When you start seeing the leaves change colors as you drink your pumpkin spice latte, you know it’s time to start thinking about pumpkin decorating ideas. There’s no need to overcomplicate things — you can go the no carve pumpkin decorating route, use a stencil, hand carve, or dress them up with paint, glitter, or seasonal ribbons.
A lot of these decorating supplies are in Dollar Tree — saving you from the high costs of craft supply stores and big-box retailers. We’ve even rounded up the best free Halloween pumpkin stencils. While you’re planning your decorations, consider the increase in pumpkin prices from previous years. Pumpkin sales are abundant in October, so sometimes you can get a 2-for-1 deal, doubling your decorating space. A faux pumpkin can look just as pretty as a front porch decoration idea.
To give you some inspiration, we’ve broken down these pumpkin decorating ideas into scary, classic, kid friendly, and themed looks. Don’t worry, there’s a mix of Halloween pumpkin carving ideas, too. With all of your new decorations, your neighbors will be jealous.
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Scary Pumpkin Decorating Ideas
1. Shocked Face Painted Pumpkin
Of course, any size pumpkin will do, but the bigger the better to really express the shock. Use black paint ($0.54 at Walmart) to create two large eyes, a mouth, and a triangle nose. Create facial expressions with additional paint to give the pumpkin dimension.
2. Hollow-Faced Pumpkin Carving Idea
Use a sharp paring knife (less than $1 at Walmart) to make two horizontal triangles (like isosceles shapes) for the eyes and two smaller triangles for the nostrils. With a steady hand, create a series of desired shapes to act as the mouth. Need tips on how to make a carved pumpkin last longer? We have some simple steps to follow.
3. Good vs Evil Scary Pumpkin Carving Ideas
Having trouble deciding on a good or evil-looking pumpkin? Carve both. Make them as friendly or devilish as possible. After you clean out your pumpkin, add a candle in the middle to show off your good and evil sides.
4. Frightening Skull Carved Pumpkin
Halloween has to have some sort of frightening element to capture attention. Use a stencil or show off your carving skills to create a horrifying skeleton. Drop in a flameless LED pillar candle ($1.25 at Dollar Tree) to make your front porch or windowsill glow.
5. Grim Reaper Pumpkin Carving Idea
Here’s a pumpkin carving idea that just kills. There really should be only one time of year to break out the grim reaper stencil ($5 on Etsy), and it’s around Halloween. Carve the outline only on the front of the pumpkin, but remove the stem so that you can insert an LED candle to show off the design.
6. Creepy Jack-o’-Lantern and Pooping Dog Carved Pumpkins
What’s scarier than a pumpkin with a devilish grin? A pooping dog, of course. Both images are bound to have your visitors do a double take. Try a free dog stencil to make the image a clear winner.
7. Angry Carved Pumpkin
Looking for a slight twist on a traditional carved pumpkin? Make an angry version with lightning bolts for eyebrows to mimic furrowed brows. For clean lines, consider using a wooden hammer ($4 at Walmart) and pumpkin carving face cutouts ($12.99 on Amazon).
8. Fanged Carved Pumpkin
There’s no need for perfection for your fanged pumpkin. Start by carving lopsided eye sockets, two small holes for nostrils, and a wide mouth with two fangs hanging.
9. Annoyed Carved Pumpkin
Ready for a porch-worthy pumpkin carving creation that’s bound to impress? It’s all about the doe-like eyes, tiny pupils, and eyebrow curvature to result in an annoyed appearance.
10. Scary Jack-o’-Lantern
Everyone loves an old-fashioned scary pumpkin carving idea. How about a spooky jack-o’-lantern? Make it happen with a narrowly jagged edged mouth. Be sure to continue the mouth’s terrifying look with high, vertical cuts at the crease of the mouth. Add off centered eyes and a small triangular nose.
11. Bug-Eyed Carved Pumpkin
Your dentist may not love the look of this Halloween pumpkin carving idea, but I guarantee you that it will win all of the front porch decorating wars. You’ll need a large pumpkin – either white or orange, painted white, along with acrylic paint (less than $1 at Walmart).
Dedicate a few hours with a small pairing knife and a clay modeling kit ($8.99 on Amazon) to smooth out the teeth and eyes to form the bulging eyes, paisley nose, and cobblestone teeth. Leave a hole big enough for the eyes to add a bloodshot ping pong eyeball ($1.25 at Dollar Tree).
Classic Pumpkin Decorating Ideas
12. Triangle-Eyed Jack-o’-Lantern
There’s always room for the traditional carved pumpkin with the smiling, toothless grin. Perfect for welcoming visitors for trick or treating. Use a small knife or pumpkin cutouts ($13 on Amazon) for the perfect shapes.
13. Crayon-Dripped Pumpkin
Depending on the size of your pumpkin, you’ll need about 10 Crayola crayons ($0.50 at Walmart) and a blow dryer for this DIY pumpkin decorating idea.
