19 Kid-Friendly Pumpkin Carving Alternatives

If you (or your kids) aren’t that into pumpkin carving, check out these great pumpkin carving alternatives this year!

Does your pumpkin carving experience sound at all like ours? (Hint: This is exactly why we’re featuring pumpkin carving alternatives this year!)

Every year we attempt to carve a pumpkin for Halloween. 

Here’s how it always plays out: 

We go to the local pumpkin patch, dressed in fall-colored outfits, take a million photos, and buy a ridiculous number of pumpkins. 

Two days before Halloween, the kids choose one of those pumpkins to be our Jack-o-lantern and we get all excited and choose a design. 

Then we gather our pumpkin carving supplies, get out a giant trash bag, and put our pumpkin on the kitchen floor. The kids peer over my husband’s shoulder as he draws our design on the pumpkin. 

And then my husband starts to cut a hole around the stem of the pumpkin, we look up, and the kids are gone. We call them back. 

My husband and I start scooping out the gunk, and the kids complain about how disgusting the guts are. So they leave because they “can’t stand the smell.” 

My hubs and I carve the pumpkin, and the kids come to oooh and aaah when we put a battery-operated tea-light in it and turn out the lights. 

And that is it.

To be honest, I also think pumpkin guts are gross. So, while many people love pumpkin carving and are amazing at it – it’s just not our thing. 

If you feel the same way, you just want to mix it up a bit this year, or you want to have tons of cool decorated pumpkins to complement your super-cool Jack-o-lantern, keep on reading and check out these awesome pumpkin carving alternatives!

And the best part about these ideas is that your kids just might stay around to help! 

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19 No-carve pumpkin ideas for kids

1. Spider web pumpkins

To make a fun spider web on your pumpkin, you’ll need a pair of women’s Halloween spider web tights and a fabric ribbon.

spider web pumpkin carving alternative

Fit your pumpkin into one of the legs of the tights and then cut off all the excess fabric (make sure not to cut it too close – having a little extra is helpful).

Tie a bow around the stem and voila! Cute, festive pumpkin in the house!

2. Painted pumpkins

Painting a pumpkin is just as much fun (or more!) than carving one!

Before you bust out the paintbrushes and paints though, be sure to wash and dry your pumpkin thoroughly!

Also, be sure to use oil-based paint such as spray paint or oil paint (not watercolor or tempura as these won’t last).

There are so many great ideas out for painted pumpkins there. You can paint stripes, patterns, and more.

Or if your kids are really into a particular book or movie character, you could choose a fun non-traditional Halloween theme. Here are some of our favorites:

Harry Potter painted pumpkin
Minion pumpkins painted
painted Marvel pumpkins

You could also choose to paint a cute jack-o-lantern face or give your kids their own Jack-be-little pumpkins and let them go to town painting their own pumpkins!

painted pumpkin jack o lantern
kid painting pumpkin


3. Melted crayon

This melted crayon pumpkin from Mom Spark is an awesome, colorful, and super-easy pumpkin carving alternative!

melted crayon pumpkin carving alternative

You’ll need:

  • a white pumpkin (either real or fake)
  • bright colored crayons
  • hot glue
  • a hairdryer

As with all of these no-carve pumpkin ideas, you’ll want to start by washing and drying your pumpkin well.

Then completely unwrap your crayons, break them in half, and hot glue them in a sunburst shape onto the top of the pumpkin.

Next, be sure to have a drop cloth under your pumpkin because the next part can get messy!

Use your hair dryer on the highest heat setting and aim it at the crayons. They’ll quickly start to melt and drip down the sides of your pumpkin.

You can aim the hairdryer in different directions to get the crayon wax to flow down the pumpkin however you’d like!

4. Push pin designs

Another super kid-friendly no-carve pumpkin idea is to use pushpins to create a fun design!

pushpin pumpkins

We love both the white pumpkin with colorful pins from The Crafted Life and the traditional Boo pumpkin from This Sweet Happy Life!

And the best part is, all you need for these cute pumpkin carving alternatives are some pushpins!

Related article: 5 Fun and Free Printable Fall Scavenger Hunts for Kids

5. Googly eye pumpkin

This idea from She Wears Many Hats is perhaps the simplest and cutest pumpkin carving alternative idea ever.

googly eye no-carve pumpkin idea

All you need to do is hot glue some big googly eyes all over any shape or colored pumpkin and you’ve got a spooky little thing going on!

