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No-Carve Pumpkin Decorating

Updated on November 25, 2012
Pumpkin patch
Pumpkin patch | Source

How to decorate a pumpkin - without the pulpy mess!

"Let's decorate a pumpkin for Halloween!" beg my children, and my heart sinks. You see, I've never been very enthusiastic about carving pumpkins for Halloween. There's a couple of reasons for this:

  • I am not skilled at working with a knife, and I have no great desire to hone that skill.
  • I'm accident - prone. I'm always afraid of injury when carving a pumpkin.
  • Scooping out pumpkin innards is a big, slimy mess.
  • Pumpkin is one of the few fruits I really don't enjoy eating at all.
  • Carved pumpkins begin to go bad and curl up after only a few days.
  • Jack-o-Lanterns are really only effective decorations for Halloween.

Fortunately, there are now a wealth of ideas out on the web about different ways to decorate a pumpkin without carving it. When you put down the knife and pick up a paintbrush - or some clothing or props - the possibilities are endless.

This Nemo pumpkin is a 2012 entry in the Keller Public Library pumpkin decorating contest.
This Nemo pumpkin is a 2012 entry in the Keller Public Library pumpkin decorating contest. | Source

Paint your pumpkin!

Want to indulge your inner Picasso? Paint a pumpkin! This little Nemo pumpkin to the right is an entrant in the Keller Public Library Pumpkin Decorating contest. It's an excellent example of a painted pumpkin. All it took was a some white and black paint to turn the pumpkin's natural color into the scales of a clown fish; the paint defines Nemo's eyes. Construction paper fins complete this kid-friendly work of art. Other examples of painted pumpkins around the web:

  • Better Homes and Gardens has a whole slide show dedicated to painted pumpkins!
  • Family Circle offers up twelve pumpkin painting ideas!
  • Count on Pinterest to have a page for everything - even painted pumpkins!
  • Step-by-step instructions for painted pumpkin centerpieces on DIY.
  • Alisa Burke creates masterpieces with finger paint.

Here's another tip - if even paint is too challenging for you, try permanent colored markers.


Prop it up!

Another effective way to decorate your pumpkin is by using different types of props, toys, clothing and other objects to bring your artistic vision to life. When you start using different kinds of objects, there's almost no limit to what you can do.

Kitty Cat No-Carve Pumpkin
Kitty Cat No-Carve Pumpkin | Source

This adorable kitty was created with a combination of black paint and glued sequins and baubles. For some extra variation, try whiskers made of pipe cleaners or broom bristles. Other no-carve kitties out in cyberspace:

Angry Birds, anybody?

This Angry Birds pumpkin set is a 2012 entry in the Keller Public Library pumpkin decorating contest.
This Angry Birds pumpkin set is a 2012 entry in the Keller Public Library pumpkin decorating contest. | Source

These angry birds, another entry in the Keller Public Library Pumpkin contest, were created with paint, craft sticks and construction paper. They've got great company; my son and I found a commercial kit at a hobby store for bird's arch-nemesis - King Pig.

King Pig No-Carve Pumpkin
King Pig No-Carve Pumpkin | Source

Dress it up!

We can't have any nudist pumpkins here! Try putting some clothes on them! This redneck pumpkin lady looks plenty menacing even without the traditional jack-o-lantern grin.

This hillbilly pumpkin is a 2012 entry in the Keller Public Library pumpkin decorating contest.
This hillbilly pumpkin is a 2012 entry in the Keller Public Library pumpkin decorating contest. | Source

No-Carve pumpkins - it's not just for Halloween anymore

One of the big limitations of carved Halloween pumpkins is that, with some exceptions, they only really seem to be appropriate up until the end of Halloween. On November 1, they just aren't that effective anymore. However, some ingenious no-carve pumpkin decoration ideas can be used to celebrate other occasions, too.

This Uncle Sam pumpkin is a 2012 entry in the Keller Public Library pumpkin decorating contest.
This Uncle Sam pumpkin is a 2012 entry in the Keller Public Library pumpkin decorating contest. | Source

This Uncle Sam pumpkin doesn't seem to be all that concerned about trick-or-treat; he's encouraging library patrons to get out the vote! (For the pumpkin contest, that is.) His face was made out of pieces from an old Mr. Potato Head set. Those hands are definitely skeleton fingers from a costume shop, and his hair is made from fake fur. Take away the voting sign, and he'd be very much at home during the Fourth of July.

This Princess pumpkin is a 2012 entry in the Keller Public Library pumpkin decorating contest.
This Princess pumpkin is a 2012 entry in the Keller Public Library pumpkin decorating contest. | Source

This precious pink princess pumpkin could be used as a decoration for a prom or sweet sixteen party.


No-carve pumpkin decorations for other occasions

Try using pumpkins to decorate all year round, featuring these ideas from all over the Internet:

One of the many Youtube videos out there on No-Carve pumpkin decorating

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