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Carving pumpkins is a love-it-or-hate-it kind of activity. No-carve pumpkin decorating ideas are your best bet to save time and avoid that stringy pulp. Yes, you can have it all — festive pumpkins and a family tradition — without the slimy pumpkin goo.
Most of these ideas can be done with real or faux pumpkins. Just paint a matte finish on your real pumpkin if you suspect items won’t stick. And, you won’t need any fancy materials to make them look beautiful or scary.
While we’re talking about pumpkins, check out some of Trade Joe’s pumpkin products, those delicious Starbucks’ pumpkin spice latte options, and some scary good Halloween treats.
Pumpkin carving (or, no-carve pumpkin decorating ideas in this case) is synonymous with Halloween, so here are more tips, ideas, and deals to fall for (get it? fall):
- Halloween coupons and deals
- 17 Places to Get Free Food on Halloween 2022
- The Best Family Halloween Costumes For 2022
- Top 7 Tips to Save Money on Halloween Candy
- Top 30 Halloween Front Porch Ideas for #FallPorchGoals
Ready for the top no-carve pumpkin decorating ideas? Check them out:
1. Spa Face Pumpkin
How about a spa day for your beloved orange friend? Eyelash stickers, teal acrylic paint and a fine paintbrush can instantly transform your faux or real pumpkin into a creative look. Use your pumpkin year after year for your outdoor decorations or Halloween tablescape.
2. Glitter Pumpkin
For this no-carve pumpkin idea, you only need spray adhesive and glitter. Couldn’t be easier. We all know how messy glitter can be to clean up, so perhaps glitter glue may be a better choice. Perhaps you can combine multiple bottles of colored glitter glue into a disposable bowl and use a paintbrush to create an abstract look. Or, try a “drip” method like cake artists do.
3. Minion Pumpkin
There are a couple of ways to tackle this no-carve pumpkin idea — hand paint or add accessories. We found an easy 5-piece pumpkin push pin set that will make your life so much easier than breaking out the paint. Minions are still popular, so this will be easily recognized as part of your fall decorations.
4. Rainbow Pumpkin
Rainbows don’t automatically come to mind when we think of the fall, but it makes for an easy no-carve pumpkin decorating idea. Mini pumpkins or small sugar pumpkins are ideal for this project. Pumpkin decorating paint kits come in handy and are just the right size.
5. Mickey Mouse Pumpkin
You just need a full-size pumpkin and the Mickey Mouse pirate pumpkin decorating kit (or any other design you like) to transform your gourd. The kit comes with a head, two legs, and two arms. Simply insert them and move on with your day. Kids as young as five can help.
6. Ribboned Pumpkin
To make this no-carve pumpkin idea even simpler, start at the top near the stem with your ribbon. Use a hot glue gun to attach the ribbons to the creases of the pumpkin and secure at the bottom. Need some decorative ribbon ideas?
7. Day of the Dead Sugar Skull Pumpkin
Day of the Dead — or Dia De Los Muertos — is a Mexican and Latinx holiday that honors family members and friends who have died. The celebration occurs after Halloween (and has nothing to do with Halloween), but you can prep your no-carve pumpkin ahead of time.
There are lots of inspirational sugar skulls online, so find one that you want to imitate. Try these techniques to pull off this look:
- Sketch your skull face on the pumpkin, then fill it in with multiple acrylic paints.
- Freehand paint a skull face.
- Start with white acrylic paint (you’ll need other bright colors too) and paint a circle (or close to it) on one side of your pumpkin. Then, fill it in with your desired face and accents.
- Buy a white faux pumpkin – although I think the orange contrast looks pretty cool – and begin painting a face.
Add silk flowers near the stem to finish the skull.
8. Temporary Tattoo Pumpkin
Just be sure to paint your pumpkin with a matte finish before you apply the temporary tattoo if you’re using a real pumpkin. Otherwise, use a faux pumpkin. There are lots of options like fall-themed images and phrases, spider temporary tattoos, and Day of the Dead temporary tattoos.
9. Painted Pumpkin Face
Paint of any color will work to make this shocked painted face. Simply start with the large oval-shaped eyes and mouth. Try using painters tape to make geometric shapes, too.
Learn how to find cheap paint near you for all of your holiday needs.
10. Bejeweled Pumpkin
Here’s a great way for your pumpkin to stand out among your neighbors. Affix adhesive rhinestones in either solid shades or multicolors. Be sure to use a heavy duty craft glue if you don’t buy adhesive stones. Alternatively, paint your real pumpkin a matte white and decorate with rhinestone ribbons.