6. Duct tape pumpkin

A duct tape pumpkin may sound a little weird at first, but there are tons of fun, colorful duct tape options available that can make this project super festive!

We love the zebra stripe pumpkin and candy corn motif from Confessions of a Plate Addict!

duct tape pumpkins

All you need is a clean pumpkin and some duct tape!

Starting at the stem, stick the duct tape vertically on the pumpkin in strips all around the pumpkin.

Then go back and fill in any uncovered spots with shorter strips of tape.

Some of our favorite patterns of duct tape are:

rainbow tie-dye

colorful leopard print

black and white checkerboard

7. Teal pumpkin project

Have you heard about the Teal Pumpkin Project? It’s a really cool initiative to help kids with food allergies enjoy Halloween trick-or-treating too.

Placing a teal pumpkin outside your door means that you are providing non-food Halloween treats, such as glow sticks, tattoos, stickers, etc.

teal pumpking project

So grab a pumpkin, paint it teal, and let the neighborhood know that you’re on board with the Teal Pumpkin Project!

8. String art no-carve pumpkin

This string art pumpkin from Lines Across would be a great little family project!

string art pumpkin

You’ll need a hammer, a pencil, lots of little one-inch nails, and some embroidery thread.

Use a pencil to draw an outer shape (such as a circle or square) and an inner shape (like a heart, star, ghost, witch hat, etc.).

Then use a hammer to drive the nails into the pumpkin at equal intervals and to an equal depth. It’s also helpful to have the nails spaced farther apart on the outside shape and closer together on the inside shape.

Next, tie one end of your embroidery thread to a nail and trim the end as close as you can to the nail. For extra security, add a small dab of glue.

Then wind your thread in any direction you want until you’ve connected every nail to the design!

Finally, finish your string art pumpkin by tying another knot and securing it with one more dab of glue.

9. Pumpkin mummies

These fun pumpkin mummies from Sons R Us are so easy that they’d make a great Halloween party activity!

mummy pumpkin carving alternative

You only need a few supplies: medical gauze, googly eyes, black cardstock, and a glue gun.

Start by wrapping the gauze around your pumpkin a few times, keeping some parts of the pumpkin peeking through.

Then glue on two googly eyes and a cardstock mouth with the glue gun.

And that’s it! Mummy pumpkin is complete!

10. Spider pumpkins

If you want to add a little creepy cuteness to your front porch, this no-carve spider pumpkin from Here Comes the Girls will do the trick!

spider no-carve pumpkin

To make this big spider, you’ll need:

  • black spray paint
  • big googly eyes
  • long pieces of floral wire
  • black yarn

Start by painting a clean pumpkin all over with black spray paint.

While the paint is drying, you can create eight spider legs. Cut a long piece of wire and wrap it well with fluffy black yarn. (It’s okay if the wrapping isn’t perfectly even! This actually makes it look better!)

Then stick the wire into the pumpkin to make your first spider leg. You’ll repeat this process seven more times to make all eight legs.

Finally, when the paint is dry, hot glue two big googly eyes on your pumpkin and you’ll be all done!

Related article: 11 Awesome Halloween Minute-to-Win It Games for the Whole Family

11. Mr. and Mrs. Potato Head Pumpkins

Seriously, how much will your toddler love these Mr. and Mrs. Potato Head pumpkins from Let’s Explore?!

mr and mrs potato head pumpkins

Start with a clean pumpkin and your kids’ favorite Mr. and Mrs. Potato Head pieces.

You may have to use a small tack to get the holes started so your kid can put their pieces where he or she would like.

Once they’ve finished making a face, they can always keep rearranging the pieces for more fun!

12. Nail polish marble pumpkin

If you love a colorful, non-traditional Halloween palette, you’ll love these adorable marbled pumpkins from Color Made Happy!

marbled no-carve pumpkin

Using bright nail polish, these pumpkins take just a little more effort than the other no-carve pumpkins included in this article.

They’d be perfect for older kids and tweens to try though! For a full tutorial, go here.

