24 no-carve pumpkin decorating ideas to DIY

These no-carve pumpkin decorating ideas are stylish, spooky and easy to recreate. Up your ghoulish decor game for Halloween 2021

3D bat decorated pumpkin
(Image credit: Dori Turner)

No-carve pumpkin ideas are all the rage. Giving you the chance to get creative and bring all those fun, ghoulish vibes home for Halloween – without tons of mess. Plus, by styling your pumpkins without using sharp tools, it makes this holiday way more family-friendly. 

The best part about no-carve pumpkins is that anything goes so whether you want to make them very eclectic or minimal – even beautiful – to suit your home's interior style, it's your choice entirely.

No-carve pumpkin decorating ideas

We're fans of simple but effective DIY halloween decorating ideas that don't cost a ton to recreate but that pack a punch in looks. From getting out your favorite sharpie, to picking up your glue gun, getting more hands-on with paint and more to jazz up faux Dollar Tree pumpkins or the real deal, you're going to want to give all of these a try this year.

1. Sharpie spider web pumpkin

Sharpie spider decorated halloween pumpkin

(Image credit: Dori Turner)

For this project you need a small and medium white pumpkin and a black Sharpie permanent marker. Remove the stem from the larger pumpkin. Using the Sharpie, draw a spider web around the top half of the smaller pumpkin. Draw a line down from the web, continuing it halfway down the larger pumpkin. At the end of the line, draw a spider and fill in until it's solid. Stack the smaller pumpkin on the larger pumpkin for a whimsical display!

2. 3D Bat pumpkins

3D bat decorated pumpkin

(Image credit: Dori Turner)

For this project you'll need a small and medium orange pumpkin and 3D black bats with adhesive on the backside. I found mine on Amazon! Remove the stem from the larger pumpkin and stack the smaller one on top. Bend the wings of the bats and attach them to the pumpkins, arranging them with the larger ones on bottom and moving to the smaller ones on top! Use indoor or outdoor to add a fun element to your Halloween decor!

3. DIY concrete pumpkins using coffee grounds

Concrete look pumpkin on stack of books

(Image credit: Dori Turner)

This project uses dried coffee grounds, gray chalk or craft paint and a plastic pumpkin. Mix a tablespoon of coffee grounds into the paint. Use a paint brush to apply the mixture evenly to the pumpkin. Allow to dry and then add a second coat. The coffee grounds will give the pumpkin the texture of concrete!

4. Chalk Painted Faux Dollar Tree Pumpkins

Chalk painted pumpkin with real stem on stacked coasters for display

(Image credit: Dori Turner)

Small Dollar Tree pumpkins are perfect for this project! You'll also need your choice of chalk paint, a hot glue gun, and a stick from a tree for the stem to give it a realistic feel. Start by removing the fake stem from the pumpkin. Using a paint brush, paint the pumpkin with two coats of chalk paint. Cut the stem to the desired length and glue to the top of the pumpkin! Stack on top of candle holders or use on a tiered tray.

5. DIY glass pumpkins

Silver painted glass pumpkin on checked orange napkin on a gray plate

(Image credit: Dori Turner)

Cheap dollar pumpkins are great for this easy project! You'll also need a can of Krylon Looking Glass spray paint that you can find on Amazon. Lay the pumpkins on a drop cloth and evenly spray the top of the pumpkins. Allow them to dry completely before flipping them over and repeating the process. The paint will give them the look of glass! Use the pumpkins as part of your fall tablescape ideas and get top marks for your seasonal decor.

6. Get your inspiration from Japanese contemporary art

No carve pumpkin ideas - Yayoi Kusama inspired polka dot pumpkins with yellow and orange acrylic paint

(Image credit: @craftic)

'This Yayoi Kusama inspired project is probably one of my favorite Halloween crafts,' says  Jennifer Refat, founder of Craftic.com

'If you know me at all, you know I’m a fan of polka dots. Since I don’t like carving pumpkins and much prefer painting them, this project came about pretty organically. I didn’t originally intend to mimic Ms. Kusama’s work but it was inevitable with both our loves for polka dots.'

It's important to wipe gourds with damp paper towels to remove any dirt and let dry. Place a small dab of acrylic paint on your palette/plate - about the size of a dime. Acrylic paint tends to dry quickly so it’s best to use a little at a time.

Paint each gourd with one layer of base color. You can paint it all one color, alternate your two main colors or do an ombre effect. It’s up to you! Then use the eraser on the end of a pencil to create a dotted design.

7. Create a cute porch display with pastel painted pumpkins

Paint is our new fave way to decorate pumpkins, zero mess, loads of style. We love @_lisa_dawson_'s porch display  – the pink, red and orange is bang on trend but the creepy eye gives it a  suitable spooky feel. All you need to get this look yourself is paint, and paintbrush and as many pumpkins as you can fit on your step.

8. Decorate your pumpkins with dried flowers

Such a cute no carve pumpkin idea from @houselarsbuilt! Dried flowers are bang on trend this season so why not stick them on you pumpkins too. Pick ones that match the color of your pumpkins to keep things rustic and natural-looking. 

