Now Introducing the Official Pumpkin Carving Alternative: Painted Designs (2024)

No pumpkin gut cleanup necessary.

By Annabel Iwegbue
Now Introducing the Official Pumpkin Carving Alternative: Painted Designs (1)

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Hot Girl Autumn participants, listen closely, as there's an essential activity update that must be acknowledged. One of the best parts of the season is the opportunity to flex those decor skills, but (and I'm speaking from personal experience here) you shouldn't have to whip out a full tool kit to join in on the whole front step pumpkin party. And to bear the responsibility of tracking down all of the stray pumpkin seeds strewn across your kitchen floor? It's a no. That's why we must thank the heavens that there's an alternative that's equally cute and festive, and it's pumpkin painting!

Pumpkin decorating is such a fun way to celebrate spooky szn and get those creative juices flowing. Plus, pair it with some candy and a bottle of wine, and you're getting the perfect Halloween group activity. When it comes to the items you'll need, different ~artistic visions~ require different materials, like chalk paint, acrylic paint, or a watercolor-based masterpiece. In any event, just add them all to your Amazon cart, or stock up with a quick trip to your local craft store.

But let me not get ahead of myself. If you're still in the pumpkin design concept phase, we're here to help. We've tracked down 38 absolutely adorable pumpkin painting ideas that'll add some real seasonal cheer to your space. Whether it be a tongue-in-cheek pun or a plaid pattern, these are the hottest pumpkin painting trends of 2023. Yeah, you heard it here first.

1

Calligraphy Name Pumpkin

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Sometimes you've gotta let the people know exactly who you are! To make that easier, a little branded pumpkin is such a cute idea. Using your initials or your fam's last name are fun options too. Plus, if you don't even feel like actually painting for this, you can order pre-made pumpkins!

2

Plaid Pattern Pumpkin

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I love the whole "New England prep school in the Fall" vibe here. Plus, adding that pop of color on the stem just tops it off perfectly. A lovely little addition to your fall decor collection.

Get the tutorial from The Craft Patch.

3

Abstract Pink Pumpkins

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Still dreaming about the Valentino pink wave from last year? This abstract design is hella eye-catching and will speak to all your pink dreams. Plus, the pre-mixed pouring paint makes this way easier to create than you'd expect.

Get the tutorial from Country Peony.

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4

Spiderweb Pumpkin

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Here's a super festive design, and no actual insects are involved—just some black paint and white cords. Ain't that a blessing?

Get the tutorial from Magia Mia.

5

Dark Floral Decal Pumpkin

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This look perfectly marries cutesy and spooky vibes. It kinda seems like it belongs on a Corpse Bride mood board.

Get the tutorial from Design Improvised.

6

White Floral Patterned Pumpkin

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No, forgoing a base coat is not lazy, it's simply a creative choice! And look at how well it pays off here with these floral patterns, which you can achieve with just a white paint pen.

Get the tutorial from Stone Gable.

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7

Spider Face Pumpkin

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Sometimes you need a pair of watchful eyes around, and this spooky spider design is just threatening enough to put on your porch.

Get the tutorial from Family Handyman.

8

Zig Zag Pumpkin

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Giving your pumpkin a geometric design can go a long way. Plus this one doesn't require too much artistic skill, so there's a plus!

Get the tutorial from Decoist.

9

Dip Dye Metallic Pumpkin

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Grab some metallic paint and lean into this two-toned gold and millennial pink concept! The results are super sophisticated, not gonna lie.

Get the tutorial from Family Handyman.

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10

Polka Dot Pumpkin

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She's simple as hell to make with just a few paint colors and circular stamps, and she's an absolutely delightful tabletop decoration. She is the polka dotted pumpkin.

11

Drip Paint Pumpkin

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The best part about this idea is that the less refined it is, the better. No stress if you don't know your way with a paintbrush, bc you're basically just dipping and dripping.

Get the tutorial from Family Handyman.

12

Hometown Pumpkin

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This area-code design is a great way to show your hometown some subtle love (a state decal will also do the trick). If you are into this idea but don't wanna pick up a state-shaped stencil, you can order pre-made state stickers for your pumpkin here, and then paint it your fave color.

Get the tutorial from Country Living.

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13

Movie Character Pumpkins

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Give your fave pop culture icons a wink with this idea. Halloween-y characters like the Sanderson sisters made with paint and paper seem like the obvious choice (somehow these look just like them?), but hey, go for whatever your heart desires.

Concept by Kellie Miller

14

Tropical Island Pumpkins

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Yes, you can still harness summertime island girl vibes in the middle of autumn. This white stenciled monstera leaf and brightly colored design says that's totally fine.

Get the tutorial from Sarah Hearts.

15

Neutral Chalk Paint Pumpkins

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Aesthetically pleasing pumpkins are within reach, ppl! Painting a whole bunch of mini ones with chalky finish craft paint and scattering them throughout your space creates such a cute fall vibe.

Get the tutorial from Purely Katie.

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16

Gold Lettered Pumpkin

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This shimmery pumpkin is juuust creepy enough. It comes together pretty easily too, with only a few materials like gold metallic and matte black paint!

Get the tutorial from The Craft Patch.

17

Pun-kins

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There's nothing more generous than providing all of your neighbors/visitors/onlooking pedestrians with a timely pun. "Creep it real." Honestly? Too good.

Get the tutorial from Studio DIY.

18

Lashed Up Pumpkin

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So sassy. Feel free to take creative liberties with the eye makeup (smokey eye very much welcome) and glittery pumpkin stem.

Get the tutorial from Hadley Court.

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19

Festive Fall Designed Pumpkin

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To the girls that yearn all year for the crunchy fall leaves, this one is for you. You can make it happen with four shades of autumn-y paint colors, some leaf stencils, and a good bit of commitment.

Get the tutorial from Plaid.

20

Pumpkin Tree

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New rule: Trees shouldn't be reserved for Christmas. I see no better way to usher in this trend than with this 3-tier pumpkin masterpiece. Just FYI that this one's for intermediate crafters.

Get the tutorial from Plaid.

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Annabel Iwegbue

Annabel Iwegbue is an assistant editor at Cosmopolitan where she primarily covers lifestyle and fashion. Before joining Cosmo, she covered entertainment at Harper's Bazaar, The Knockturnal, and Black Film. She's originally from Charleston, South Carolina, and is currently based in Brooklyn, New York. She holds a B.A. in Journalism and Cinema Studies from New York University. You can check out some of Annabel’s work here and also find her on Instagram and Twitter.

Now Introducing the Official Pumpkin Carving Alternative: Painted Designs (2024)
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