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No-Carve Halloween Pumpkins: Quick Pumpkin Decoration Ideas

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Heather loves crafting and photography. She enjoys sharing her favorite DIY projects with her friends and readers.

Pumpkin Decorating Ideas

It seems like Halloween comes sooner and sooner every year. 30 or even 31 days never seem to be enough when preparing for one of my favorite holidays. For many years, I have run out of time to carve or decorate a pumpkin.

This year, believe it or not, I actually got a head start and decorated a few pumpkins. Using real and fake pumpkins, I compiled a list of pumpkin designs, ideas, and techniques I used to make some very unique and festive pumpkins for Halloween. These ideas are great for last-minute decorating or crafting with kids because they don't require a knife or carving. Enjoy!

Mummy Pumpkins

This is a quick and fun makeover for a real or fake pumpkin. Pick up cheesecloth from your local grocery store. Not sure where to find cheesecloth? I found mine in the aisle with kitchen gadgets and spent about $2.00 on a package that had 2 yards. It will be stark white, and if you like it that way you can skip the tea-staining steps. I wanted my mummy cloth to look aged, so I stained it.

You Will Need

  • Cheesecloth
  • Boiling Water
  • 2-4 Tea Bags
  • Eyes or Ping Pong Balls

How to Stain Fabric With Tea

  • Submerge the cheesecloth in a glass Pyrex bowl with four cups of boiling water and four tea bags.
  • Stir a few times with a large spoon and help coax the tea color from the bags.
  • Let sit for 20-30 minutes or until happy with the color. If your cheesecloth isn't fully submerged, add a little more water or place teabags on top to keep cloth underwater.
  • Remove from the tea and wring out extra liquid. Don't rinse with water.
  • Open completely to dry. The gauze-like material dries in about 5 minutes
  • When dry, cut into long strips and wrap your mummy pumpkin.
  • Separate the cheesecloth where your mummy's eyes will be.
  • Attach your eyes and re-position cheesecloth so it appears he is peeking through his bandages. I used a ping-pong ball cut in half and hot glued the edges of the eyeballs to my pumpkin.

If your mummy isn't going anywhere, you won't need to secure your gauze strips to the pumpkin or one another—they kind of stick to one another. If your pumpkin will be traveling, I would suggest a few strategic dabs of hot glue or some help from safety pins.

Decoupage Leaf Pumpkin

This an easy and unique pumpkin to craft that you can "leave" up until Thanksgiving. You can use real, paper or fabric leaves. I spent absolutely no money on this project by using what I already had—fake flower leaves that resemble oak leaves.

You Will Need

  • Leaves
  • Mod Podge
  • Brush

What to Do

  • Mine were green—not very ideal for Fall—so I painted them black first. Black leaves on an off-white pumpkin certainly look spooky. After painting my leaves, I sprayed them with shellac on both sides so the fabric wouldn't bleed black paint when it got wet from the mod podge.
  • Then, using a brush and my mod podge, I glued my leaves to the pumpkin. I painted on two more layers of mod podge to seal my pumpkin, allowing each layer to fully dry. If your leaves aren't laying against your pumpkin as you would like, use scissors or a craft knife to make a little slit at the edge of an uncooperative section.
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Sparkly Crow Pumpkin

This spooky little pumpkin set me back less than $5.00 after some awesome Michael's coupons and discounts. It also took me less than five minutes to put together and it's one of my favorite pumpkins in my "patch". While all of my supplies were purchased new from Michael's craft store, this project is a great way to use up odds and ends you might have. Check out Halloween clearance sections for very reasonable faux pumpkins. Even if they have a little boo-boo, they'll work out great. These artificial pumpkins can be repainted and embellishments can hide any imperfections.

My spiders and rhinestones came from the scrapbooking aisle, and since they were already sticky with adhesive, my pumpkin decorating was even easier. My glittery crow had a little clothespin for feet but with nothing to clip him onto, I took it off and hot glued him to the pumpkin stem. I even used the piece of black wire that held him to the display card to make a cute little curly pumpkin vine tendril.

You Will Need

  • Fake Glitter Crow
  • Rhinestone Embellishments
  • Sparkly Spider Stickers

Shabby Chic Button Pumpkin

This is another pumpkin design that didn't cost me a penny. Using leftover buttons from my Button Vase decoration project and string, I decorated a gold-painted pumpkin.

You Will Need

  • Butcher's Twine or String
  • Buttons
  • Hot Glue

What to Do

  • Raid your button box for inspiration or buy some buttons on Etsy.
  • Glue string lengthwise in pumpkin ribs.
  • Feed string through buttonholes and double knot on the back of buttons. This will give your buttons a sewn-on effect. Cut off excess and save string.
  • Glue buttons to the pumpkin using hot glue.
  • Using leftover pieces of string, glue a few on in between buttons to simulate stitches.

