Hand-Selected Recipes and Stories Straight to Your Inbox

painted pumpkins

Drew Hays/Unsplash

Painted pumpkins


A no mess, all fun guide to decorating pumpkins this season

Finally, it's the time of year where pumpkins and other assorted squash make their way into markets across the South. From heirloom to white to traditional, jack-o-lantern-ready orange, there is surely no loss of options when it comes to what to bring home and decorate. 

Pumpkin carving can, however, be an arduous process full of cutting and scrapping until the pumpkin is decorated to your liking. Thankfully, the days of hard work are over. Pumpkins are popping up all over with paint, glitter and other decorative accents that are not only festive, but also time saving. 

Here are some of our favorite pumpkin decorating styles that you can try now. 

Traditional pumpkin carving
Of course we have to start here. No matter the decor trend, something about displaying a carved pumpkin screams Halloween. Whether you're a fan of scary faces or smiles, carving a pumpkin brings back memories of the trick-or-treating days of your own childhood. However, from scraping out all of the pulp and seeds to actually using a knife to carve, this process isn't for those looking for a quick and easy way to decorate. But, come Halloween night, adding a tealight to your pumpkin will add a festive element that cannot be beat. 

Painted pumpkins
This style of decorating literally only requires paint, a paint brunch and plastic bags (or tarp) to make sure you contain your mess. Whipping out a few tubes of paint allows for not only artistic expression, but ensures that your pumpkin will be the only one of its kind. The possibilities are endless! You can paint your pumpkin in any color you want and, not only that, you can break out a hot clue gun and attach capes, crowns, flowers and anything else your heart desires. 

Put 'em in jars
Pumpkins come in all shapes and sizes. For this project, you should purchase the really tiny pumpkins you see at grocery stores, farmers markets or your local pumpkin patch. From there all you have to do is place them in glass jars where they are on full, chic display. This incredibly easy decorating style not only ensures that this seasons most famous squash is center stage in your home, but also is absolutely no mess at all. 

Dreaming of a white pumpkin
A few years ago, white pumpkins were all the rage — and hard to find. Now they are readily available next to their orange cousins, so the questions becomes: how do you make white pumpkins cool again? Use metallic paint and glitter, of course. You can find metallic paint at any hardware or arts and crafts store near you. From here you can decide if you want to spray paint the whole thing or only paint the top or bottom. Once the paint is applied, sprinkle on the glitter in whatever color you choose. This process is a bit messier than the rest but you're left with a truly glamorous pumpkin. 
Pumpkin planters
If you are determined to carve a pumpkin this year, consider using it as a planter for the season's best and brightest. You can go crazy with this one, and you certainly don't have to keep your floral display small. Consider buying a larger pumpkin and planting mums, or other fall flowers, inside. These look equally good outside of your home or as part of a tablescape. 
A little of this and that
If you can't decide which decor theme you want to go with this year, don't chose! You can do a little bit of everything while keeping your decorations from looking too busy. It's totally possible to have a nice mix of mixed-and-matched squash, paint, glitter and whatever else you'd like. Too keep things from getting out of control, try mixing up smaller and larger pumpkins or keeping it all on the small side.

Photo (carved pumpkin with hat): Rawpixel/Unsplash
Photo (unicorn pumpkin): Melissa Johnson/Instagram
Photo (pumpkins in jars): Lydia/Instagram 
Photo (glitter pumpkins): Victoria's Vintage/Instagram 
Photo (pumpkin planters): Bloomed Roots/Instagram
Photo (assorted pumpkins): Justyna Cousins/Instagram

Author image

Ryan Shepard is the editor-in-chief at Southern Kitchen. Though originally from Los Angeles, she has lived in Atlanta since early 2017 and cannot imagine calling any other city home (except maybe New Orleans). Before joining Southern Kitchen's staff, Ryan worked on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. on public policy issues. When she's not at work, she enjoys hunting down the best Mexican food in the city and drinking whiskey, obviously.