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How to Decorate a Halloween Pumpkin

Updated on June 8, 2013

Decorative Pumpkin Display


What is your favorite way to decorate your pumpkin?

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How to Pick out a Perfect Pumpkin

There are many ways to decorate a pumpkin. Pumpkins can be painted, carved and embellished by adding props and other materials like sequence, stickers, and faux spider webs.

To begin you need to find the perfect pumpkin to decorate. You can go to the grocery store, craft store, pumpkin patch or a pumpkin farm to find your pumpkin. Many farms will allow you to choose a pumpkin directly from the vine in the pumpkin field.

There are several pumpkin types to choose from. Most farmers and people who work in the produce section will be able to help you find the pumpkins that are good for decoration and the ones that are good for cooking and making pie.

For carving and decorating the Jack-O-Lantern and Lumina pumpkins are a good choice. They are larger with stiff walls and hollow cavities when the seeds are scooped out.

Here is what to look for when choosing a good quality pumpkin.

Size: Choose a pumpkin that is the ideal size you would like to decorate. Some people like tall think pumpkins, while other’s like short and round pumpkins. Children may like to pick smaller pumpkins because it fits better in their hands.

Color: Choose a pumpkin that has consistent coloring throughout and no brown or black spots indicating rotting.

Touch: Turn your of pumpkin over, opposite of the stem. Push on the bottom, if it flexes than your pumpkin is not fresh.

Sight: Look for cuts or open scraps. These abrasions will spoil your pumpkin early. So would soft spots and mold.

Children Painting Pumpkins


Painted Pumpkins


How to Paint a Pumpkin

A painted pumpkin can last much longer than a Jack-O-Lantern sometimes they can last for months so you can enjoy them at Thanksgiving. Painting pumpkins are a great way to have toddlers and children involved because it does not require any knives or sharp objects.

Step One: Put newspapers down or find a spot you can get messy with your pumpkin.

Step Two: Use towel wet with soap and water and clean your pumpkin.

Step Three: Draw the design or face you would like to paint on your pumpkin. (You can skip this step and just begin to paint if you want to.)

Step Four: Paint your pumpkin using acrylic paints.

Step Five: Have several size brushes available. Smaller brushes would be used for detail work like eyes, while larger brushes are better used for painting larger areas like a base coat.

Step Six: Let your pumpkin completely dry.

Step Seven: Use a light coat of acrylic gloss spray or paint clear acrylic gloss over the entire pumpkin. This gives a gloss finish and helps protect the painted areas.

How to Use Colored Melted Crayons to Decorate Your Pumpkin

Using a Template to Carve a Pumpkin


Pumpkin Carving Tools Recomendation

Messermeister Pumpkin Meister Carving Kit
Messermeister Pumpkin Meister Carving Kit

Using strong tools like Messermeister Pumpkin Meister Carving Kit will make carving so much easier and safer.


Jack-O-Lanterns at Night


How to Carve a Pumpkin

Step One: Put newspapers down or find a spot you can get messy with your pumpkin.

Step Two: Use towel wet with soap and water and clean your pumpkin.

Step Three: Use a pencil and draw your face or design. At the same time you draw your face, also draw the outline for the lid.

Step Four: Cut a hole around the stem of the pumpkin to make a lid. It is recommended you use an up and down sawing motion and cut the lid at a 45° angle slanting inward.

Step Five: Pull the lid off and clean the seeds and pulp inside of the pumpkin with a large tablespoon or an ice cream. Scrape the sides, bottom and lid firmly so they are clean. Put seeds and pulp into a trash can or bowel near by. The seeds can be saved for toasting later.

Step Six: Carefully cut out your design. You can also use a drill.

Step Seven: Coat the holes with petroleum jelly or vegetable oil of your Jack-O-Lantern to help your pumpkin last longer.

Step Eight: Add a small tea light candle to the bottom of your pumpkin and light it.

Step Nine: Put the lid back on.

Step Ten: Display your pumpkin. The Hack-O-Latern will last longer if it is not in direct sunlight during the day.

Video on How To Carve a Pumpkin

Pumpkin with a Hang Over


Baseball Pumpkin Design


How to Use Props to Embellish your Pumpkin

You can become very creative and use found objects and other embellishments to decorate your pumpkin. Here are some suggested props to add to your painted pumpkin or Jack-O-Lantern.

  • Hats
  • Feathers
  • Beads
  • Sequence
  • Ribbon
  • Yarn
  • Gourds
  • Raffia
  • Cotton Balls
  • Faux Spiders

Use a non-toxic craft glue like Aleene's or hot glue to attach your props to your pumpkin.

© Copyright Carly Sullens 2013. All Rights Reserved.


Submit a Comment

  • CarlySullens profile imageAUTHOR

    Carly Sullens 

    5 years ago from St. Louis, Missouri

    Ceres, thank you for reading and taking the time to comment, I appreciate your support.

  • CarlySullens profile imageAUTHOR

    Carly Sullens 

    5 years ago from St. Louis, Missouri

    I like painted pumpkins too. Becuase living in Florida, a Jack-O-Lantaren usually can only survive 12 hours. Painted pumpkins can last for weeks.

  • CarlySullens profile imageAUTHOR

    Carly Sullens 

    5 years ago from St. Louis, Missouri

    pinto2011, I am glad the ideas will help with the fall harvest celebration s you do.

  • Ceres Schwarz profile image

    Ceres Schwarz 

    5 years ago

    Great hub that's really detailed and with lots of good pictures. This is especially useful for those who love to decorate pumpkins for Halloween.

  • MsDora profile image

    Dora Weithers 

    5 years ago from The Caribbean

    So many artistic folk on HP. The pumpkin faces are awesome, but I like the pumpkins that are just painted. Never really paid attention to that until now. Thank you!

  • pinto2011 profile image


    5 years ago from New Delhi, India

    We do not celebrate Halloween in India but with your fantastic idea of decorating a pumpkin will help me celebrate some local festival we celebrate here. Thumbs up!

  • CarlySullens profile imageAUTHOR

    Carly Sullens 

    5 years ago from St. Louis, Missouri

    I love Halloween too! Pumpkins are my favorite! Thank you NornsMercy!

  • NornsMercy profile image


    5 years ago from Charlotte, NC

    I LOVE Halloween and anything Halloween-related! This hub is awesome. I can't wait til Halloween now! Only six months........ :')


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