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7 No-Carve Ways to Decorate a Pumpkin

Halloween and pumpkins go together like lattes and pumpkin spice. However, carving a pumpkin can be difficult and downright dangerous. Add to that… it’s a mess! Especially if you live in a dorm, it can be a nightmare, and not the fun spooky szn kind. Instead, opt for no-carve pumpkin decorating that can be just as fun (if not more) and longer-lasting than cutting up an oversized gourd.


Inclusion is essential, and Halloween in the past has led to the exclusion of many people. With candy abound, individuals with food allergies can find Halloween difficult and even dangerous. That’s why the Teal Pumpkin Project was created. A teal pumpkin indicates to trick or treaters that non-food treats are offered at the household to create an inclusive environment for those with allergies. An extension of the idea is the blue pumpkin and blue bucket for autism. The blue pumpkin and bucket symbolize an individual with autism and that all people with autism are welcome for candy.

Paint Patterns

Getting creative and just painting a pumpkin can be decoration enough. A fun and trendy pattern you could create is terrazzo, like the durable flooring featured in many university buildings. Another easy design, with little skill involved, is splatter painting. However, you could opt for showing off your skills with a more graphic pattern, or you may choose to recreate the popular sprinkle donuts with small decorative pumpkins.


Probably the EASIEST way to decorate a pumpkin is with a balloon. For a color block effect, simply cut off the rolled end of the balloon and stretch it over the pumpkin. It’s essential to consider the size of your pumpkin with the size of your balloon (this is oddly suggestive, but it’s the truth). This is the most mess-free option for decorating a pumpkin and probably one of the quickest ways if you’re decorating at the last minute.


Much like sticker letters, you can use tape or vinyl decals on a painted pumpkin. Another creative trick is to use the tape before painting to create a negative space effect. Use duct tape or even electrical tape to get an effect like this creative take on a Hudson Bay Blanket pumpkin.

Chalkboard Paint

A simple, no-carving decoration that is easily customizable is painting a pumpkin with chalkboard paint! Write a note to your roommate, post a new Halloween movie quote each day, or use it for a countdown to All Hallows Eve. It’s an easy dorm-friendly option for a pumpkin with less mess and more customization.


Lace is an excellent option if you’re looking for no-carving pumpkin decorating and for texture. Appliques are perfect and can be adhered to the pumpkin using spray adhesive or a hot glue gun. This, in combination with painting the pumpkin, can lead to a gorgeous effect. Pro tip: consider spray painting it after you’ve added the lace for a monochrome textural look.

Other Gourds

Pumpkins are a staple for Halloween; however, there are plenty of other types of gourds in season right now that can be used for carving and decorating. If you want a unique Jack-O-Lantern, consider using one of the many varieties of gourds and squash like an acorn or butternut squash!

Lusenda is a senior pursuing concurrent majors in anthropology and history, and a certificate in Medieval & Renaissance Studies. Projected to graduate in Fall 2021 from Arizona State University, she is applying for a Fulbright Scholarship and hopes to get her Masters degree abroad in Medieval and Renaissance Studies. As a queer non-traditional student with disabilities and community college transfer, Lusenda is passionate about writing that connects with a range of underrepresented demographics. When she isn't busy studying or writing she loves knitting, cooking, binge-watching Netflix, drinking too much coffee, and snuggling with her cats.
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