27 Fun and Festive Pumpkin Decorating Ideas for Halloween

Check out our unique pumpkin decorating ideas. This Halloween, your front porch will be sporting a new take on the traditional jack-o'-lantern. Learn more about new ways to paint, sculpt, and embellish your gourds with these pumpkin carving alternatives.

01 of 27

Dried Flower Pumpkin

dried flower faux pumpkin
Marty Baldwin

This gorgeous pumpkin pops with richly-colored dried blooms. To recreate, glue dried flowers on a faux pumpkin and finish with a real dried pumpkin stem. This elegant flower pumpkin makes a pretty fall centerpiece or front porch decoration.

02 of 27

Spooky Black and Gold

Black pumpkin on table with "spooky" written on it
Adam Albright

Who says pumpkins have to be funny or scary? Make your own modern display by using craft wire to create a festive phrase and attaching it to a black painted pumpkin. To create a long-lasting decoration, use a faux pumpkin ($9, Oriental Trading Co.) instead of a real one.

03 of 27

Marble Painted Pumpkins

Top view of marble painted pumpkins
Michael Piazza

These gorgeous marbled pumpkins are made with one surprising material: Nail polish. And getting the look is easy! Simply combine your favorite nail polish colors with water and dip small faux pumpkins into the marbled mixture for a colorful display of gourds.

04 of 27

Polka Dotted Pumpkins

Purple pumpkin with orange polka-dots
Michael Piazza

The secret to this fun polka dotted pumpkin is hiding in your kitchen drawers. To get the look, use a melon baller, such as OXO Softworks Melon Baller, ($10, Target) to carve out circles from the pumpkin rind, then place them back in the holes the opposite way to create a fun contrasting look.

05 of 27

Owl Pumpkin

owl pumpkin sunflower seed eyes
Alexandra Grablewski

With minimal carving and a little bit of hot glue ($3, Walmart), plain pumpkins become cute owls. The secret embellishment to these easy owl pumpkins? Sunflower seeds create sweet pumpkin faces.

06 of 27

Floral Etched Pumpkins

White pumpkins with floral etchings
Michael Piazza

Rather than carve your pumpkins the traditional way, use a scraping tool to etch a gorgeous design into the front. The lighter flesh of the pumpkin will contrast with the darker color of the rind to create a pretty design that really pops.

07 of 27

Ombre Pumpkins

spray painted white pumpkins
Jacob Fox

All you need for this pumpkin carving alternative is a few cans of spray paint! You can use any colors you like to create the look, but we love the non-traditional pink and orange color scheme of this Halloween center piece. Start with faux pumpkins and use spray paint to lightly layer on various colors; hold the can farther away to get the faded ombre look.

08 of 27

Monogram Pumpkin

monogrammed pumpkin stack on chair
Alexandra Grablewski

For a unique pumpkin decorating idea, adding your initials to pumpkins to welcome trick-or-treaters on Halloween night. Print out large letters from your favorite fonts and use them as carving patterns for your pumpkins.

Editor's Tip: You could also trace the letters onto pumpkins and paint them for a similar effect.

09 of 27

Monster Pumpkins

Green pumpkins cauldron googly eyes
Jason Donnelly

This pile of pumpkins could not be cuter—or easier to make! Spray paint a set of small pumpkins with green spray paint ($6, Michaels) and use googly eyes and a black paint pen to add eyes and mouths.

10 of 27

Green Jack-o'-Lantern

green traditional jack-o-lantern
Helen Norman

You can't go wrong with a triangle nose and eyes with a crooked grin. But when the traditional jack-o'-lantern design is carved into a green pumpkin, it stands out amidst its orange counterparts.

11 of 27

Splatter Paint Pumpkins

mini splatter painted pumpkins on splatter background
Carson Downing

These aren't your classic painted pumpkins! Dress up any Halloween decor scheme with these colorful miniature pumpkins. To get the look, paint a whole bucket full of mini pumpkins in solid colors, then use a paintbrush and watered-down acrylic paint to splatter them all with black and white paint.

12 of 27

Creepy Crawlies

White pumpkin with spiders
Adam Albright

Create a not-so-scary creation decorated with creepy crawly spiders—faux, of course. Use hot glue to attach plastic spiders ($2, Party City) to the outside of a white pumpkin and set it on the front porch for a festive no-carve pumpkin.

13 of 27

All Aboard

Four pumpkins with train carving and paintings
Adam Albright

This pumpkin carving alternative is sweet as can be! The kids will love helping with this festive Halloween display, plus, this Halloween craft doubles as a fun family activity. Let everyone choose their own pumpkin at the patch, then have each person paint part of the train onto their pumpkins. Then, line them up on the front porch for the neighbors to admire.

14 of 27

Dracula Pumpkin

dracula pumpkin
Dane Tashima

This fanged painted pumpkin isn't so scary! To make your own Dracula-inspired pumpkin, use green spray paint ($6, Michaels) to cover the gourd, then use cardstock and acrylic paint to add the accents.