Discard the paper labels and half the crayons horizontally. Sit each crayon on top of the pumpkin. If the surface is too uneven, glue them and allow it to fully dry. With the highest heat setting, point a blow dryer at the crayons and watch the colors run.
14. Gold-Painted Pumpkin
Not every pumpkin has to be carved to be bootiful. The addition of metallic acrylic paint (less than $3 at Walmart) can make it stand out as a stacked idea or just sitting among your other outdoor decor. Orange glitter (less than $3 at Michaels) would make for an excellent addition to make it shimmer.
15. Drilled, Light-Up Pumpkin
Break out the power drill and use a 1-inch spade drill bit (less than $4 at Walmart) to make a hole in the back of the pumpkin (for the light) and holes in a symmetrical pattern around the entire body.
16. Horizontal-Lined Pumpkin
17. Fall-Decorated Pumpkin
Wrap your white pumpkin with some fall branches, courtesy of Dollar Tree finds. Here are some $1.25 options:
18. Silver-Dusted Pumpkin
Start with a white pumpkin and shoot for a glitter ombre look. Apply craft glue ($2 at Michaels) to half of the pumpkin liberally. Sprinkle the silver glitter (less than $3 at Michaels) to stick to the glue. Don’t forget the stem!
19. Pumpkin Floral Vase
What a clever alternative to traditional pumpkin carving. Here’s what you need:
- Small pumpkin
- Floral foam ($1.25 at Dollar Tree)
- Floral liner or cellophane ($7 on Amazon)
- Bouquet of flowers
- Flower food ($5 at Walmart) or crushed aspirin ($1.25 at Dollar Tree)
Cut and hollow out the pumpkin thoroughly. Add a waterproof liner like cellophane to make the pumpkin and flowers last longer. Premeasure and cut floral foam, then soak it in water with flower food or aspirin.
Let the floral foam soak in the water until it’s completely saturated. Next, add it to the pumpkin liner. Measure and cut your fresh flowers to fit securely in the foam, working with one flower at a time.
20. Orange Glitter Pumpkin
With spray adhesive ($4 at Walmart) and orange glitter, this decorating idea couldn’t be easier. Start with a surface that’s easy to clean up, like newspaper or a trash bag. Apply the adhesive and saturate the glitter by hand.
21. Nail Polish-Decorated Pumpkin
Head straight to Dollar Tree for $1.25 faux white pumpkins (although fresh, mini white pumpkins would look good, too) and nail polish. At only $1.25 for each nail polish bottle, choose a solid theme, a mixture of colors, or a detailed chevron or herringbone scheme.
22. Floating Ghosts Pumpkin
Start with a standard orange pumpkin as a blank canvas. Apply white acrylic paint ($0.54 at Walmart) in oval, ghost shapes around the entire pumpkin. Fill in the “face” with black acrylic paint for the eyes and nose.
23. Bright-Eyed Skeleton Face Pumpkin
Not every pumpkin carving idea decoration has to be scary to be appealing. Make this skeleton look by sketching the face first, then with a steady hand start cutting. Add a small hole to the bottom to drop in a light to display it at night.
24. Ribboned Pumpkin
Hot glue your favorite seasonal ribbons vertically to create this pumpkin look. Need some ideas?
- Pumpkin patch plaid wired ribbon ($8 on Amazon)
- Wide orange satin ribbon $2 on Amazon)
- Plaid ribbon ($6 on Amazon)
- Halloween printed ribbon ($4 on Amazon)
25. Family Halloween Pumpkin Carving Idea
Have a pumpkin carving party and let your friends and family create a variety of designs — happy, various wording, scary faced, you name it.
26. Fall Flower Painted Pumpkin
Step into fall with an explosion of seasonal colors to brighten your doorstep. Start with a white pumpkin — or paint one white — and dress it up with red, orange, and green paint to resemble flowers.
27. Washi Tape Pumpkin
Fall washi tape ($6 on Amazon) is a pretty common crafting tool used to amp up boring canvases. Use it in any pattern you’d like. Combine it with faux flowers or a ribbon to tie it together.
28. Dried Floral Pumpkin
Use craft glue ($3 at Walmart) to attach artificial flowers ($10 on Amazon) to cover the entire pumpkin. Try using paint in a complementary color on the stem. It’ll look impressive on your porch or holiday table.
29. Painted Stem Pumpkin
Give your mini stems some autumn love with an abstract touch. Fully cover the stem and let the paint drip down in any pattern.
Pumpkin Decorating Ideas for Kids
30. Bat Pumpkin
A silly-looking pumpkin dressed as a bat is just what fall needs. Use stiffened black felt ($0.99 at Hobby Lobby) to create the short arms, ears, and pupils. With white, stiffened felt, cut out two fangs and two eyes.
