8 No-Carve Pumpkin Decorating Ideas

By Linda Merrill, Networx

As autumn sets in, the nights are cooler and the days are shorter, and pumpkins are waiting in the pumpkin patch. Our fall tradition of decorating our homes with the autumnal colors of orange, yellow and brown is in full swing. Pumpkin carving is a time-honored tradition, but it’s time consuming, takes a certain bit of skill, and it’s only a matter of time before the pumpkin begins to rot. Beyond the knife, there are many ways of dressing up the pumpkin to celebrate the season. Here are a few to get you started:

  • Sharpie: If you love the classic Jack-o’-lantern look without the bother of the carving process, simply draw in the eyes, nose and teeth in your favorite scary expression. The pumpkin will last all season. Plus, you’ve created your roadmap should you wish to carve it out for Halloween.
  • Paint: A little bit of craft paint and some imagination will transform any size pumpkin into a work of art. Because the pumpkin shape is as iconic as its color, there are no worries about obscuring the theme by painting it in any style you wish. Stripes, colorful zig-zags like a Missoni pattern, and blue and white porcelain patterns are just some of the ideas seen online. How about painting the pumpkins in metallic paints for a rich look, or in a chalk paint for home-spun appeal? With paint, you can do silly faces, basic polka-dots or easy-to-paint ants and spiders crawling all over the place – it would certainly get attention!
  • Flowers: Decorate a party table with flower-covered pumpkins rather than a standard centerpiece. Simply hot glue chrysanthemum flower heads all over the pumpkin. If you prefer, you can use a long pin to secure the flower to the pumpkin.


Next: five more great ideas!

  • Yarn: All knitters end up with leftover yarns in their collections. Try wrapping pumpkins in colorful yarns in a mix of patterns. Paint the pumpkin surface with clear dry craft glue and lay the yarn in desired patterns.
  • Gauze: Pumpkin Mummies? Of course! Simply coat thin gauze strips in craft glue and wrap your pumpkin in otherworldly style. Paint or draw in some eyes peeking out from under the bandages.
  • Découpage: Mod Podge and magazines: a great way to decorate your favorite pumpkin in any theme. Create a “stained glass” look by applying colorful papers randomly around the entire surface of the pumpkin and filling in the spaces with black or metallic paint. Excellent, fashionable examples of decoupaged pumpkins can be found on Hometalk, where blogger Between Naps on the Porch posted super pics of her high-fashion pumpkins.
  • Ribbon: Glue or pin decorative ribbon in different colors and patterns to the “spines” of the pumpkin from the cap to the bottom. Ribbon comes in so many colors, patterns and sizes that it will be easy to find the combination that works with your decor or party theme.
  • Nailhead trim: Metal upholstery nailhead comes in a variety of finishes, patterns and sizes. Create one-of-a-kind pumpkins for your interior or exterior with nails and a hammer. Adding a monogram or house number would be a creative way to greet guests or as a personalized hostess gift.

Linda Merrill is an interior designer who works with Boston-area tile contractors and painting contractors.



5 Alternative Vegetable Jack-o’-Lanterns
10 Recycled DIY Halloween Decorations
Floating Pumpkin Candles

By Linda Merrill, Networx


Donna Hamilton
Donna Hamilton5 years ago


Kathy Perez
Kathy Johnson5 years ago

thanks. needs pictures though

Oana Vasiloiu
yonette VO5 years ago

Nice ideas! Thank you!

devon leonard
Devon Leonard5 years ago

Pumpkins are fun...young and old alike enjoy this time of year......

Winn Adams
Winn A5 years ago


Lynn D.
Lynn D5 years ago

Thanks for information!

Danuta Watola
Danuta W5 years ago

Thanks for sharing.

Janet L.
Janet L5 years ago

I also love pumpkins just as they are, unadorned in all their autumn glory....

Sheri P.
Sheri P5 years ago

i apparently have no imagination when it comes to this kind of thing b/c i can't visualize any of these ideas! it would be really nice to have illustrations also....

Carolyn Nord
Carolyn Nord5 years ago

I think Halloween might be considered a big holiday because though most holidays center more on children, this one allows adults to be "kids" again too! Doesn't matter if you're getting treats or giving them out, in a festive mood, the result is sheer fun and joy! In this hotbed of political climate these days, surely a romp through some sheer fun and joy might be just the remedy for the times! At least it sure is to me! I mean if President Obama and Mr. Romney both came to my door, they'd BOTH get a treat and a sincere "Happy Halloween!" greeting! Even though both won't get my vote - just one!