By Katherine Rule, Publisher/Editor, Macaroni KID McDonough-Stockbridge and Jamie Clark, Publisher of Macaroni Kid Roanoke, Va. October 22, 2023

It's that season, when the sight of pumpkins adorning doorsteps and porches becomes a common sight. While traditional pumpkin carving is a beloved Halloween tradition, there are numerous alternative ways to decorate these iconic gourds. Whether you're looking for a mess-free option or want to explore your artistic side, here are some creative pumpkin decorating ideas that go beyond carving. 

The best part? Your kids will also be able to help with these no-carve pumpkins! The whole thing about "no carve" is that there are no sharp knives for them to want to grab and no messy goop for you to clean up! 

Your kids will have a blast showing off their creativity and putting their personal stamp on their no-carve pumpkins. You can encourage them to show off their design skills and personalities in their handiwork -- all while creating Halloween memories as a family!

Painted Pumpkins:

Painting pumpkins offers endless possibilities for creativity. From simple designs to intricate patterns, you can use acrylic paints, spray paints, or even watercolors to transform your pumpkin into a work of art. Consider using stencils, tape, or brushes to create unique designs, or let your imagination run wild with freehand painting. This option is perfect for all ages and allows for easy customization. 


Decoupage is a technique that involves adhering paper cutouts or fabric to a surface using a special glue or varnish. Apply this method to pumpkins by selecting colorful tissue paper, patterned napkins, or even fabric scraps. Cut out desired shapes or designs and carefully adhere them to the pumpkin's surface. The result is a beautifully decorated pumpkin with a textured and layered appearance. 

Glitter Glam:

For those who love a touch of sparkle, glitter pumpkins are a fantastic option. Start by applying a layer of glue or adhesive spray to the pumpkin's surface. Then, sprinkle glitter generously over the glue, ensuring even coverage. Shake off any excess glitter and let it dry. You can experiment with different colors or create patterns using tape or stencils. Glitter pumpkins add a touch of glamour to any fall display. 

Nature's Touch:

Embrace the beauty of nature by incorporating natural elements into your pumpkin decor. Use hot glue to attach items such as leaves, twigs, acorns, or pinecones to the pumpkin's surface. You can create a rustic, woodland-themed pumpkin or opt for a more elegant look by using dried flowers or feathers. This option allows you to bring the outdoors indoors and adds a unique touch to your fall decorations. 

This fall, consider exploring alternative pumpkin decorating options that go beyond traditional carving. From painted pumpkins to decoupage, glitter glam,  and nature-inspired designs, there are countless ways to showcase your creativity and add a personal touch to your seasonal décor. Whether you're decorating with children or looking for a more sophisticated approach, these ideas offer a range of options to suit every style and skill level. So, grab your pumpkins and let your imagination run wild!

Glue, Crayons and Paint by Jamie Clark, Publisher of Macaroni Kid Roanoke, Va:

You can use any type of decorations you want, of course, but here's what we used to make ours:

  • Glow in the dark puffy paint
  • Push pins
  • Googly eyes of various sizes
  • Crayons, with wrappers removed
  • A hairdryer
  • Hot glue gun

Decorating tips!

Get outside.

I recommend working on the melted Crayon pumpkin outdoors or somewhere where you and your kids have a lot of room to make a mess. This process was a bit messier than I anticipated and the crayon splattered everywhere.  

Glue the crayons onto the pumpkin.

I know this because I tried it without doing that and the hairdryer quickly blew the crayons off. Oops!

This is a job for a hot glue gun.

You'll also want to use a pretty strong adhesive. Good ol' white school glue wasn't quite strong enough to hold the crayons or the googly eyes in place. A hot glue gun or another similar strong adhesive is probably best. (Put it on the warm setting and supervise young kids!)

Teachable moment: 

Talk to your kids about the colors that form from the melting crayons as they drip together on the pumpkin.

With a little creativity, you can make no-carve pumpkins with your kids -- without ever opening the knife drawer! Have a great Halloween!