How to Paint Your Pumpkins: 5 Cute Ideas for Halloween

Painting pumpkins is a fun alternative to carving jack o’lanterns, and the whole family can participate. You can skip the mess of carving, get longer lasting pumpkins and start a new tradition.

Try these five ideas to make your Halloween front porch adorable (or spooky!) all month long.

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5 Ways to Paint Your Pumpkins


  • Wet rag to clean the pumpkins (and wipe up any painting mistakes!)
  • Acrylic paint (I used Apple Barrel’s black and white paint)
  • Paintbrushes, including round foam for polka dots
  • Jar of water for cleaning brushes

What Kind of Paint Do You Use on Pumpkins?

I used matte acrylic paint for strong, solid color on the pumpkins. Acrylic paint is readily available at any craft store or online.

It’s a good idea to keep your painted pumpkins on a covered porch and out of the rain. If your pumpkins will get wet, you might want to use an outdoor paint, like Patio Paint.

Now let’s get started!

Retro Cat Painted Pumpkin

To paint a cat on your pumpkin, start by making a teardrop or bowling pin shape for the body. Add a football head and eyes, a curvy tail, triangle ears, and a rectangle collar.

Give it some mid-century style with white retro diamonds.

Cat, moon and stars painted on pumpkins for Halloween

Related: See my vintage Halloween decor guide

Spiderweb Pumpkin

For your spiderweb, make a big asterisk across the front of your pumpkin. Then connect the lines of the asterisk, curving the webbing in toward the center.

Spider and web painted on a pumpkin for Halloween

The spider gets an oval head and circular body with eight legs: two pairs reaching forward and two pairs reaching backward.

For that extra bit of realism, make sure the tips of the legs touch the web.

Owl Painted Pumpkin

I wasn’t sure if I could paint an owl, but it’s easier than I thought! First, make a crooked branch that the owl can perch on.

Then paint an oval that comes to two points for the head, followed by an oval or almond shape that comes to a point for the body.

Spooky owl and branch painted on a pumpkin

Add two pointy eyes, and two little triangles to make the talons on the branch.

Painting Tip: If you’re not sure how to paint something, try looking up a clip art example to find a simplified version as inspiration.

Moon and Stars Pumpkin

The crescent moon and stars made for the easiest painted pumpkin of the bunch. Paint a thick “C” or banana shape as your moon, and then add simple little asterisks as stars.

Adorable polka dot painted pumpkin for a Halloween front porch

Polka Dot Pumpkin

Now use your round foam brush to paint one color of polka dots all around a pumpkin. Once that color dries completely, add the next color of polka dots in random order, with some overlapping.

I noticed the foam can get overloaded with color causing drips, and it can be tricky to get the foam in the deep pumpkin ridges. So you can use your rag and other paintbrushes to touch up the dots as needed.

Painting pumpkins is a lot of fun, and the results can be as cute or creepy as you want. Happy Halloween!

How to paint your pumpkins - 5 ideas with black and white paint
5 cute and creepy ideas for painted pumpkins - spider, owl, cat, crescent moon and polka dots

4 thoughts on “How to Paint Your Pumpkins: 5 Cute Ideas for Halloween”

  1. This is a great alternative to carving pumpkins! (You are able to display them longer without them getting saggy and moldy.) I enjoyed the YouTube video. Awesome job on the “How To”! (You are so crafty!) I would be with Eric on the spider one..yikes!! Also love how you displayed them at your front door entrance! I think you are ready for the ghosts and goblins and fall/Halloween!! Another great H & H !!

    • Thanks, Judy! Our Octobers have been so warm these last several years, it seems like the carved pumpkins rot faster and faster every year. I figured it would be fun to try something different this year. And I had a great time coming up with designs and painting the pumpkins! 🙂


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