31. Mischievous Pumpkin
Draw your cat’s face first, and then use a fine-tip paintbrush to fill it in. Add color with acrylic paint (less than $1 at Walmart) of contrasting colors to illustrate a toothy grin and slanted eyes.
32. Pumpkin Decorated with Stickers
When in doubt, break out the stickers to decorate a pumpkin. Easy cleanup and lots of options. Amazon’s Halloween 20-piece pumpkin decorating kit ($7) gives you plenty of choices.
33. Star Wars Pumpkin
For a classic pumpkin decorating idea, there’s no shame in a quick and easy method — push pins. This 3-piece Star Wars pumpkin decorating set ($10) from eBay is a sure winner.
34. Bluey Pumpkin
35. Cat Pumpkins
Two cool cats are taking over your front porch. The jumbo novelty sunglasses ($5 on Amazon) combined with the large eyes and tail make this a unique alternative to traditional pumpkin decorating ideas. Use stiffened felt ($0.99) in various shades for the body parts, along with gigantic self-adhesive googly eyes ($4 at Michaels).
36. Ombre Pumpkin
Make a colorful splash with your pumpkin and opt for an ombre look with stickers to make a silly face. Shoot for a series of familiar colors or a gradual darkening of colors in the same hue.
Themed Pumpkin Decorating Ideas
37. Day of the Dead Painted Pumpkin
Celebrate the Mexican and Latinx holiday of Day of the Dead (aka Día de los Muertos) with a sugar skull pumpkin. Since this event is celebrated after Halloween, there’s no pressure to have it done by then.
For this design, use an orange pumpkin and paint the face with white acrylic paint ($0.54 at Walmart). Fill it in with black paint and other bright colors. Attach silk flowers ($10 on Amazon) near the stem to complement the face.
38. Lace Pumpkin
39. Spa Day Pumpkin
Everyone needs a spa day, including your mini pumpkins. Use a Sharpie (or eyelash stickers, $4 on Amazon) to create the eyes and mouth. Then apply teal acrylic paint ($0.54 at Walmart) around the mouth and eyes.
40. Chicken Pumpkin
You’ll need a large pumpkin to successfully pull off this decorating idea. Sketch the chicken’s body before you carve out the front. Add chicken wire ($7 at Hobby Lobby) to the inside of the pumpkin, two x’s for the legs, a red comb with a Sharpie, and a few strands of a corn stalk ($3 at Hobby Lobby) for the tail.
41. Cheeseburger Pumpkin
You can’t eat it, but it sure looks delicious! Separate your large pumpkin into two vertical halves. Add felt to symbolize the meat, cheese, lettuce, and ketchup. Glue real pumpkin seeds to each half for the seeded bun.
42. Pumpkin Goddess
Create an ethereal figure accented with real fruit for the eyes. Faux, decorative berries for the hair, grin, and nose pull the style together.
43. Haunted House and Shark Carved Pumpkins
There’s no better time than the Halloween season to show off your haunted house carving skills. Try your hand at the shark with a free stencil courtesy of the World Wildlife Fund.
44. Skull and Harry Potter Carved Pumpkins
Pair a signature skull with the classic Harry Potter glasses and lightning bolt outline for your next pumpkin carving choices.
45. The Nightmare Before Christmas Carved Pumpkin
Don’t let the word “Christmas” fool you. Jack Skellington from the classic movie A Nightmare Before Christmas is quite suitable for Halloween carving.
46. Snape (from Harry Potter), Zero (from A Nightmare Before Christmas), Yoda, and Creepy Jack-o’-Lantern Pumpkins
When it comes to Halloween pumpkin carving ideas, this one will be sure to impress. Don’t let the word “Christmas” fool you. Jack Skellington from the classic movie A Nightmare Before Christmas is quite suitable for Halloween carving. I found a Jack Skellington and spider stencil online to make this idea come together quickly.
47. Sinister Jack-o’-Lantern, Groot, and Jurassic Park Carved Pumpkins
What do a chilling jack-o’-lantern, Groot, and Jurassic Park outline all have in common? All three make for excellent pumpkin decorating ideas. Try these free outlines:
48. Publix Logo Carved Pumpkin
For you Publix grocery store lovers, here’s a Halloween pumpkin carving idea for you. It’s as simple as carving a large “P”, surrounded by two parentheses on either side.
49. Socially Distanced Pumpkin Carving
Some of us were socially distant, even before the pandemic. For a quick pumpkin decorating idea, tape a large surgical mask around the pumpkin. Carve or use a sharpie to draw a nose, eyes, and eyebrows to give it a real face.
50. Outback Logo Pumpkin
Ahh, an ode to the beloved Outback Bloomin’ Onion. Hollow out the center and begin the onion shapes with a small sharp knife, finishing with the name carved in the front.