15 of 27

Boo-tiful Button Pumpkin

pumpkin button boo bow on top
Adam Albright

Give this pretty pumpkin a ghostly message in a few minutes with some glue, a jar of black buttons, and an elegant bow. Paint the pumpkin stem using black crafts paint; let dry. Print a Halloween message in a large font from your computer; cut out individual letters with scissors. Position the letters on the pumpkin, trace around them with a pencil, and remove. Fill each letter with black buttons, such as this pack of black buttons, ($8, Michaels) adhering them with glue. Tie a black wire-edged ribbon into a bow around the pumpkin stem to finish.

16 of 27

Tangled Web Pumpkin

tangled web with spider on top
Jason Donnelly

Decorate a pumpkin with a knotted spiderweb. Using heavy, metallic black stitching braid, cut web "spokes" to the desired lengths and knot each end. Tack the ends in place on the pumpkin using short black map pins. Circle the intersecting web pieces in the same manner, knotting the ends and using pins to hold the braid in place. Complete the look by hot-gluing a spider or two onto the web.

17 of 27

Grim Reaper Pumpkin Tower

grim reaper pumpkin tower
Greg Scheidemann

Watch out—this menacing jack-o'-lantern dude may be looking for you. With a tall stature and snarling face, he is the keeper of Halloween fright.

18 of 27

Flower Power Pumpkins

cut flower polka dot pumpkins
Blaine Moats

Ditch the traditional carving knife for this creative pumpkin carving alternative. Floral-inspired metal cookie cutters ($10, Walmart) create a fantastic floral design on pumpkins of all colors. With polka dots and flower pumpkins, you'll love having this gorgeous take on Halloween decor.

19 of 27

Etched Flowers Pumpkin

etched flowers illuminated pumpkin
Peter Krumhardt

Illuminate flowers instead of jack-o'-lantern faces with light-up pumpkins. For this blooming pumpkin, use an apple corer to carve out the flower centers. Then use a triangle clay loop tool to etch petal designs around the holes—scraping away only the pumpkin surface.

20 of 27

Green-Face Monster Gourd

green-faced monster carved gourd
Marty Baldwin

Before carved pumpkins became popular, people used to carve vegetables instead! Search farmer's markets for unique varieties of pumpkins and gourds as alternatives to classic orange pumpkins. Then carve out cute pumpkin faces for an irresistibly adorable new look.

21 of 27

Pumpkin Man

stacked pumpkin man hat arms
Quentin Bacon

This tower of pumpkins mimics his winter cousin: The snowman. Start with three pumpkins in graduating sizes. Drill a hole through the center bottom of each pumpkin. Feed the drilled pumpkins onto a thick dowel rod. Poke stick arms into the sides of the middle pumpkin and drape a scarf of fall garland around base of the top pumpkin. Draw a jack-o'-lantern face onto the top pumpkin and crown with a dapper black chapeau.

22 of 27

Spider Pumpkin

spider pumpkin pasted eyes legs
Reed Davis

For those who don't shriek at the sight of spiders, download and print our free pattern, enlarge to a size to fit your pumpkin, and cut out the pattern pieces. Trace the pieces onto construction paper, using the photo as a color guide. Layer the eye pieces and secure with crafts glue. Glue the eyes, mouth, and fangs to the pumpkin. Poke four wires into the pumpkin on each side of the face and bend to form eight scurrying legs.

23 of 27

Powered-Up Pumpkins

power-drilled pumpkins on porch
Steven Randazzo

Whip out the power drill ($30, Walmart) to carve intricately detailed pumpkins. These faces were sketched first, then drilled to make evenly spaced holes along the drawn lines. Light up pumpkins with a small candle or light.

24 of 27

Pretty Pumpkin Pots

pumpkin flower pot yellow mums
Blaine Moats

Three pumpkins—two orange and one white—form a clever keeper for mums or other fall blossoms. Cutouts from the white pumpkin form striking accents on the base, while a smaller pumpkin holds the flowerpot.

25 of 27

Leaning Tower of Pumpkins

leaning tower stacked pumpkins
Michael Grand

Stacked pumpkins are a Halloween architectural treat. Choose four pumpkins in graduated sizes, hollow them out, and carve simple geometric shapes into each one. Cut a hole in the top of each pumpkin slightly smaller than the base of the pumpkin that will sit on top of it. Stack the pumpkins, with tops off, to test their fit. If needed, carve larger openings so the pumpkins nestle slightly into one another. Or push a sturdy metal garden stake through the center of the tower to secure the stack. Place the lid back on the top pumpkin.

26 of 27

Junk Pumpkins

trinket embellished pumpkins
Robyn Lehr

For a fun take on decorating pumpkins, grab odds and ends—door hinges, upholstery tacks, old keys—from the junk drawer and add embellishments.

27 of 27

Pumpkin Cars

carved pumpkin cars raven driver
Greg Scheidemann

For a new pumpkin decorating idea, stage a Halloween car chase with automobiles crafted from pumpkins and gourds. Then choose your drivers. We opted for a raven and a mouse as our racing creatures.

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