Fortunately for those of us who’d rather avoid scooping slimy pumpkin guts out with our bare hands, no-carve pumpkin ideas have taken over the internet. If you don’t think you have the artistic chops to paint an elaborate or spooky scene, don't sweat it; some of these ideas are as easy as dipping the stem in glitter or wrapping a snipped balloon around your little gourd.
Not only do no-carve pumpkin ideas mean no dealing with gross mounds of slime, but instead of your jack-o-lantern slowly rotting on your front stoop, your loveable pumpkin may just make it all the way to Thanksgiving. (Plus, you don't have to worry about you or your kids slicing their fingers during the creative process.) Last year I wanted to make a simple pumpkin (I painted one as Bert and one as Ernie) but I was bummed to miss out on the roasted pumpkin seeds which I think are worth the mess of carving. Instead, I did things unconventionally (things got a little wild in my house) and I cut open my painted pumpkin a few weeks after Halloween and roasted the seeds for Thanksgiving.
For a decorating experience the whole family can get in on, read on for 17 of the most gourd-eous no-carve pumpkins.
1. House Number Pumpkin
I wish I could have this pumpkin by A Beautiful Mess in my front yard year round because food delivery people can never find my house at night. You can use a stencil to get that picture perfect penmanship or you can try it freehand; either way this minimalist pumpkin will help all the trick-or-treaters remember which house had the chicest decorations. You know, because that's what kids care about on Halloween night.
2. String And Nail Art Pumpkin
Turn your pumpkin into a pin cushion with this cool idea from Chelsea of Lovely Indeed. She goes into the best practices for getting the lettering just right, but you really can't go wrong with the fun take on a spider web. You'll remember this pumpkin forever.
3. Googly Eye Pumpkin
All you need for this one by A Little Craft In Your Day is paint and a pack of googly eyes. I love these cute eyelash googlies but you can opt for more traditional peepers for a spooky look. You can also shake up the paint color (hot pink anyone?) for a pumpkin in your favorite unexpected shade.
4. Phrasal Pumpkin
Let your pumpkin do the talking with this no-carve idea from Cecilia Moyer. She recommends placing letter stickers on the pumpkin, then spray painting the whole thing before removing the letters to reveal perfectly spaced phrases. So smart!
5. Glitter Stems
I think this glitter stem pumpkin from Aunt Peaches just may be the one I go with this year because it looks super cute and also seems simple to make (I'm all about ease). Aunt Peaches aka Amanda recommends using a thick craft paint which will be less likely to crack or bubble as the pumpkin releases moisture. I love these bright, unexpected autumn colors.
6. Unicorn Pumpkin
7. Chalkboard Pumpkin
This chalkboard paint pumpkin by Delia Creates is such a unique idea that will still be fun long after the making process is over. Just cover a pumpkin in chalkboard paint, get some chalk markers and let your kids decorate to their hearts desire. Best of all, you can wipe off the design and start again and again.
8. Fingerprint Pumpkin
One of the hardest parts of traditional carving is little hands wanting to hold sharp tools. Finally, here's an idea that you'll want your little ones' hands all over. This no-carve pumpkin by Handmade Charlotte uses fingerprints to make tons of cute designs like cacti or pineapples.
9. Floral and Glitter Pumpkin
At first I thought there was no way I could pull off this sweet floral design, but then I realized it's cut from a piece of wrapping paper and stuck to the pumpkin using Modge Podge. Win! You'll wish these glittery floral ideas by Homey Oh My (also featured on the PBteen Blog) could be a permanent staple.
10. Marbleized Pumpkin
This no-carve marbleized pumpkin from Natalme manages to look both stylish and a little spooky. She has an awesome video on the blog which shows step-by-step how to marbleize paint. You can use colors other than orange and black for a funky twist.
11. Balloon-Dipped Pumpkin
Finally I have a reason to use the 40 balloons I have in a drawer that I never plan on blowing up. This no-carve pumpkin is virtually mess-free, super easy, and looks so cute. It takes just one minute to snip a balloon (the more colors the merrier) and pull it over the bottom of the mini pumpkins.
12. Hardware Pumpkins
I love that this hardware pumpkin by Pink Stripey Socks is a little eerie without being gorey. All you need is a few screws and washers (which should easily push-in). You've got a no-mess Frankenstein-esque pumpkin that will lasts for weeks.
13. Sequin Polka Dot Pumpkin
I seriously wish this pumpkin from Sugar & Cloth was a shirt because sequins are always having a moment (in my book at least). Why not glam up your pumpkin with some sparkly, gold accents? They used plastic white pumpkins from a craft store for this shoot, but you can cover a real pumpkin in white paint too if you prefer.
14. Ice Cream Sundae Pumpkin
Who wouldn't scream for an ice cream sundae made from pumpkins? Sarah of SunnyLifeWithSarah made this sweet treat using three mini pumpkins, paint, and some fun sprinkle accents. The cherry on top is the perfect little touch.
15. Pineapple Pumpkin
I smile just looking at this pumpkin pineapple from Studio DIY. All you need is yellow spray paint, green cardstock, scissors, and glue. Just add your cheeriest sunglasses, proving that the summer spirit can last far into fall.
16. Flower Pumpkin
This no-carve pumpkin from Hello Glow gives me serious flower crown vibes. For the most delicate, boho pumpkin around all you need is fresh flowers and spray adhesive. You can paint the pumpkin first or leave it au naturale and you can also use fake flowers if you want it to last longer.
17. Cactus Pumpkins
A no-mess pumpkin meets a no-prick cactus with this adorable idea from @roymeister. You can show off your green thumb and your artistic talent (or not, it's still fun to paint and I promise you're better at it than you think). This looks greats with pumpkins of all shapes and sizes clustered together in a little front stoop "desert".