Home Tip Tuesday: Tips on Decorating Pumpkins without Carving

Painting and gluing decorations on pumpkins are great alternatives to carving.

The tradition of carving jack-o-lanterns for Halloween began in Ireland where potatoes and turnips were carved and illuminated to mimic the folktale legend known as Stingy Jack. Early Irish immigrants brought the charming tradition to America with them, and in the U.S. they found the indigenous pumpkin was an even better canvas for their fun.

Pumpkin carving is still a beloved part of any Halloween celebration. It’s so popular that we keep finding new ways to do it. Decorating pumpkins without cutting them makes it safer for young children to participate, and an uncut pumpkin can last for many weeks on the porch or in the house. And if you don’t want to decorate a new gourd every year, you can even purchase a fabricated pumpkin from the craft store and use it in your d├ęcor for many Halloweens to come.

Perfectly Painted
Simulate the classic look of a traditional jack-o-lantern, or transform a gourd into something entirely from your imagination with simple and expensive craft paints. A few tips will make pumpkin painting more successful for everyone:

  • Choose a gourd that stands up on its own and is stable
  • Seal the pumpkin with a clear sealant before and after painting. An initial layer of sealant will help paint adhere better as well as preserving the pumpkin. Sealing the project when complete will help protect the paint job
  • Try drawing out your design on paper before applying paint
  • Use stencils or stick with simple jack-o-lantern faces if you’re not completely confident in your artistic abilities
  • Protect your work surface with a drop cloth, and have plenty of rags ready for clean-up

Glue That Gourd
From crystals to pipe cleaners, almost anything can be glued to a pumpkin with plain white glue. A little patience is required when you’re trying to glue flat objects onto the round surface of a pumpkin, but gluing is a simple procedure that even very young children can do well. If you’re a perfectionist or want to create an intricate design, using small glue dots may be a better choice than liquid glue. Buttons, candy corn, glitter, feathers, sequins, lace, beads and decorative papers are just a few of the items you can use to transform your pumpkins with glue.

Painting and gluing are the most common ways to decorate a pumpkin without carving, but they’re not the only options. Wrap a pumpkin in yarn or Washi tape, create a design with thumb tacks or embellish one with decorative stickers.  Combine several techniques all in the same design! There really is no wrong way to decorate a pumpkin. Whatever approach you take, Stingy Jack is sure to be proud.

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