Using this idea to decorate mini pumpkins will require less time and supplies which can really help out if you're in a pinch.

How to Make Pumpkin Vine Tendrils

  1. Wrap floral wire around a pencil or wooden spoon handle.
  2. Gently slide off spoon. It should resemble a spring.
  3. Twist each end around a toothpick, creating smaller curls.
  4. Gently pull apart large curls in center and adjust as desired.
  5. Attach to artificial pumpkin with hot glue, wrap around stem, or cut tendril in center and poke into base of pumpkin stem.

Spider Web Pumpkin

This a quick and easy way to decorate any pumpkin if you're a kiddo or a kid at heart. Pumpkin ideas for kids can entail paint, stickers, markers etc—but this idea is super easy and has virtually no mess to clean up. Use this method when kids are decorating mini pumpkins since the size is perfect for their little hands.

You Will Need

  • Butcher's Twine or String
  • Fake Plastic Spiders
  • Hot Glue (optional)

What to Do

  • Using off-white string, I pretended I was a spider and wrapped my pumpkin with stringy webs.
  • Finish and secure web at the bottom by tying the loose end to a few other strings.
  • Decorate with creepy Halloween spiders, using hot glue to affix if needed. This small pumpkin came from the grocery store and is used for baking.

Pumpkin decorating ideas like this allow the pumpkin to stay clean and intact in case you decide to decorate it another way, bake with it, or easily remove the decorations and use as plain Thanksgiving decor.

Mustachioed Pumpkin

Mustaches, whether fake or the real deal, seem to be pretty popular these days. With the rise of this trend, it's very easy to find packages of fake adhesive mustaches at most dollar and party stores. I found my fake mustaches in the dollar section of Target.

You Will Need

  • Adhesive Mustaches

Sticker Alternatives

They're great for decorating pumpkins since they're inexpensive and are usually already sticky. Fake mustaches look especially cute on mini pumpkins.

If you're unable to find fake mustaches at the last minute, simply draw it on with a black Sharpie marker or black paint. I have a great piece of scrapbook paper that has various mustache styles featured that I often pull out when I need some mustache design ideas and inspiration.

You can also add eyes and some glasses made from a pipe cleaner—if your pumpkin wants to be a proper gentleman. My little pumpkin is sitting on a spider leg cupcake stand (from Target) since his little body was the perfect size.


Paul Edmondson from Burlingame, CA on October 18, 2015:

I was just checking out Halloween Hubs and saw this one again. It's one of my absolute favorites!

Mackenzie Wright from nowhere and everywhere on September 22, 2014:

Good ideas. I like the mummy. Carving can be such a pain.

Brianna W from East Coast on September 05, 2014:

Great Ideas and I found some I want to try out this year. Awesome read!

Heather (author) from Arizona on November 01, 2013:

@caseymel-- I'm a pretty clumsy crafter myself. I always thought carving a pumpkin was a pain in the butt until I tried carving a gourd yesterday. Thanks for stopping by and commenting :)

@Beatris Johnson-- Thanks for stopping by and commenting. I always see or think of great holiday ideas after the fact. There's always next year, right? :)

@rcorcutt-- Thanks! I hope you and your wife are inspired to create something fun. I bet it will come out great. Thanks for commenting :)

@Lyndsay Gamber-- Thanks so much! I'm glad you stopped by. I'm looking forward to your holiday hubs! :)

@IslandBites-- Thanks! I'm glad you stopped by :)

@W1totalk-- Thanks so much for the kind words! I'm glad you stopped by and commented :)

@heidithorne-- You bring up a good point! I would always feel so bad the day after Halloween when my carved pumpkin's face began to sink in and turn "ugly". Thanks for stopping by and commenting :)

Heather (author) from Arizona on November 01, 2013:

@Paul Edmondson-- Thanks! I like the spider one too. Sometimes the simplest things are the prettiest. I'm glad you stopped by :)

@StellaSee-- Thanks! I love my mummy pumpkin too! I know what you mean about "pretty pumpkins." I was so impressed with how the sparkly crow pumpkin came out. Thanks for commenting :)

@Better Yourself-- I'm also not great with carving and messes, so this craft was right up my alley! I'm sure yours will come out great! You'll have to let me know how it goes next year :)

@Imogen French-- Thanks for stopping by! This year I waited too long to buy a pumpkin and ended up carving a squash and a gourd (so it's funny you mentioned that). I bet your gourds came out great! :)

@carlajbehr-- Aw thanks! I'm so glad you enjoy my hubs! I love to hear that. I was so busy yesterday with Halloween and finally had a chance to sit down and reply to this flood of awesome comments. Thanks so much for taking the time to share yours :)

Heather (author) from Arizona on November 01, 2013:

@Dolores Monet-- Thanks for visiting and all the kind words! I'm glad you stopped by :)

@rebeccamealey-- Thanks! You're right, carving is messy and this is a tidier alternative. Thanks for commenting :)

@Your Cousins-- Thanks for stopping by! The mummy is one of my favorites, for sure. That's a great idea about the turkeys; thanks :)

@Princessa-- Thanks so much for commenting! I'm glad you were inspired and I bet your pumpkins came out beautifully. If you share them on-line, I'd love to see :)

@purl3agony-- Thanks! The mummy is one of my favorites! I'm glad you stopped by :)

Melanie Casey from Indiana on November 01, 2013:

I'm pretty clumsy with a knife, so this is a great idea for me and my kids!

