Going to the pumpkin patch (or at least the grocery store) is an October tradition that we all cherish.
Every pumpkin is a fresh canvas for your child’s creativity, and decorating them together is a wonderful way to celebrate Halloween as a family.
Even though some of us love to carve into the pumpkin and harvest the seeds, you’ll need to get the timing just right. Otherwise, you might face a mushy disaster. It’s recommended by Real Simple to not carve your pumpkins more than three days away from the holiday. That makes sense, but it’s often hard to tell children that they need to wait.
Kids are already excited by the holiday as-is. To them, it’s torturous to see a bare, undecorated gourd hanging outside on the porch.
That’s why it’s great to embrace all of the forms of pumpkin decoration. If you don’t carve into it, it has a much longer lifespan. Plus, by avoiding carving, you’re exploring your creativity without the fear of accidentally hacking away too much by mistake. And yes — we’ve all been there before.
Might I add, carving takes up a lot of time and makes quite a mess. Unless you have a good technique, you may get pumpkin innards all over the kitchen. It’s fine for a once-a-year tradition. But if you’re running out of time, or don’t have much space, you may be looking for alternative ways to spread your Halloween spirit.
Here are 12 innovative ways to decorate your pumpkins that don’t require tools or kits.
Turn them into donuts.
Reese Witherspoon found a creative way to make her pumpkins look more appetizing — she turned them into donuts. These pumpkins are colorful and fun, and a great way to celebrate one of the best dessert options out there. Plus, it’s a good reminder that your decor doesn’t have to be spooky to be seasonally appropriate.
Make a rainbow pumpkin.
Embrace every color of the rainbow — and then some. This eye-popping pumpkin will brighten up your home if you keep it indoors. It’s so cheerful that you might find it sticking around well after the holiday.
Paint it gold.
You can’t go wrong with a golden pumpkin. It’ll attract attention and might even get mistaken for something you’d pick up at a store like T.J. Maxx. If you have more than one, try experimenting with silver paint, as well.
Re-create the cast of your favorite TV show.
Of course, it’s easy if they’re animated — like the Adventure Time pumpkins here. But there are plenty of cute options out there. For example, putting the Simpsons on some pumpkins would be neat for a superfan to try. All you need is patience and a bunch of yellow paint.
Add some glitter.
Glitter can be messy, but it’s still popular because it makes art projects stand out. A little bit of glitter on your full pumpkin — or just a few decorative small gourds — will go a long way. Just know in advance that you might see glitter specks lingering around your house until Christmas. (But that’s not the worst thing in the world.)
Make chalkboard pumpkins.
These are especially cute for teachers, so consider making a few for your children to give to their favorite educators. You can find chalkboard paint in stores, or even make a batch of your own if you’re feeling creative. If you’re hosting a big Halloween party, consider using a big chalkboard pumpkin to list what’s on the lunch or dinner menu.
Make a paint-drip pumpkin.
Paint it with polka dots.
It might seem odd to feature Reese Witherspoon again, but what can I say? Girl loves pumpkins. In this photo, the actress is showcasing a few more inspiring holiday patterns, with the polka-dotted pumpkin being one of the most appealing. Using a pattern like polka dots — or even leopard print — will ensure an Instagram-worthy pumpkin.
Try adding some hair.
Adding some hair covers the stem, which will make your pumpkins look a little less like gourds and more like people. Consider going crazy with it — try making one of your pumpkins a troll this year. Or maybe you can give your pumpkin braids that would even make Daenerys from Game of Thrones jealous.
Paint a Poké Ball pumpkin.
If you or your kids are fans of Pokémon (or just Pokémon Go), then it makes sense to turn your pumpkin into a Poké Ball. The design is pretty simple, and if you’re good with painting in the lines, your pumpkin will be an absolute hit at Halloween. If you pair this with a Pikachu-inspired pumpkin, you have a perfect match.
If you have glue and some fake jewels, you can bedazzle your pumpkin. Whether you choose to cover the whole exterior or just create a fun design is up to you. But here’s a tip: Make sure to place your finished project in a place where curious animals or toddlers can’t reach it.
Support your favorite team.
You can paint your team’s logo or just decorate the pumpkin with the team colors. If your family is big into football, you can use your pumpkin as the perfect way to spread team pride. After the holiday, you can also put your painted pumpkin right next to the television and see if it serves as a good luck charm when the game is on.