9. Go abstract with your no carve pumpkins

These pumpkins by @kailochic look like they were done by someone who actually has some artistic talent (they were) but any novice could give this a go. Just pick colors that work together and just build up the color with different sized strokes.   

10. Mix in some metallics 

Such a cute color palette here! We love the slightly rustic unfinished look that comes from using real pumpkins. For this you could use spray paints and just mix and match how much of the pumpkin you cover – spray some completely, half spray others or just to the storks! Give your display a touch of glamour by using metallic spray paint. 

11. Decoupage on some autumn leaves 

Such an easy no carve pumpkin idea, just stick on some leaves! You could head into nature find the leaves yourself – buy come on finding the perfect proportions, totally undamaged leaf is not an easy task, so you could just pick some up from a craft store. Where ever you decide to source your leaves, use glue to secure them to your pumpkin in whatever pattern you like – we think covered the whole thing in leaves would look cute. 

12. Dip your pumpkins in paint 

@melanielissackinteriors  has a very cute, very 2020 appropriate display on her doorstep, so go and check that our on her Instagram –  but the basis are these very cute dipped pumpkins. You could get the look by literally dipping your pumpkin half in paint and let the paint drip down the sides, or you could go for a neater look and create the effect yourself with a small paintbrush. 

13. Black and gold detailed pumpkins

A pumpkin decorating idea with black and light orange paint in living room with fireplace and rectangular mirror

(Image credit: Theresa Gromski (@theresa_gromski))

A bit more technical than just spray painting the entire thing in a pastel hue, why not get some marker pens, or a fine paintbrush and paint some patterns onto your pumpkin? It's still really easy but the results are super impressive! 

If @theresagromski's stunning creations are a bit out of your realm, why not just try simple stripes or spots? 

14. Style pumpkins and tangerines on your mantel

Pumpkin decorating ideas on mantelplace by Nadia McCowan-Hill, Wayfair resident style advisor

(Image credit: Wayfair)

'Who said Halloween was just for kids? The spookiest day in the seasonal calendar offers a fantastic opportunity to add a little dramatic decor to your space and this year, mantelscaping is the must-have trend!' says Nadia McCowan-Hill, resident style advisor at Wayfair.

'For a cool and quirky look that’s packed with ghostly style, choose a mantel-top mirror with a gothic silhouette. In my spare room, I opted for a black and silver chequered combo with a distinctly Beetlejuice vibe that’s brimming with personality.' 

'When it comes to dressing your mantel, layering is key. Try spray painting a mixture of pumpkins and gourds in gold and silver and mix them in with unsprayed pumpkins and tangerines for a grown-up and glamorous take on Halloween chic.'

'Remember that Halloween is all about having fun, so don’t be afraid to experiment, creating a spooky and sparkly arrangement that’s perfect for fright night.'

15. Gold embossed white pumpkins

White pumpkin decorating ideas used as tablescape decor with gold thumbtack

(Image credit: AO at Home)

Knowing what to do with pumpkins after Halloween can be tricky. Especially if you don’t fancy making yet another pumpkin-based recipe. But you could consider creating a pretty Autumn inspired table centerpiece.

'If you’re expecting some guests or simply want to make a lovely display for your dining room, these decorative pumpkins are a perfect way to give your home a little Autumn flair for not a lot of money,' says Kimberly Duran, aka @swoonworthyblog.

'Paint your pumpkins using matt white spray paint. Make sure your layers are very light and keep the can moving to avoid any drips. You’ll need to do 2-3 coats and leave each coat to dry between starting the next one.'

'Once your pumpkins are completely dry, use the thumbtacks to create some designs on your pumpkins For the first pumpkin, I followed the natural grooves, tracing the lines about half way down the pumpkin and leaving a small space between the tacks. For the second, I created a concentric circle pattern all the way around from the top to the bottom in a spiral. For the third, I again followed the grooves down the pumpkin but this time, I used the tacks from top to bottom.'

'Once your pumpkins are completed, set them in the middle of the table and tuck your eucalyptus branches and pussy willow stems between and underneath them along the length of the table.'

16. Use a selection of hand dried flowers and leaves

A pumpkin decorating idea using a white ghost variety with dried flowers and leaves

(Image credit: @littlepinelearners)

Have you ever decorated pumpkins with pieces of nature? This pumpkin decorating idea by Tara, founder of Little Pine Learners, so simple and looks beautiful when complete! You can use leaves, flowers, or other light pieces of nature.

A fun and educational Halloween craft for preschoolers, little ones will love pressing the pieces of nature and gluing them onto the pumpkin! This is one pretty pumpkin when complete. Then, use non-toxic PVA glue to stick the foliage onto your pumpkin.

17. Use colored henna for an Asian-inspired pumpkin

Trio of pumpkin decorating ideas with colored henna, gemstones and pearls used on ghost white pumpkins

(Image credit: @halifaxhenna)

Most commonly used in Hindu celebrations, Henna application results in the most intricate an bold designs and you can really get creative with the plant based dye.

