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Pumpkin Turkey

Susan Lavelle, a grade school teacher in San Jose, California, has a family tradition of having turkey on Thanksgiving, but not the edible variety.  Her family’s tradition is a floral turkey centerpiece.


This was the inspiration for my Pumpkin Turkey and it is with her blessings that I have modified her family’s ritual Thanksgiving centerpiece.  Thank you Susan!


Jill’s Pumpkin Turkey


Materials for Felt Head (Pattern provided by Susan Lavelle)


  • Patterns for turkey head, gobbler and beak (See patterns provided)

  • 3  9”x12” felt rectangles, 1 each in brown, yellow and red 

  • 2 small buttons for the turkey’s eyes

  • 1 small bag of cotton balls

  • Brown thread and sewing needle or sewing machine

  • 1 wire coat-hanger

  • Scissors 

  • Wire cutters


Assembling Felt Turkey head: (See Pattern)


  1. Trace and cut out the provided patterns: 2 heads on brown felt, 1 gobbler on red felt, 2 beaks on yellow felt. 

  2. Sew on the buttons for to create the turkey’s eyes.

  3. Leave the hook of the coat-hanger intact, bending other section of the coat-hanger straight.

  4. Sandwich the coat-hanger between the 2 felt heads with the hook at the turkey’s beak.

  5. Sew the 2 felt heads together, stuffing cotton balls between the head and coat-hanger. Leave the bottom of the neck open. 

  6. With wire cutters, cut the coat-hanger 3 inches below the felt turkey neck. 

  7. Sew the beak pieces back to back, over the end of the turkey’s nose.  Fold the red gobbler over the beak and sew it in place.


Flower Directions




  • 1 Brick floral foam

  • 1 Pumpkin that is approximately 6-inches in diameter

  • 1 Dozen Autumn colored flowers.  These flowers might include chrysanthemums, wheat, lisianthus, coxcomb, ornamental kale and peppers, grasses, safflower, hypericum berries etc.

  • (Optional) 5 Feathers (these can be gleamed from a clean feather duster)

  • Knife and pumpkin scoop

  • Floral clippers 

  • Floral preservative




  1. Soak the floral foam in water for at least 30 minutes.

  2. Cut a hole in the top of the pumpkin and scoop out the insides of the pumpkin.

  3. Cut the floral foam to fit inside the hole of the pumpkin. 

  4. Insert the turkey head into the floral foam in what will be the front of the turkey.

  5. Cut flowers to approximately 6-inches in length and begin inserting them into the floral foam to create a feathery tail.


My best,

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