7 Easy, No-Carve Pumpkin Decorating Tips & Ideas

by Dan Yaccarino

I’ve always loved Halloween. When I was growing up I would make decorations to hang in the windows of our house. Spooky ghosts! Scary skeletons! So much fun!

For some strange reason, I wasn’t allowed to wield a knife as a child, so I couldn’t carve a pumpkin, but I did the next best thing: I painted them! Scary faces! Goofy faces! Weird faces!

Many years later, I illustrated a board book called 5 Little Pumpkins, which brought me back to my childhood and all the fun I had painting pumpkins. I had a blast creating the different faces for each of them and amused myself with all the fun things I had them do. Since then, the book has sold over a million copies, so I guess I’m not alone in my love of pumpkins!

Now with the spooky season upon us, I thought I could give a few tips on painting those funny orange guys.


I don’t live near a pumpkin patch, so I visited my local market and picked out 5 nice round pumpkins. Why 5? Well, painting a pumpkin is fun, so painting 5 of them would be 5 times as fun!


Wipe them off with a soft damp cloth, preferably a Halloween-themed one (just to get you in the mood). Also at this point you should start playing Monster Mash on repeat until you’re done.


Hmmm. What should I paint on these pumpkins? Hey! I know! How about paint the pumpkins from this book that just happens to be lying around, 5 Little Pumpkins?


This may be a boring extra step for some of you, but I always like to plan out what I’ll be painting. Some of you may want to leap right in, but I wanted to be sure that these pumpkins will look like the pumpkins in the book.


Lay down some newspaper so you don’t get paint on the dining room table so your mother won’t get mad at you and even though your brother said he wouldn’t tell if you gave him half of your Halloween candy except the Twizzlers because he doesn’t like them and he told her anyway, so then he can’t get half my candy and… Pardon me. I digress. Ahem. Get your paint, a brush, some water, and some paper towels.


Finally! Paint time! Maintain a steady hand and take your time. This is the fun part. Once you’re done painting, put them aside to dry.


Yay! Your pumpkins are done! Display them with pride and reward yourself with some of that candy in the big bowl before those Trick or Treaters show up and take it all.

Dan Yaccarino is an internationally acclaimed author-illustrator with more than thirty children’s books to his credit, including Five Little Pumpkins, Trashy Town, Unlovable, and The Fantastic Undersea Life of Jacques Cousteau. He also created and produced Nickelodeon’s Oswald and is the character designer behind The Backyardigans. You can visit him at www.yaccarinostudio.com.

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