Carving pumpkins is well, kind of a mess. Cutting them up takes effort and elbow grease, you’ve got to scoop out the insides and then, after all that work, they start rotting.
We’ve got a better alternative: paint your pumpkins! It’s a fun and safe activity for kids and a great creative outlet for adults. So if you can’t get enough of everything pumpkin right now, gather up your paints and brushes, throw on an old t-shirt or smock and join us for a Pumpkin Painting Party!
How to paint your pumpkin – tips and pics
- Wear clothes you don’t care about getting paint on!
- Wash your pumpkin or wipe it down to get rid of any dust or dirt. Let it dry before you paint it.
- If your pumpkin has a price written on it in grease-paint, GooGone will get rid of it.
- Painting a layer of sealer or varnish (from a hobby or craft store) can help the paint stick and the pumpkin last longer. Follow directions on the can to coat your pumpkin and let it dry thoroughly.
- Now you’re ready for the fun part! For kids, washable kids’ paint is recommended – especially if they are wearing costumes you don’t want to ruin! If you’re using washable paint, you don’t need to bother with sealer or varnish first.
- For adults or older kids, acrylic or spray paint works best and won’t crack.
- Trace your design on the pumpkin using pencil, which will allow for errors. You can also use stencils, not just for carving, but for tracing a design you wish to paint.
- When you are done painting, spray a coat of sealer or varnish to keep your pumpkin looking its best. It’s kind of like how at the nail salon they put on a top coat to protect the pretty color underneath!
- Let your pumpkin dry before handling.
And now for some really cool painted pumpkins!
1. This Strawberry Pumpkin was painted, then embellished with pumpkin seeds and green felt, which were glued on – clever!
2. Pink Flamingos. Okay, so these are technically gourds, not pumpkins, but admit it, they’re fabulous. Googly eyes have been glued on and wings drawn with a Sharpie. The legs are made of metal pipes.
3. Black Cat. This pumpkin was carved, but yours doesn’t have to be. Using a pencil, draw a black cat onto your plain, unpainted pumpkin, then paint with black acrylic paint. Spooky!
4. Wilson Pumpkin. You won’t be “cast away” (sorry, couldn’t resist) if you display this friendly pumpkin on your doorstep. Purchase a white pumpkin and use some reddish paint to create the face. Simple, but memorable.
5. Alien Pumpkin. I found this large, heavy greenish pumpkin at a local pumpkin patch. I drew the eyes and mouth on with a pencil, then colored them in with paint. Extra-easy extra-terrestrial.
6. Pumpkin Decorated Pumpkin. You’ll notice that the orange jack-o-lantern faces aren’t painted at all, they are simply the bare orange pumpkin. Trace the jack-o-lantern faces with a pencil, then use green and black paint to decorate.
7. Kids’ Art. If you’re hosting a painting party, washable poster paint is the way to go. The kids will have a blast. Stickers, glitter and other embellishments are also fun.
8. Mommy Cat and Kitten. Reader Jen had her daughter paint these pumpkins with kids’ paint, but it wound up cracking, so she ended up spray-painting them. She placed the pumpkins on wax paper so they wouldn’t stick to the grass. Then they used string, acrylic paint and googly eyes for decorations.
9. Dotted and Spotted. This simple, kid-painted pumpkin is creative and eye-catching. Provide your little ones with fine-tipped paintbrushes and let them create!
10. Character Pumpkins. I’ve got a little rock ‘n’ roller in my house. Our first attempt at these KISS pumpkins was a total FAIL. I’d bought white pumpkins, which were really more off-white, so I wound up painting them white. The kids’ washable tempera paint we used dripped, ran and looked horrible! So for the next try, after painting the pumpkins white, I printed out KISS masks online and let my son cut them out and glue them on. Construction paper and Sharpies finished off the look.
11. Family Pets. My kids had fun decorating pumpkins to look like our beloved family pets. We used tempera paint, googly eyes, glue and construction paper.
Final Tip: Have fun! There are no wrong ways to paint a pumpkin!