Beatris Johnson from London on October 31, 2013:

Amazing ideas! I wish I had seen this hub earlier.

rcorcutt on October 31, 2013:

OOh. My wife and I might try something like this next Halloween. Nice HUB.

Lyndsay Gamber from California on October 31, 2013:

congrats on hod! these are some really cool ideas! I will have to try some next year!

IslandBites from Puerto Rico on October 31, 2013:

Great ideas! Loved the hub.

W1totalk on October 31, 2013:

This is very well written article with some good ideas in it. Thank you Heather Says

Heidi Thorne from Chicago Area on October 31, 2013:

I've always thought that carving pumpkins ruined 'em. Such cute ideas! Congrats on Hub of the Day!

Paul Edmondson from Burlingame, CA on October 31, 2013:

Amazing! I love the spider and the web on the pumpkin! Going to show the girls this.

StellaSee from California on October 31, 2013:

I love the mummy pumpkin! The eyes are so cute, and I like the sparkly crow one too, the rhinestones make it pretty. I never imagined a halloween pumpkin could look 'pretty' ahaha. Thanks for sharing and congratulations!

Better Yourself from North Carolina on October 31, 2013:

LOVE these ideas! especially the sparkly crow! I'm not great with carving and its messy, cannot wait to try these next year. Thanks for sharing!

Imogen French from Southwest England on October 31, 2013:

Some great ideas here. They look wonderful, and sounds like a lot less hassle than carving. I wanted to decorate some of my homegrown squashes, but didn't want to waste them by carving them up just yet, and you have given me something to think about now. congrats on hotd - well deserved :-)

Carla J Swick from NW PA on October 31, 2013:

Your ideas are amazing - I truly enjoy your hubs!

Dolores Monet from East Coast, United States on October 31, 2013:

A wonderful alternative to the same old badly carved Jack-o-Lantern. They are so pretty and your pictures are fabulous! (Voted up and shared)

Rebecca Mealey from Northeastern Georgia, USA on October 31, 2013:

Adorable ideas! They save a lot of the mess of pumpkin carving too. Thanks f0r sharing!

Your Cousins from Atlanta, GA on October 31, 2013:

Love the mummy, spider and crow pumpkins. Carving the pumpkins is fun, but so sloppy. This is a great alternative, and after Halloween, you can make turkeys out of them! Great HOTD.

Wendy Iturrizaga from France on October 31, 2013:

Great creations, and they look very easy to do. I am going to try them, I have never carved a pumpkin -too much hard work- but these crafts are just what we were waiting for to use our pumpkins

Donna Herron from USA on October 31, 2013:

So many great ideas!! I love the mummy pumpkin :) Congrats on your HOTD!!

Heather (author) from Arizona on September 30, 2013:


Thanks so much for the kind words :) The crow pumpkin is by far my favorite. I unpacked my Halloween stuff yesterday and was so happy to unwrap my sparkly crow pumpkin. Thanks for stopping by and commenting :)

Lisa from WA on September 30, 2013:

You have a very snazzy collection of hubs and I can't wait to read more. I especially like the "Mummy Pumpkin" and "Sparkly Crow Pumpkin" in this list. This looks like a fun project. I really like that you can customize it to your own taste and even keep these up through Thanksgiving if you want.

Heather (author) from Arizona on November 01, 2012:

@randomcreative-- I had a feeling the button one would get a few fans. I'm glad you liked it. Thanks for reading and commenting, as always :)

@Brian-- Thanks for stopping by and chatting. I hate throwing away a rotting pumpkin that I spent time and energy on too. Hope you had a great Halloween and a soon-to-be Thanksgiving. :)

Rose Clearfield from Milwaukee, Wisconsin on November 01, 2012:

I can't even begin to pick a favorite here because all of these ideas are so awesome. Of course you know that I love the button one, though! Great job here.

Brian Ahearn on November 01, 2012:

These are awesome. We always use pumpkins to decorate around the house but hold off on carving them because they'll just rot in a week and we want to keep them around all season. So the Spider Web or Mummy ideas you did here are great because we can remove the Halloween add-ons after and still keep the pumpkins for Thanksgiving.

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