The 28 Best Painted Pumpkin Ideas From Our Editors

Photo: Mike Krautter

Once upon a fall day at our offices, a group of editors and staffers came together and hosted a pumpkin painting party—and the result is this colorful batch of pumpkins you'll find pictured here. Why not follow suit and do the same with your friends and family? It's a wonderful way to welcome autumn alongside your nearest and dearest. You'll also get the opportunity to express your creativity and put those artistic skills to good use.

Of course, you'll need to stock your pumpkin decorating kit before you get going. Start with a set of craft paint in a rainbow of colors; a decoupage medium, adhesive tape, gilding liquid, brushes, and stencils in any mix of patterns are also helpful. Glitter, pom-poms, foam figures (like a decorative spider), printable clip-art and templates, and other miscellaneous materials can be used to accent your pumpkin. All that's left is your imaginative ingenuity.

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Stained Glass Window Pumpkin

Mike Krautter

It's a jewel-toned, geometric masterpiece! Inspired by stained glass windows, this pretty pumpkin a number of shades, from magenta to teal.

To paint this pumpkin, use stenciling tape to cover an all-over overlapping pattern on its rounded surface. Paint inside each taped area with in contrasting colors, being careful not to cross over the lines. Let your paint dry, then slowly peel back the tape to reveal the fun pattern and orange lines underneath.

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Chalk-Painted Pumpkin

Mike Krautter

The chalk paint trend is ever strong, having inspired us to create a set of these elegant floral pumpkins. We love the combination of a matte chalk finish and these large stencil designs—and the final result brings an elevated touch to your fall décor.

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Glittered Pumpkins

There's no denying it—(almost) everything is better with glitter. We coated both of these pumpkins in a fine sprinkling of shimmer—gold and copper, respectively. One was polka-dotted while the other was crafted with the visual effect of dripping in luxury.

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Falling Leaves Pumpkin

Mike Krautter

Autumn-inspired silhouettes add simple charm. To paint this pumpkin, adhere leaf stencil to the surface and fill with white craft paint. Slowly, peel off the stencil and re-adhere it to a new spot on the pumpkin. Repeat this method until the pumpkin's entire rounded surface is covered in leaves.

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Spiderweb Pumpkin

Mike Krautter

Creepy, crawly, and ultra-cool: that's how we'd describe this matte black pumpkin. Some of the spookiest icons of Halloween are spiders and webs, which is why we wanted to create them in erasable liquid chalk.

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Chalkboard Menu Pumpkin

Mike Krautter

If you're a hostess like Martha, you're bound to throw at least one dinner party sometime this season. As for your décor? Turn your plain pumpkin into a chalkboard menu for guests. Because a coat of chalkboard paint turns the gourd into a writing surface, the sign can be written on, wiped clean, and written on again to cover every event from Halloween trick-or-treating to your Thanksgiving feast.

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Typography Pumpkin

Mike Krautter

We love the art of typography, and what better words to use than the wonderful, spooky phrases of Halloween? This pumpkin is dark and spooky—just how we like our Halloween celebrations.

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Abstract Expressionist Art Pumpkins

Mike Krautter

Abstract Expressionist artists—Pollock, Rothko, and Franz Kline—all use sophisticated designs. Similarly, the trio of pumpkins pictured here pay homage to their greatest works.

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The '80s Pumpkin

Mike Krautter

This totally rad pumpkin would fit right in with a Breakfast Club group costume circa the '80s. To paint this pumpkin, cover it in a few coats of white. Let dry, then add pops of geometric shapes in neon-bright colors.

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Weathered Vintage Pumpkin

Mike Krautter

If you like a rustic finish, this is the pumpkin for you. Inspired by vintage weathered furniture, this distressed result was achieved with a sheet of sandpaper; work it over any paint color to give it a roughened look.

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Herringbone Pumpkin

Mike Krautter

A classic menswear pattern, this herringbone design can be customized in any color combination of your choice. We chose a classic fall duo: a solid yellow surface and alternating dashes of black paint.

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Glamorous Spider Pumpkin

Mike Krautter

This glamorous pumpkin dons a blinged-out spider that's too chic to skew scary. To paint this pumpkin, coat the entire surface in a high-gloss black. Let dry, and then map out a spiderweb using adhesive gems. As the finishing touch, a faux spider can be painted, glittered, and given a pair of stick-on gem eyes.

