpkins and black and orange decor into what she is referring to as a more “elevated” and refined look.

Enter, the unicorn.

Galloping to front and center, the family-friendly DIY pumpkin craft is danger-free and foolproof, Isom Johnson said. (Not spooky enough for you? Grab a marker and draw a face, and maybe some fangs, where you — or the kids — see fit.)

“There’s no messing it up — because if you mess up, no big deal; you can start again or present it as it is.”

It’s a wabi-sabi philosophy the trend expert defines as “really just loving and embracing something that is handmade.”

Here’s how to make a Unicorn Pumpkin, but feel free to improvise

What you’ll need

Unicorn yarn pumpkins.
Unicorn yarn pumpkins. Calvin B. Alagot / Los Angeles Times

Faux craft-store pumpkin (or you can go with the real thing)


Thick or braided yarn in different colors (or a single, multicolored yarn)

Glue gun (optional)

How to

  1. Choose yarn color to wrap the stem. Begin wrapping the stem from the bottom up. You may want to add a bit of hot glue at the bottom to hold it, or you can tie the end.
  2. When you get to the top of the stem, wind the yarn back down to the bottom and cut it from the skein, allowing enough yarn to tuck under or tie off the end.
  3. To make the unicorn tail, use the flat, open palm of your hand and wrap the yarn around and around to desired thickness. (More yarn makes a fuller tail.) Cut the end of the yarn when you have reached desired thickness for that color. Gently remove the yarn loop from your hand and set aside (keep the loop shape!).
  4. Repeat the hand-wrapped yarn looping process for each color you want to include.
  5. Next, cut a long strand of yarn and thread it through all of the different multicolored loops.
  6. Tie the yarn tightly to pull all the loops together.
  7. Once the loops are secured, use the long piece of yarn to tie the loops onto the bottom of the pumpkin stem.
  8. After the yarn is tied off and tucked under, or hot-glued down, use the scissors to cut the bottoms of all the looped yarn to create a unicorn tail. Trim the tail strands as necessary.
  9. Feel free to draw a face, etc.
  10. Happy Halloween!

Bonnie McCarthy contributes to the Los Angeles Times as a home and lifestyle design writer. She enjoys scouting for directional trends and reporting on what’s new and next. Follow her on Twitter @ThsAmericanHome


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