fall decor

Falling evening temperatures, morning dew tipped bluegrass, late-night bonfires, and pumpkin-spiced everything…Fall has arrived in the midwest! You’ve packed up the car, headed out apple picking and pumpkin hunting, and returned home with a harvest of autumnal delights, now what?! Before carving those pumpkins, let’s combine them with some mums, kale, cabbage, and gourds and create a stunning fall decor front porch display!

If you’ve spent any time in Chicagoland, you know that porch pumpkins lead to a flurry of squirrel activity around your display. While there is nothing wrong with squirrels taking advantage of nature’s bounty, how do we steer them away from your arrangement and back into the wild?


squirrels pumpkin

A few tips to Prevent Squirrels from Eating your Pumpkins… 

  • Hairspray Dive deep into that vanity and douse those pumpkins and gourds in a healthy coating of AquaNet! While squirrels don’t appear to dislike one brand more than the other, we like to think the additives in the hairsprays of the ’80s are probably a bit more effective!
  • Petroleum Jelly This is a bit of a messy application, but it lasts longer than hairspray. Squirrels dislike the tacky feel and have a tendency to move on to the neighbor’s house.
  • Lacquer Give those pumpkins a freshly waxed shine! Lacquer is not as messy as petroleum jelly and it has a little more lasting power than hairspray. Covering your displays with lacquer can create a texture and taste that is unpleasant to seed-seeking squirrels in one easy spray application.
  • Hot Sauce Not unlike your Aunt Karen, squirrels dislike anything spicy! To create an easy to apply concoction; finish up a gallon of milk, rinse out the container, refill it near the top with water, add 10oz of that hot sauce that’s been sitting in the back of the fridge and add about a two-second squirt of dish soap (adhesion). Pour that brew into a spray bottle and let those pumpkins have it! Since this is a liquid application, it will need to be regularly reapplied, but the oils from the peppers will begin to seep into the pumpkin providing a bit of lasting power! Beware, the coloring from the “pepper spray” may stain your pavers or concrete.
  • Pet Hair This one looks a little strange but sprinkling some pet hair at the base of your display, in combination with the aforementioned options, may help keep those seed smugglers from approaching your fall arrangement.


The unfortunate reality is that all the squirrels are looking to do is fatten up and attempt to survive the long winter. Some years you win the battle, some years they do! So, layout those pumpkins, slide in some gourds, position a few mums, kale, and cabbage and you will either be the envy of the neighborhood or a smorgasbord for the bright-eyed and bushy-tailed squirrels. Although it means a little extra maintenance in the garden, these tips and this could be your year to win…or not!

fall pumpkin and plants