How to Decorate Pumpkins Without Carving for Kids

by Lori A. Selke

    Kids love Halloween. Not just the candy but everything about it -- the costumes, the spooky stories, the decorations. But most little kids aren't up to properly carving a pumpkin. Their motor skills and hand strength aren't developed enough to handle even a kid-safe carving tool. Fortunately, it's easy to find a way to allow your child to decorate a pumpkin herself with markers, paint, stickers or other creatively-employed art supplies.

    Items you will need

    • Pumpkins
    • Markers
    • Non-toxic tempera paint
    • Paintbrushes
    • Sponges
    • Halloween-themed stickers
    • Felt
    • Safety scissors
    • Stick-on gems
    • Loose glitter
    • Googly eyes
    • Craft glue
    • Glue sticks
    • Candy corn
    Step 1

    Provide markers for coloring. You can select Halloween-friendly colors such as black and purple or just set out the usual rainbow selection. Let your toddler scribble directly on the pumpkin, or draw whatever kind of face he might like.

    Step 2

    Brush on some non-toxic tempera-based paints to decorate your pumpkin. Again, you can offer Halloween colors such as white, black and purple or you can provide other colors as well. It's best for little kids to offer one color at a time and rinse paintbrushes between use; otherwise, young children often forget to clean their own brushes and end up mixing colors into a goopy brown mess.

    Step 3

    Cut out kitchen sponges in the shape of triangles, ovals, circles and squares. Let your toddler dip the shapes in paint and then stamp the pumpkin. You can let her create abstract patterns or try to stamp a face.

    Step 4

    Set out stickers for decorating. Around Halloween time, it's easy to find seasonal-themed stickers printed on paper and suitable for pumpkin decoration. Craft stores carry foam sticker shapes you can utilize as well. Let your toddler peel and place the stickers to his heart's content.

    Step 5

    Cut shapes out of black felt with safety scissors. Try triangles, ovals and circles or any other shape that inspires you. Sort into a pile for eyes, a pile for noses and a pile for mouths. Provide a glue stick or craft glue and assist your child in gluing together a face for your pumpkin. Or use sticky felt from the craft store and peel off the backing. This technique results in a classic carved-pumpkin look without the carving.

    Step 6

    Spread a thin layer of craft glue on your toddler's pumpkin, then let her dust it with loose glitter. Provide stick-on gems for further decoration. You can also use glitter glue instead of loose glitter to rein in the mess.

    Step 7

    Glue googly eyes on the pumpkin with craft glue or a glue stick. Many craft stores sell packets of googly eyes for various projects and children love applying them in all sorts of silly ways. Let your toddler dot the surface of his pumpkin with as many eyes as he can. This makes for a spooky, goofy, very Halloweeny pumpkin indeed.

    Step 8

    Glue candy corn to your pumpkin. Set out the candy and craft glue or a glue stick, and let your child make patterns out of the candy -- faces, rows and curves or just random choices. Expect some of the candy to be eaten rather than applied to the pumpkin, of course. Always supervise this step at all times to avoid choking hazards.


    • Another advantage of no-carve pumpkins is that they last longer in warmer weather without rotting.


    • Washable markers and tempera paints will wash off in the rain; stickers are in danger, too. Pumpkins decorated in glue are more secure but you still may wish to find some rain-free shelter for your pumpkins, such as on an enclosed porch.

    About the Author

    Lori A. Selke has been a professional writer and editor for more than 15 years, touching on topics ranging from LGBT issues to sexuality and sexual health, parenting, alternative health, popular music, film and video, food and cooking. Her work has appeared in "Curve Magazine," "Girlfriends," "Libido," "The Children's Advocate,", "The SF Weekly," and

    Photo Credits

    • Digital Vision/Valueline/Getty Images