Instead of using the reddish-brown form, Vineeta, a Henna artist and owner of @halifaxhenna based in Nova Scotia has turned this art form into an Etsy business applying brightly colored product to her pumpkins.

Choosing a ghost pumpkin will really see the colors popping and we love the added gemstones and pearls on these designs. The use of magenta, mustard and cyan really do remind us of Holi and Diwali festivals.

Though getting the henna out of the tube might be messy at first,  but there still no faffing about with cutting and scooping!

18. Create a 'cacti' plant with little and large pumpkins

Two pumpkin decorating ideas. In foreground a day of the dead inspired face, in background a trio of pumpkins depicted to be a cacti plant in brown pot

(Image credit: @mindlovemelissa)

Pumpkins are the perfect foundation for creating whatever you like! You may have already seen a few Mexican inspired Day of the Dead or Día de los Muertos faces, but we've got our eyes on what's behind it.

This clever cacti plant by podcast host Melissa Monte (aka @mindlovemelissa) has been formed by painting a trio (one medium and two mini pumpkins) in a green emulsion and then sticking in some white pearled pins. It's actually works out perfectly when you think about the timing as Hallow's Eve is on 31st October with All Souls' Day celebrated 1-2 November.

19. Get crafty with a vinyl cutting machine 

Pumpkin decorating ideas using pastel purple and pink painted pumpkins with vinyl cut slogans

(Image credit: Cricut)

Just like the film Mean Girls taught us – Halloween is the perfect time to get sassy. So add a healthy touch of attitude into your pumpkin decorating ideas. Slogans are the perfect way to literally say it out loud and a vinyl cutting machine – like that from Cricut is the perfect way to get consistent "Qween-worthy" results.

We love this pastel-colored pumpkin decorating ideas and we'd totes pair these with all the crystals while burning some sage. Got a ouija board? Bring that out too!

20. For an exotic twist, draw on ethnic textile inspo

Pumpkin decorating idea with blue paint decor and white clover motif

(Image credit: Tina Aponte)

If you're stuck for pumpkin decorating ideas, turn to your wardrobe for a bit of inspiration.

Just as interior design pays homage to global trends, as does the catwalk. So it's no surprise that we're head over heels over this blue pumpkin decorating idea with white floral detail from Tina Aponte, managing director and owner of Zambezi Joy Society. Her Zambian-inspired gourd designs are just as colorful as her tablecloths.

21. Paint your pumpkins with pastels 

Pastel painted pumpkin decorating idea with letterboard that says: 'If you don't paint your pumpkins in pastels, do you even do Instagram?'

(Image credit: Lisa Dawson)

Literally that's it. Just paint your pumpkin. The easiest pumpkin decorating idea out there. It also looks super effective and surprisingly stylish. Just grab some pastel spray paint, pop some newspaper down and spray the entire thing. So much easier and less messy than carving one out – and the finished result is really effective   – just as award winning writer, blogger, creator and presenter, Lisa Dawson proves!

22. Create a centerpiece with pumpkins and leaves

Pumpkin decorating ideas

(Image credit: Rinck Content Studio/Unsplash)

Use smaller pumpkins and match them with autumn leaves in vases, rustic cups, jam jars or glasses to create a cute table centrepiece. You don't need real pumpkins for this – Amazon sells lots of lifelike pumpkin decorations.

23. Decorate your pumpkin with confetti 

Ginger Ray pumpkin with confetti

(Image credit: Ginger Ray )

Another easy pumpkin decorating idea is to use confetti or stickers. Again, paint your pumpkin (you really could use any paint, it doesn't have to be spray paint), and then go to town with the Halloween confetti.

This cute confetti is from Ginger Ray – love the gold sequins mixed it for a bit of a glam, grown-up edge. Find much, much more Halloween confetti on Amazon.

Using non-toxic glue, this is an easy Halloween craft idea for kids, and is pretty foolproof. So they won't run the risk of disappointment you get from trying to copy a more complex design.

24. Decorate a child's bedroom with pumpkin 'bunnies'

A pumpkin decorating idea using butternut squash and pumpkins to depict bunny rabbits with 'Boo' glitter bunting in background

(Image credit: @anettemarias)

Not all pumpkin decorating ideas have to be scary. In fact, these butternut squash bunnies, along with pastel-colored pumpkins make the perfect decor for a girl bedroom idea or play room. We love the accompanying glittery bunting for a uber feminine feel.

Display on a side table or windowsill, or use as a doorstop to keep an ear out for mischief while you are downstairs. 

Why should we not carve pumpkins?

Carving pumpkins is a favorite Halloween pastime, but it's not always the best idea for longevity. If you're needing your pumpkins to last, you will want to find an alternative to carving. This is due to the fact that once your pumpkins have been carved you can only expect them to last up to five days in a warmer climate and up to 14 days in a cooler climate. On the other hand, uncarved pumpkins will last two to three months!

What can I use to decorate a pumpkin without carving?

There are several alternatives to decorating pumpkins without carving. You can use permanent markers to draw a fun design. You can paint your pumpkins with craft or chalk paint. You can also glue objects like beads, sequins, and buttons to create a pattern on your pumpkin!