The right pumpkin painting ideas can turn your Halloween into a spooky spectacle or a chic setup that complements your home decor scheme.
Pumpkin carving tends to get big around October 31, but there are plenty of benefits to painting pumpkins. For one, you don’t have to clean the inside of the pumpkin, so there’s less mess. Additionally, pumpkins that have not been carved last longer, allowing you to enjoy the fruits of your crafting for longer. Paint also offers a better chance to get creative with your Halloween decorating ideas, as the color and pattern options are endless.
While the key to a beautifully painted pumpkin is the right inspiration, as when considering pumpkin carving ideas, it’s also about choosing the right pumpkin, something that won’t rot before the seasons arrive. trick-or-treaters.
“Avoid supermarket pumpkins and find a local farm, pumpkins tend to be much bigger on farms,” says pumpkin artist Jamie Jones (opens in a new tab). “And always try to find a pumpkin with a long firm stem, a soft stem is a sign that the pumpkin is starting to rot or has a fungal infection and won’t last very long.”
It’s equally important to clean your pumpkin before painting, which can be done with soapy water and a sponge.
Once your pumpkin is prepped, it’s time to break out the paintbrush for some of our favorite easy-to-carve pumpkin ideas.
Pumpkin Painting Ideas
“Painting pumpkins is one of the easiest and most satisfying Halloween craft ideas,” says Jo Bailey, stylist and Homes & Gardens‘ Associate Editor. “Whether your pumpkin is part of your Halloween porch decor or takes its place on your Halloween table, these ideas will help you set a vision for your pumpkin.”
1. Paint black and white stripes
If you prefer your outdoor Halloween decor to be understated, there’s nothing more chic or classic than black and white stripes. To achieve this look, paint alternating colors between the ribs of the pumpkins and finish with gold spray paint on the stem and a coat of gloss lacquer.
Want to enjoy your hard work for years to come? Paint ceramic or foam pumpkins instead. Pick a color palette that will match your fall planter ideas for a perfectly coordinated look.
When should you take out your pumpkins? “The received wisdom is that pumpkins kept outdoors can last a few months,” says Rachel Crow, Homes & Gardens‘Garden Editor. “So you can really get the pumpkins out in the early fall and then decorate them for Halloween in the days leading up to the celebrations.”
2. Go for a coastal look
If you keep your pumpkins indoors, paint them to match your decor. If you’re going for a coastal look, for example, try different shades of blue, white, and copper. If your style is more modern, paint them a metallic shade or go for a monochromatic look with black.
“Pumpkins make fantastic table decor for Halloween,” says Jo Bailey. “However, they don’t last much longer than a week to a few days indoors. Leave them in a heated room all the time and you’ll soon be looking for ways to get rid of fruit flies. What I tend to do is leave mine on my porch and then bring them when I entertain to decorate the house.
3. Painting on a cobweb
For a detailed design, skip the brush and grab a paint pen instead. Copy the look of the spider web, above, by drawing a line halfway down each ridge of the pumpkin, then connecting the ridge with a series of curved lines.
You can buy pumpkin acrylic paint pens on Amazon. (opens in a new tab).
Nothing could be easier than these painted metal pumpkins. All it takes to create this sophisticated, shimmery look is a can of spray paint (or two if you want to mix up the metallic hues).
‘I like it as a way to elevate the Halloween decor. It’s subtle, but still festive, says Sarah Spiteri, Homes & Gardens‘ Managing Editor. “To do it yourself, tilt your pumpkin on its side and spray paint on exposed areas. When the first side is dry, flip it over and spray the other side.
Be sure to spray paint outdoors in a well-ventilated area.
5. Try an ombre look
Blogger and Stylist Dana Fox (opens in a new tab) used an ordinary household item – nail polish – to turn this pumpkin into a chic centerpiece (or the perfect porch accent to complete Halloween door decor).
Fox started by painting the entire pumpkin with white latex paint, then used the varnish to add an abstract gray pattern to the bottom.
6. Stencil your pumpkins
For more complicated designs, like this vine look or the chinoiserie styles that have been popular on social media, grab a stencil.
Stick the stencil onto your pumpkin and use a foam brush to fill in the design with paint. Move the stencil around the pumpkin until it’s to your liking (just make sure the paint is dry before moving the stencil or you’ll end up with a mess).
Amazon sells a huge range of pumpkin stencils (opens in a new tab)from the most contemporary and comical to the most elegant, like the ones above.
7. Create a scary robot
For a creative yet spooky painted pumpkin idea, try turning your pumpkins into spiders. ‘To get the look, use a stencil to draw two eyes on your pumpkin (or draw them freehand, if you’re artistic). Then paint your entire pumpkin and stem black except for the eyes,” says Jennifer Ebert, Homes & Gardens‘ Deputy Editor (digital).
‘When the black paint dries, paint the eyes white and add a black dot for the iris. Spray it with a coat of gloss lacquer to make the design last longer.
‘Finally, hot glue or staple eight giant pipe cleaners (you can find black pipe cleaners on Amazon (opens in a new tab)) on the sides of the pumpkin to serve as legs.’
8. Get inspired by Day of the Dead
Instead of Halloween, look Dia de los Muertosor Day of the Dead, for inspiration. Dia de los Muertos takes place on November 1 and 2 and is celebrated with colorful skulls, like the design above, which make the perfect muse for a painted Jack-o-lantern.
9. Get cozy with a checkered pumpkin
We love this look for a chic interior. To create a buffalo plaid pumpkin, start with a shade of white paint and a shade of blue. Next, mix the two colors together to create a third shade, which you’ll use as the “overlapping” areas of your check (the middle shade of blue, above).
Next, draw a grid on your pumpkin and fill it accordingly.
10. Cut out your pumpkins
For another pumpkin painting idea that isn’t exactly paint but achieves a similar effect, try decoupage. With découpage glue, fabric scraps, pressed flowers, stickers or decals, you can create a one-of-a-kind design. Amazon’s Basic Slicing Kit (opens in a new tab) will be useful to get you started.
What paint to use on pumpkins?
The best paint for pumpkins will stay put whether they’re indoors or out.
“I always choose an acrylic paint for craft projects like painting pumpkins,” says Pippa Blenkinsop, Homes & Gardens’ stylist. “It’s easy to work with and it lasts.”
If you’re going for all-over color, take the spray paint. It’s faster and it won’t leave brush strokes.
How do you prepare pumpkins for painting?
To make sure your paint sticks to your pumpkin, it’s important to prep them first. To do this, wipe them with a cloth and soapy water. Scrub stubborn dirt spots or mud with a stiff cleaning brush or an old toothbrush, then wipe it off once more and pat dry. Storing a pumpkin in vinegar first is a good way to prolong its life.