Halloween Ideas | No-Carve Pumpkin Decorating

We enjoy simple Halloween ideas, and this one takes the cake with the toddler and preschool crowd.

We had a play date with some good friends last week, and N came home with two cute little pumpkins — one decorated for her little sister with glitter glue and the other decorated with glitter glue and foam Halloween stickers. She was glued to the art table (really, no pun intended) and wanted to make more of these at home.

no carve pumpkins for kids

The next morning we found ourselves at the market where she spotted, and wanted to buy, some absurd anthropomorphic pumpkins with purple and green feathers for hair. I wish I took a picture. To move us along I mentioned that we had feathers at home and could make these ourselves. She liked the idea so we bought a few sugar pumpkins on the spot and set it all up that morning.

The first thing to go on the table: a bowl of feathers. White glue worked really well for this step.

halloween ideas | no-carve pumpkin decorating

After gluing the feathers in place, she had trouble securing the buttons she selected to the pumpkin with white glue (gravity!). I didn’t feel like hauling out the glue gun and suggested we could draw on the pumpkin with permanent markers or paint on it with acrylics. Neither solution appealed to her, so she worked on getting two buttons to stick to the side before calling it a day. Maybe I should have bought a bag of foam stickers!

halloween ideas | no-carve pumpkin decorating

But I do love how this turned out…simple and sweet.

Are you making no-carve pumpkins this year? What bits and bobs would you add to your pumpkins?

halloween ideas | no-carve pumpkin decorating

Five lovely no-carve ideas, including these made with ribbons, from Good Housekeeping

Beautiful no-carve pumpkin projects from Real Simple Magazine

Mr. and Mrs. Potato Head Pumpkins

More Halloween Ideas

If you enjoyed this post, you have to check out 50 Simple Halloween Ideas for Kids.


  1. In fourth grade we had a pumpkin decorating contest. This floors me now, as we rarely got to do open-ended anything in school. We each got a good-sized pumpkin and there were so many odds and ends to decorate with. I wish I had a picture of mine (it won! I remember this because it was assigned my lucky number, 21, and sure enough, it did the trick). I decorated it as a gypsy, I think, because I loved dressing up as a gypsy for Halloween, and for all I know this is frowned upon now by the politically correct, but what did we know in 1982? We’ll say it was a fortune teller. I’m sure feathers were involved, and beads too, so I love N’s design aesthetic!

    We spray painted pumpkins with chalkboard paint the other day in preparation for G’s birthday party–a pumpkin each for our kids & the cousins. We’ve painted them in the past during parties, but they take forever to dry and everyone goes home with wet pumpkins, so I looked on Pinterest for ideas. I’ll let you know how chalkboard pumpkins work out in real life!

    • Yes, Gypsy’s would be frowned upon today, but not in 1982! Look forward to hearing how the chalkboard pumpkins go, Amy.

  2. N’s creations are so very sweet! i especially love the buttons on there. i’m going to soon share my painted pumpkin art fail (my bad – the little one had nothing to do with it) on my blog once i can steal a moment to make it right — and enlist my tiny artist-in-residence’s help this time. 🙂 the art is coming slower these days over here… i’m LOVING all of the pinterest pumpkins out there right now, too.

    • I love craft fails (when they’re not mine, mostly) and can’t wait to see what went wrong. Is that wrong? 🙂 I just got sucked into an hour of pinterest and now I’m wondering why I’m still up. Bleh.

  3. Last year our girls’ Nana bought them two glitter pumpkins. I was explaining them to my crafty friend who informed me they were “likely made with Martha Stewart Glitter.” The glitter was extremely fine and looked really unique. You can see the directions here: http://www.marthastewart.com/265290/glittered-pumpkin-table-decorations *Very cool.

    This summer we planted pumpkins in our garden. Unfortunately an early frost has left us with lots of mini pumpkins. I have been looking for some no carve ideas, thanks for sharing this. I am not sure if I am daring enough to do the glitter too. The last time we did a glitter project my little Rose had glitter stuck to her scalp for weeks (don’t ask, lol).

    PS: I am smitten with Pinterest too and would love if you would be interested in collaborating on a parent conversation board I have running. I will drop you a line over there.

    • We have some super-fine glitter and I adore the look of it, but it’s mostly an outdoors material — it sticks to everything! I’ll check out the link…thanks for sharing it. And thank you for the Pinterest group invite. I’d love to join you.

  4. Pinterest is an endless source of inspiration. I love it 🙂

    We are definitely going to carve pumpkin this year (can’t say it’s my favorite thing.. oooeeey gooeeey pumpkin innards but it’s worth it I guess!) but I love the no-carve ideas too. The ribbon is so pretty, and I also like the ones with puffy paint and paint markers.

    We have some foam stickers, so I think we’ll buy mini pumpkins like you did and let our daughter decorate, paint, glue, sticker ETC some of them 🙂

    • I’m not too crazy about cleaning the pumpkins out either. Last year we were lucky enough to go to a pumpkin carving event at a local art gallery where they pre-cleaned all the pumpkins…we just had to show up and carve. So much more fun!

  5. Lovely pumpkin! I got a pumpkin kit from Michael’s for 99c – and we transformed one of our pumpkins into a cat. It was not very child-friendly though, since pipecleaners needed to be stuck into the pumpkin. Not a chance my 5 year old could have done that on her own.

    • 99c! What a steal! I got sucked into JoAnne Fabrics yesterday where all the Halloween doo-dads were half off. So dangerous, and somehow I succumbed to my 3 year old who needed a scarecrow. Despite needing help from mom, I’m sure your 5 year old had a great time and built some wonderful memories.

  6. My little M is going to love these! She’s addicted to pumpkins right now but doesn’t like daddy cutting them up. I’m running to Michael’s right now to grab some materials…I think she’ll probably want to do the Mr. Potato Head though!

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