27 Fun and Festive Pumpkin Decorating Ideas for Halloween
Dried Flower Pumpkin
Spooky Black and Gold
Marble Painted Pumpkins
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, such as this 10-piece nail polish set, ($10, Target) with water and dip small faux pumpkins into the marbled mixture for a colorful display of gourds.
Polka Dotted Pumpkins
Floral Etched Pumpkins
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.
Related: How to Etch a Pumpkin
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.
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.
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.
Splatter Paint Pumpkins
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.
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.
Boo-tiful Button Pumpkin
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.
Related: 49 Easy Painted Pumpkin Ideas to Try
Tangled Web Pumpkin
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.
Grim Reaper Pumpkin Tower
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.
Flower Power Pumpkins
Etched Flowers Pumpkin
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.
Green-Face Monster Gourd
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.
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.
Pretty Pumpkin Pots
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.
Related: How to Care for Mums
Leaning Tower of Pumpkins
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.
For a fun take on decorating pumpkins, grab odds and ends—door hinges, upholstery tacks, old keys—from the junk drawer and add embellishments.
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.