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13 easy pumpkin carving and decorating ideas

We love a classic happy-faced, triangle-eyed pumpkin, but maybe you want to shake it up this year? Here are 13 ideas that look wicked. but are actually easy to pull-off. Only downside? Jealous neighbours.

13 easy pumpkin carving and decorating ideas

Monster mouth

Carve a big hole and clean out your pumpkin. Add fake nails as teeth by pushing them into the flesh (gnarly!). There are plenty of fake nails around this time of year, plus you can take them out, rinse and reuse them next year. Your monster may be scary, but at least she has excellent oral hygeine. Watch how to make this pumpkin here.

13 easy pumpkin carving and decorating ideasPhoto: Scott Simpson

Speedy drill pumpkin

A drill makes quick work of pumpkin carving, but also looks really impressive. Clean out the pumpkin first then start drilling. Try different size drill bits—we also used the bigger circle cutter attachments. Just make sure you clean your drill bit well before storing away. Watch how to make this pumpkin here.

13 easy pumpkin carving and decorating ideasPhoto: Scott Simpson

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Glowing puff paint gourd

Make your gourds shine with puffy glow-in-the-dark fabric paint. You can scribble designs or make little dot patterns—it’s so easy and highly addictive. Amp up the glow by shining a black light on your pumpkin. Far out! TIP: Brushing on glow-in-the-dark paint is too transparent and won’t give you a nice even finish, so save your money and stick to a puffy paint texture. Watch how to make this pumpkin here.

13 easy pumpkin carving and decorating ideasPhoto: Scott Simpson

Easy typography pumpkin

We all love those pinterest-worthy typography pumpkins, but you might be scared to attempt yourself. Here’s a sweet hack: Use big letter stickers. Stick on your words, repostioning as needed until you are happy with the design. Then trace around the letters with a pen. Remove the stickers and carve out your letters. Tricky tricky! Watch how to make this pumpkin here.

13 easy pumpkin carving and decorating ideasPhoto: Scott Simpson

No-carve toy pumpkin

Want something dead-simple, but still creative? Grab a creepy toy (dollar stores are great for this) and paint it black for a creepy graphic effect. Hot glue the toy to a pumpkin (real or fake). Done! It feels modern, but very festive and will look great on a lit-up porch. And it's very easy to make multiples of. 

13 easy pumpkin carving and decorating ideasPhoto: Jeff Carlson

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Incognito pumpkins

Want something a little lighter and funnier than the typical spooky genre of jacks. Try some funny faces using stuff you have around the house and maybe pick up some fake moustaches at the dollar store (or cut the staches out of felt). At the end of the night, you can just remove the sunglasses and wipe them clean. Looks like this security detail will keep an eye on your house. Watch how to make this pumpkin here.

13 easy pumpkin carving and decorating ideasPhoto: Scott Simpson

Painterly pumpkins

Painted pumpkins look great as a centrepiece, and are a fun, safe alternative for kids to decorate because no knives are required. Try using fake pumpkins that way you can trot them out year after year. Keep the designs simple, we just did little brush strokes all over—no special artistic talent required.

13 easy pumpkin carving and decorating ideasPhoto: Jeff Carlson

Dino diorama pumpkin

You cut the big hole, and the kids can do the rest. Clean out the guts and you have a great space to let your imagination run free. To make this dino-themed diorama, grab some moss and little plants (even carrot tops will do the trick), maybe some rocks and sticks. Then place in your toy dinosaurs. Add LED candles around the bushes and it will light up to reveal a prehistoric scene. Watch how to make this pumpkin here.

13 easy pumpkin carving and decorating ideasPhoto: Jeff Carlson

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Glowing letters

Here is a no-carve alternative to the typography carved pumpkin that still lights up. Use big letter stickers to trace a word or cute pun. Then paint in the letters with glow-in-the-dark craft podge. While it's wet, sprinkle glow-in-the-dark glitter and shake off theexcess. Let it dry and paint one more layer of podge. The thickness of the layers with the glitter will give you a great result—just shine a black light on it to help it really glow.

13 easy pumpkin carving and decorating ideasPhoto: Scott Simpson

Bat cave pumpkin

We used the same method as the dino diorama video but turned this one into a bat cave. We carved a more jagged shape for the cave. Line the bottom of your pumpkin with polyester stuffing or just stretch out some cotton balls. Make a fence out of popsicle sticks and paint it black. Cut bats out of black construction paper and hang them from the roof of the pumpkin with thread and a thumbtack. Finally, wrap a napkin around a lollipop (secure it with a tie) to make a spooky ghost. BOO!

13 easy pumpkin carving and decorating ideasPhoto: Jeff Carlson

Poison apple pumpkin

Here is another no-carve pumpkin that is quick to decorate. Paint your gourd a bright red and glue on a green paper leaf. 

13 easy pumpkin carving and decorating ideasPhoto: Roberto Caruso

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Crying baby

What’s more horrifying than a screaming baby? Cleaning out your pumpkin, carving out a sad crying face and topping it with a cute bow. Kidding—that's actually pretty fun. You can also try this on a white pumpkin for a departure from the standard orange variety.

13 easy pumpkin carving and decorating ideasPhoto: Jeff Carlson

Gothic Doily

Use inepensive doilies as paint stencils first, then paint them and glue them on for a chic gothic effect. Full instructions here.

13 easy pumpkin carving and decorating ideasPhoto: Roberto Caruso

Read more: 22 cute and easy halloween costumes for babies 13 Halloween crafts for kids 11 smashing no-carve pumpkins

This article was originally published on Sep 22, 2019

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