Succulent Pumpkins (Minimalist Halloween Decor)

It’s incredible how fast and furious trends can be. One day you’re saving your allowance for slap bracelets, a decade later everyone has the same Steve Madden black wedge shoes and bootcut black pants, and now no one can announce a pregnancy unless they have a felted block letter sign.

Succulents are one of those current trends. As my favorite podcaster recently said, you can’t walk past a succulent wall without taking an insta. California was rife with succulent plants, and rightly so, as Californians have been in a drought since I was living there back in the 80s as a child. My teeth-brushing habits were forever changed. But, I digress.

Succulents are just that…. so succulent. They are earthy and natural. They put just the right kind of green pop into every season, while remaining utterly low-maintenance. They seem to just match everything and make everything look and feel more organic. I’m already seeing them in Thanksgiving table decor ideas, and I’m not surprised.

I hate decorating for the holidays. I love the feel of Fall, and the feel of Christmas, but the decorating aspect to me has always felt costly, both in time and money. Buying, storing and hanging decorations exhausts me, and yet, walking to a Home Goods this time of year also makes me feel depressed about my life. Why don’t I have pumpkin-themed throw pillows? Where are my platters that say thankful in a thoughtful script? Following minimalism and embracing it over the past year has helped me come to terms with my decoration-hating, and find my own place where my home can feel festive without the angst of buying and storing in massive tupperwares and dedicating weekends to the turnover between seasons.

Where holidays and minimalism have met for me is in decorating organically, using neutral items that have a shelf life. For me, this means fresh flowers in the Spring, and on my table throughout the Summer and Fall. It means multiple pots of fat mums and awkwardly shaped pumpkins during the Fall, and a lot of pine cones and holly in the winter with fresh evergreen.

These succulent pumpkins were my foray into decorating minimally last Fall, and I assembled them, along with my mom, in an afternoon for less than $100 total. I relished giving them away to dear friends, and I pretty much beamed with pride having mine as my centerpiece throughout the holiday season (bonus points for the extra muscle I gained moving it out of the center of the table before dinner most nights.)

When I first saw them, I was convinced that they were carved terrariums – with potting soil, but when I dug deeper, I discovered that they required no carving, no knife skills, simply a glue gun, a handful of succulents of varying shapes and sizes, and some store bought moss to shore up the pumpkins, make them flatter, and give a forest-feel to your pumpkin.

These days, a lot of people sell succulent cuttings for super cheap on Craig’s List and NextDoor, and you can buy moss on Amazon. Here are the how-tos.

Succulent Pumpkins


(pictured are our materials- spread out)

pumpkin(s) – based on how many you want to make- it’s as easy to make 5-6 as it is to make 1 – white pumpkins and fairytale pumpkins make great canvases

1-3 packages of moss (we got ours at a nursery, but you can buy it on Amazon or at most craft stores)

spray adhesive like this

a glue gun

a variety of succulents and/or air plants

First, use moss to create a base on the top of your pumpkin, using the spray adhesive  to affix it somewhat evenly in the center in patches.

Next, place succulents around the center, turning the pumpkin as you work to ensure your composition is even – work in groups of three for balance. Remember, you can always move or adjust. When you are satisfied, use the glue gun to affix them to the moss.

To finish, use moss, or succulent tendrils, or even eucalyptus branches as a final touch.

Spritz your succulent pumpkin every few days with water, and it will last forever (if you want it to). We removed the succulents from ours in February and used them again in a wreath.