How to Build a Pumpkin Totem
A Little Art and a Little Engineering
Pumpkin totems are a little art and a little engineering. You need some of both to make them work, but the engineering is definitely important. The main reason for this is that pumpkins do not naturally stack one on top of the other and they are really heavy, so you need a structure, albeit simple, to keep them standing. We recommend something strong, such as half-inch rebar. You've probably never used rebar before, but it is readily available and inexpensive. We recommend buying a piece at least 10 feet long so you can deeply embed it in the ground and still have plenty of space above ground for your pumpkin totem.
After choosing your location, push the rebar into the ground at least 2' and up to 3' deep. In soft soil it should push in easily. If the soil is rocky you may need to use a pipe type post driver used to install t-posts.
Now it is time to organize your pumpkins. We laid ours out on the ground near our rebar support and chose their order based on size and color. It's wise to place the larger pumpkins closer to the ground, although it can be a nice effect to vary the colors, sizes and shapes as you go from bottom to top.
Get the Drill and Step Ladder
Once you've chosen your pumpkins you need to drill pilot holes through the center, top to bottom, so they slide easily without cracking on the rebar. If you're using ½' rebar you will need a ½' drill bit for a sufficiently large but secure fit. Now go ahead and drill your first pumpkin. Nothing to it!
Next, someone needs to climb a step ladder next to the rebar and slide the pumpkin over the top of the rebar. Someone on the ground below will need to guide the pumpkin down to the ground so it doesn't get damaged. Now that you've done the first pumpkin the rest is easy: drill and slide, drill and slide. Before long, given the size of pumpkins, you'll be at the top (ours was about 8' tall)!
How to Keep it Standing Tall
At this point, we thought we were finished, and did a little rejoicing. Boy, were we wrong! Not long after we assembled a magnificent totem a breeze came up and before we knew it the pumpkins had fallen to the ground. Don't let this happen to you! We advise tying four lines of sturdy string, twine or other material near the top of the totem, each one radiating outward to the ground like the four points on a compass: north, south, east west. Secure the lines with strong stakes to the ground; tent stakes will do. Now you're finished. Your totem should stand tall, beautiful and strong for several weeks until the pumpkins begin to disintegrate and fall off the rebar. You may want to take it down before this happens, but they
make excellent additions to the compost pile whether they fall on their own or
you take them down. Stand back and enjoy. It's pumpkin totem time!