Halloween Pumpkin Decorating Ideas

Halloween is fast approaching, and if you're looking for some ideas for great pumpkin decorations, you've come to the right place! Read on for more information about how to decorate your Halloween pumpkin for maximum effect.

The Halloween Pumpkin Tradition

Halloween pumpkins are a part of the tradition of carved vegetable lanterns (also known as Jack-O-Lanterns) that is part of an ancient tradition that dates back to the Celts. However, pumpkins have only become popular as Halloween lanterns relatively recently – the original Jack-O-Lanterns were usually carved from harder vegetables such as swedes and turnips. It is thought that immigrants from Britain brought the tradition to the US, and pumpkins, being plentiful in the US, replaced the turnips and other vegetables that were traditionally used. Since that time, pumpkins have become very popular elsewhere in the world too, as they are much easier to carve than other vegetables, and they look great too, giving a wonderfully spooky orange glow when lit from within.

Decorating Your Pumpkin: 3 Basic Approaches

Pumpkin decorating techniques fall into three general categories: carving, painting and embellishment. Let's take a look at each of these in turn.

1. Pumpkin Carving

Pumpkin carving is a very popular pumpkin decoration method, and is the most common. Carved pumpkins are often made into lanterns, and the designs can range from a simple face to extremely elaborate images of Halloween motifs such as cats, bats, witches etc. Some carved pumpkins are truly works of art! The basic process for carving a pumpkin is simple, although it takes a bit of effort. If you wish to illuminate it with a candle, you'll need to cut off the top of the pumpkin, whereas you should cut off the bottom if you're going to use an electric light. Next, scrape out the flesh (this can be done with a small knife or specialist pumpkin carving tools). Then you draw your design onto the surface of the pumpkin, and cut around it with a small, sharp knife or carving tool. If the walls of your pumpkin are especially thick, you might want to pare the flesh back some more on the interior behind the area you'll be carving. You might also want to spray it with a preservative, to help it last longer. Your pumpkin is then ready to be lit up!

Pumpkin carving patterns can be as easy or complex as you like. You can design your own, or browse the net for both free and paid-for patterns – there's a wealth of inspiration available online, and you're sure to find a pattern that suits.

2. Pumpkin Painting

Pumpkin painting is an increasingly popular method of pumpkin decoration. It is much easier and less messy than pumpkin carving, and is safe for children too. The best news is that you don't have to be good at art to produce a beautiful painted pumpkin – it's possible to get great results with minimal skill if you follow a good guide. Pumpkin painting is a much more flexible decoration method than carving, and again, your design can be as simple or as elaborate as you like. You could mimic the traditional Jack-O-Lantern face of the carved pumpkin, or decorate your pumpkin with other Halloween-themed designs, such as cats, bats, spiders etc. Children love pumpkin painting too, as it's something they can do safely with minimal adult assistance.

Pumpkin painting materials are easy to find too – washable markers or acrylic craft paints work well, and the only other thing you'll need is a sealant spray to protect your design, and some brushes and newspaper (to protect your surfaces). You might also wish to add some extra embellishments to your painted pumpkin, such as raffia hair, a hat etc.

Check out Easy Pumpkin Painting for a complete illustrated step-by-step guide to creating gorgeous painted Halloween pumpkins – no artistic skills needed!

3. Pumpkin Embellishment

Thirdly, you can decorate your pumpkin with embellishments, such as sequins, glitter, ribbons, colourful pins, fabric scraps, strings of beads etc. You can either decorate your pumpkin purely with embellishments of this type, or you can add them to a pumpkin that you've already painted or carved, to spice it up a bit further. You imagination is really the limit here, but just be careful not to use flammable materials if you're using your pumpkin as a lantern too.

Make use of any or all of these pumpkin decorating ideas, and you'll have a fantastic looking pumpkin that will make a great centrepiece for your Halloween celebrations!

Click here to learn more about easy pumpkin painting methods!

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