photo of a pumpkin that's all ready to be decorated with these no carve pumpkin decorating ideas

5 Adorable No-Carve Pumpkin Decorating Ideas

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How to Decorate a Pumpkin — Without Carving It

Can you really decorate a pumpkin without carving it? Yep! And today I’m going to share some adorable no-carve pumpkin decorating ideas with you.

Not only because pumpkin carving is messy and a downright hassle at times. But also because it can be dangerous for little kids, who naturally want to do it themselves!

There are soooo many alternatives to carving pumpkins for Halloween decorating, from utilizing scraps of ribbon to simply painting them. Although I love carving pumpkins for the seeds, I really like the idea of no-carve pumpkin decorating. 

Plus, you can always decorate them and, as soon as Halloween is over, scoop out the seeds and bake them before the pumpkins turn to mush. 


use this graphic to share the no-carve pumpkin decorating ideas on pinterest


What Kind of Glue Will Stick to a Pumpkin?

Before we get into those five adorable no-carve pumpkin decorating ideas, let’s talk about the best glue for sticking things to a pumpkin.

What kind of glue will stick to a pumpkin? You have a few different options, but Elmer’s Tacky Glue and a glue gun should get the job done.


What Kind of Paint Do You Use on a Pumpkin?

If you plan to paint your pumpkins, you’re probably wondering what kind of paint to use, and if paint will even stick to them. But don’t worry! You have plenty of options.

For adults, acrylic and spray paints are best for painting pumpkins, since they won’t crack. 

If you have kids, you could try any kids’ washable tempera paint. You’ll want to mix half school glue and half paint to help it stick to the pumpkin. Otherwise, it will flake off once it dries, and you’ll have some sad kiddos!


Adorable No Carve Pumpkin Decorating Ideas

So, how do you decorate a pumpkin without carving it, anyway? Let’s find out!


1. Use a black Sharpie or paint instead of a knife.

Instead of carving a face into each pumpkin, draw them and fill in the spaces with a black marker or some paint. To get the best use from your marker, make sure your surface is clean and dry. 

Try a fine tip Sharpie for outlining the facial features and use a larger one to fill in the spaces. Play around with various facial expressions for each pumpkin, like you would when carving a jack-o-lantern.


2. Create a tacky pattern.

And I mean that quite literally.

Use brass thumb tacks or upholstery tacks to design a sort of nailhead look on your pumpkin. 

You can create a jack-o-lantern face on the pumpkin or come up with a unique design of your own. 

What is your favorite team’s logo? Do you have a lucky number? “Draw” a witch’s hat, a cat or one of many Halloween-related symbols onto your pumpkin using thumb tacks.




3. Bedazzle your pumpkin with glitter.

This is probably my favorite no-carve pumpkin decorating idea so far, and I’m excited to try it this fall. 

For a not-so-flashy dazzle, choose orange glitter. I like the idea of covering my pumpkins with silver and gold glitter, though. 

Brush a thin layer of glue onto the surface of your pumpkin and sprinkle it with craft glitter. You choose how heavily to coat the pumpkin. Let it dry before moving the pumpkin outdoors.


4. Wrap it like a present.

Do you have scraps of ribbon or tissue paper lying around unused? Put those scraps to use by wrapping them around your pumpkin. 

Cut them into thin strips first. Wrap the strips around the pumpkin in horizontal and vertical lines with varied distances between each piece, using glue to bind them to the surface.


5. Spray the pumpkin with metallic paint.

This is another of my favorite no-carve pumpkin ideas. I like the idea of using metallic spray paints because it is often translucent, meaning you can still see a little bit of the pumpkin’s surface underneath. 

Of course, you can always choose a solid color! But just imagine various bronze, pewter and other metallic colored pumpkins on your patio, surrounded by colorful leaves….

For kids who want to decorate their own pumpkins, washable tempera paint should work well.

(Again, you’ll want to mix the kids’ paint with glue to help it stick!)


photo of my daughter painting her no-carve pumpkin


Read more: How to Celebrate Halloween at Home With Kids


Which of these five cute, no-carve pumpkin decorating ideas is your favorite? Have you tried any other pumpkin decorating ideas that don’t require any carving tools? Let us know, and happy decorating!


Helpful No-Carve Pumpkin Decorating Tools

1. Elmer’s Tacky Glue

2. glue gun

3. spray paints

4. washable tempera paint

5. fine tip Sharpie

6. large Sharpie

7. upholstery tacks

8. glitter

9. ribbon

10. tissue paper


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