11. Jack-o’-Lantern Pumpkin
You can’t have a no-carve pumpkin idea without an old-fashioned jack-o’-lantern. Luckily, we found an easy way to tackle this — foam stickers. Amazon has pumpkin decorating foam stickers in designs like a ghost, jack-o’-lantern, cat, and vampire. Use the stickers around your house too, since they can also stick to windows and mirrors.
12. Nailhead Trim Heart Pumpkin
You’ll need a hammer and decorative furniture nails for this no-carve pumpkin idea. Draw a heart on the pumpkin, and hammer or push the nails into the shape.
Wrap thin string or yarn around the nails to make the heart shape pop. You can also use masking tape to create straight lines or different shapes like chevron or circles.
13. Gold-Painted Pumpkin
Metallic acrylic paint can really make your pumpkin look stand out. It’s really that simple. Any solid metallic color would look beautiful and stand out. You could draw a paisley pattern or draw herringbone lines for a more decorative look.
14. Crayon-Dripped Pumpkin
It’s true that a hair dryer can melt crayons. Why not send them streaking down a pumpkin?
Lay some paper down before starting these DIY Halloween decorations — they get really messy!
Remove the paper labels around several crayons and cut the crayons in half. Attach each crayon with a dab of clear tacky glue, then allow the glue to fully dry. Point a blow dryer set to the highest heat at the crayons and watch the colors run. For more vibrant colors, repeat this process multiple times.
Note: As you apply the heat and the wax begins to melt, your crayons will fall off the top of your pumpkin. Simply tack them back onto the top with the now-melted crayon.
Check out all the free Crayola coupons to score some for cheap.
15. Dried Floral Pumpkin
Pick your color scheme for the flowers and have at it. Attach the artificial flowers with craft glue and decide whether to decorate the entire pumpkin or make a pattern. Use this no-carve pumpkin idea as a fall tablescape or porch addition to beautify your space.
16. Lace Pumpkin
Basically, wrap a pumpkin in lace. I vote for black lace because white lace doesn’t exactly say “creepy.” What’s even better is wrapping your pumpkin in a lace masquerade mask for a little spooky elegance.
17. Hand-Painted Pumpkin
How about a good old-fashioned paint party? Back in my day, when we didn’t want to carve our pumpkin, we just painted them however we liked. Set up some disposable aprons, brushes, paint pallets, and newspapers on a table and let everyone’s creative freedom fly. Try using acrylic paint to drip colors freestyle all over a white pumpkin.
18. Washi Tape Pumpkin
Do this one similar to the ribbon pumpkin, starting at the top, or cover the whole thing in Washi tape. There are so many Washi patterns, especially for the fall. Depending on how wild you are about contrasts, use a combination of the above mentioned items like ribbon, furniture nails, and glitter glue.
19. Cat Pumpkin With Glasses
Here’s a unique spin on decorating your pumpkin as a cat — add jumbo novelty sunglasses or reading glasses. Foam cutouts make for an easy design, along with gigantic self-adhesive googly eyes. Glue the tail, eyebrows, and mouth/whiskers directly to the pumpkin, add the eyes, then position the glasses.
20. Polka Dot Pumpkin
Let’s face it — polka dots are iconic and never go out of style. Your no-carve pumpkin can be any polka dot color scheme that you want. Spray paint or color your entire pumpkin and use a fine tip acrylic paint brushes to make the circles.
21. Decorating Stickers Pumpkin
Just like the hand-painted pumpkin idea, adding Halloween stickers is a no-brainer for a creative decoration option. This no-carve pumpkin idea is perfect for kids who “want to help” but are usually in the way when it’s time to set up a space for a party or other project.
22. Ombre Pumpkin
As I noted, acrylic paint really is useful and versatile, so why not make your pumpkin a bit modern with an ombre effect? If you’re not familiar with the term, it’s simply a set of colors moving from light to dark (like hair color).
Use masking or painters tape for horizontal or vertical shapes. To darken the colors, simply apply several coats. Another great idea is to create an ombre trio with three pumpkins (pale pink, light pink, dark pink).
23. Mischievous Kitty Pumpkin
Yes, this is hand-painted again, but you’re going to an actual look, not just winging it. Pick a photo of your favorite kitten and use paint to draw a silly face. To take it up a notch, attach pipe cleaners as whiskers and a toy cat’s tail.
24. Bat Pumpkin
Bats are perfect for your fall or Halloween decorations. Dress up your gourd by starting with black acrylic paint. Apply over the entire pumpkin and let it dry thoroughly. Cut out bat wing shapes on black felt and hot glue them in your desired pattern. You could add ears, fangs, and silly eyes as well.
25. Painted Stem Pumpkin
Pumpkin stems always get ignored, so why not give it a little love with a makeover? Grab your brightest neon color and give the stem a good paint job. Make it a bit abstract with some neon drips on the pumpkin itself.