13. Sharpie drawing/decorating

One of the easiest ways to create a no-carve pumpkin is to get out a black Sharpie marker or two and go to town!

sharpie pumpkin carving alternatives

Be sure to start with a clean and dry pumpkin.

You could write a message, use Halloween stencils or create patterns – the sky’s the limit!

14. Glitter and glam pumpkins

While these glamorous pumpkins from Hello Fashion Blog may look fancy, they’re actually really easy to make!

no-carve glitter pumpkins

You’ll only need a few supplies:

  • Mod Podge
  • foam brush
  • painter’s or masking tape
  • glitter

For this project, you’ll definitely need a well-covered surface, otherwise, the glitter will get everywhere!

Once you’ve cleaned and dried your pumpkin, place a solid piece of thick tape all the way around the circumference of your pumpkin.

Then using a big foam brush, spread the Modge Podge all over the bottom of your pumpkin, right up to the tape line.

Next, you can either dip your pumpkin into a big bucket of glitter or thoroughly sprinkle glitter over the entire Modge Podge area.

(Be sure to coat the glitter on thick because some will fall off over time.)

15. Washi tape no-carve pumpkins

These washi tape pumpkins from Made With Happy could not get any easier!

simple washi tape pumpkin

You can use a real white pumpkin or a fake one, but all you need is lots of colorful washi tape to make it really stand out!

16. Swarm of bats

We love this simple no-carve pumpkin alternative from No Biggie!

bats on a pumpkin

All you need is a big orange pumpkin, a bunch of 3D bats, and a hot glue gun.

17. Polka dot pumpkins

These cute polka dot pumpkins from Cloudy Day Gray are another fabulous colorful no-carve pumpkin alternative!

polka dot pumpkin

To create these adorable pumpkins, you’ll need:

  • Mod Podge
  • foam brush
  • tissue paper confetti

To begin, make sure your pumpkin is completely clean and dry.

Then using a wide foam brush, paint your pumpkin all over with Modge Podge.

While the Mod Podge is still wet, lightly sprinkle or toss the tissue paper confetti at your pumpkin. The direction you throw or drop your confetti will determine the overall look of your pumpkin. (Kids love this part!)

Once you have enough confetti on your pumpkin, you may need to gently press it down flat with your fingers.

Then apply one more coat of Mod Podge to secure everything in place. Let it dry completely and you’re all done!

18. Unicorn pumpkins

If you have a little one who loves unicorns, princesses, or fairy tales, this adorable unicorn pumpkin would be ideal for Halloween!

unicorn pumpkin

To create this simple unicorn pumpkin, you’ll need:

Once your pumpkin is washed and dried, start by hot gluing the unicorn horn near the pumpkin stem.

Then use the pink and white cardstock to make two pointy unicorn earns, and glue them in place.

Next, hot glue the silk flowers around the horn and the ears.

After the flowers are in place, glue the unicorn hair along the back of the pumpkin.

Finish off that gorgeous unicorn by drawing two closed eyes with long eyelashes!

19. Owl pumpkin

Instead of putting all the work into carving a pumpkin, why not use several different pumpkins to create a pumpkin animal?

owl pumpkin

This adorable idea comes from HGTV, and you can see their tutorial here!

Final thoughts about these pumpkin carving alternatives for kids:

With all of these great pumpkin carving alternatives, you might find yourself heading to the pumpkin patch and coming home with a ridiculous number of pumpkins too!

Be sure to pin the image below to come back to these kid-friendly no-carve Halloween pumpkin ideas!

pumpkin carving alternatives pin

Related articles about Halloween family fun:

Who Is the Switch Witch? + 3 More Ideas for Halloween Fun

What to Do With Leftover Halloween Candy – 9 Awesome Ideas

21 Best Family Halloween Costumes This Year

Which of these pumpkin carving alternatives is your favorite?

19 Kid-Friendly Pumpkin Carving Alternatives19 Kid-Friendly Pumpkin Carving Alternatives19 Kid-Friendly Pumpkin Carving Alternatives19 Kid-Friendly Pumpkin Carving Alternatives19 Kid-Friendly Pumpkin Carving Alternatives

Jen Bradley, the founder of Jen Bradley|MOMs

Hi there! I’m Jen and I’m so glad you’re here. I am a mom who believes that meaningful connections with our families can happen in small and simple ways. Read More …


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