Thinking Outside the Box: 5 Ways to Decorate a Pumpkin Without Using a Knife

By Kathryn Trudeau

Carving a pumpkin is the go-to method for pumpkin decorating, but carving a pumpkin with small kids isn’t always fun.

For starters, you’ll be doing 99% of the work (aka the actual decorating) due to the knife-yielding required to carve a pumpkin. So what does that leave for the kids to do? Scooping out the pumpkin goo!? Separating the seeds from the fiber?! Choosing the design?!

That’s not what kids, especially young toddlers, want to do. They want to create and decorate - not just scoop out the goo!

This year, ditch the pumpkin carving and try one of these no-carve pumpkin decorating ideas.

Sticker Face

If you were to peek at my kids’ play kitchen, you would find evidence of the universal truth that all kids love stickers. Okay, that may be a bit of a stretch, but most children do love a good sticker session.

And what better way to let a child have unrestrained sticker fun than by decorating a pumpkin with those decals?

Of course, any old sticker will do, but you can foster creativity with:

  • Eye stickers
  • Mustache stickers
  • Geometric shape stickers (which can be arranged to resemble a traditional jack-o-lantern)

Tip: Wash and dry your pumpkin first. If there is any dirt or dust leftover from the pumpkin patch, it may prevent your stickers from sticking.

Just a Little Bit of Glue… Make a Decoupage Pumpkin!


Glue is another craft idea that never ceases to amaze young children, and it’s also a great way to decorate a pumpkin without carving it.

To make a Decoupage pumpkin:

  1. Gather your items that you want to glue on your pumpkin: pom pom craft balls, sequins, leaves, comic strips from the newspaper, buttons, googly eyes, felt strips, etc.You could even glue small photos to your pumpkin and make a photo pumpkin. The sky is really the limit here.
  2. Get your glue ready:There’s a few ways to handle the glue. You could use a hot glue gun (watch out for little hands though!), you squirt regular craft glue for your child, or you could pour a little bit of glue in a cup and then use a foam brush to let your child apply their own glue.  (Note:If you want to make a photo-covered collage pumpkin, have your child glue the pictures on with Elmer’s glue. Then, you can cover the whole pumpkin in Mod Podge. Let it dry overnight.)
  1. Prepare your pumpkin: Just like you did with the sticker pumpkin, wash and dry your pumpkin!
  2. Prepare the scene: Lay down newspaper, and have wet wipes ready too!
  3. Glue away! Glue on the items you already collected. You can also use the glue to make a glitter pumpkin. Cover your pumpkin in glue and then sprinkle glitter all over the pumpkin. Let it dry before moving it.

Paint Your Pumpkin

Painting your pumpkin is another fun decorating option. This is what you’ll need:

  • Tempera paint
  • Newspapers
  • Smock
  • Brushes (optional): Finger painting is fun too!

Here’s what to do:

  1. Lay out your newspaper and pumpkin, and let your little one finger paint a masterpiece.
  2. Let the pumpkin dry completely.
  3. Spray a layer of Mod Podge over the entire thing. This will prevent paint chips from cracking and flaking off. It will also help the pumpkin last even longer on your front doorstep - no melty pumpkin if it rains!

Tape Your Pumpkin

Taping your pumpkin is like the more adult version of the sticker pumpkin. You basically use colored duct tape to create your stickers.

This is what you need:

  • Colored duct tape
  • Wax paper
  • Scissors
  • Pumpkin, preferably a white pumpkin for this project

Here’s what you need to do:

  1. Wash and dry your pumpkin to ensure your “stickers” stick
  2. Put a piece of duct tape on the wax paper
  3. Cut out yoru shapes: geometric shapes, stripes, stars, hearts, etc
  4. Peel your duct tape off the wax paper and apply to the pumpkin

Make a Super Pumpkin… Super Pumpkin, That Is!


Are you kids into superheroes? If so, this is the pumpkin you need!

  1. Paint your eyes (or glue eyes) onto your pumpkin
  2. Attach a black felt superhero mask to your pumpkin
  3. Voila! Superhero pumpkin!

What about you?

Have you ever decorated a pumpkin without carving it? What did you do?


About Kathryn:

Kathryn is a self-proclaimed book nerd who has a passion for natural parenting and writing. As a homeschooling mother of two, Kathryn understands the dynamics of a busy family life. She is the founder of the Cor Domum movement, a mission that guides families through life so that they can parent with joy. Read more at 

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