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Skeleton Pumpkin

Mike Krautter

A skeleton with a devilish grin like this one is just the thing your front porch needs this Halloween. Kids will love coming up with their own spooky, silly, up-to-no-good expressions.

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Gilded Tile Pumpkin

Mike Krautter

It's a golden homage to gilded design. You can use tape to trace a checkered template and then fill in the squares with metallic gold—which will result in the allover pattern pictured here.

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Preppy Monogram Pumpkin

Mike Krautter

Channel your high school varsity days with this pink monogrammed design. To paint this pumpkin, cover it entirely in a color of your choice. Let dry, then apply an self-adhesive alphabet stencil to the front, paint within the lines, and slowly peel off. Top the stem with a generous sprinkling of glitter.

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Decoupage Dots Pumpkin

We're seeing spots—and loving it. Use a layering punch to cut out scalloped and regular circles from tissue paper. Apply a layer of decoupage medium to the pumpkin and place the circle cutouts onto the glued surface in an overlapping pattern; apply a second layer of decoupage medium over the tissue paper to seal it. While the medium is drying, paint the stem in white for a monochromatic effect.

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Optical Illusions Pumpkin

Mike Krautter

What's black and white with stripes and dots all over? This mind-boggling effect of a pumpkin. Start by pouncing circles on one side of the pumpkin (with the largest pouncer in the middle of each ridge). Pounce smaller circles as you go up and down each ridge of the pumpkin. While the dots are drying, tape the other half of the pumpkin to create uniform thin lines. Once that side is taped, use the pouncer to apply a thin coat of paint over the taped area. Carefully remove the tape to reveal your stripes.

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Cheshire Cat from "Alice in Wonderland" Pumpkin

Mike Krautter

Oh, that grin. It's unmistakably the Cheshire Cat from Alice in Wonderland. This modified take on a classic children's book character is painted on a pumpkin freehand style and the result is just purr-fect.

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Marbled Pumpkin

Mike Krautter

A modern, marbleized look is always in style. To recreate this gourd, coat the entire surface in white. After it dries, dip a craft sponge in gold paint and dab onto the pumpkin's painted surface to create an effortless marbling effect.

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Mossy Monster Pumpkin

Mike Krautter

Like a mossy monster, our creepy gourd would fit right into a haunted house setting. Start by painting the entire surface in mottled green-and-black craft paint. Let dry; then go over the bottom half with a sea sponge dipped in a thicker gray décor paint for that rotted, overgrown look.

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Elizabeth Taylor Pumpkin

Mike Krautter

It's a bejeweled design inspired by the White Diamonds icon Elizabeth Taylor. To paint this pumpkin, cut out images of sparkling gems and decoupage them onto the surface. Touch up the stem with liquid gilding.

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Day of the Dead Pumpkins

Mike Krautter

Dia de los Muertos, or Day of the Dead, is a Mexican holiday that occurs the day after Halloween—and these sugar-skull-themed designs were created in honor of it. Their look was inspired by a staffer's recent travels to San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, and their traditional Day of the Dead celebrations.

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Summer Citrus Pumpkin

Mike Krautter

If you're nostalgic for summer, craft a pumpkin that's anything but autumnal. These slices of citrus were painted freehand, but you could use a stencil as well.

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Dotted Pumpkin

Mike Krautter

Polka-dots and colors that pop make this pumpkin—a la artist Yayoi Kusama—a showstopper. To paint this pumpkin, use a combination of pouncers and detail brushes dipped in black craft paint to design a series of circles.

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Snack Time Pumpkin

Mike Krautter

Snack time, anyone? Cookies, doughnuts, pizza—they fit in well with all of the indulging of sweets and treats on Halloween night.

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The Globe Pumpkin

Mike Krautter

What a beautiful world—and what a beautiful pumpkin! This pumpkin takes on a worldly beauty. Use a map template to recreate this paint job (and either get creative with the color combinations or look to each country's flag!).

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Gilded Pumpkin

Mike Krautter

Beauty can be understated, as this pumpkin—coated in white and trimmed in rose gold—proves.

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Candy-Dispensing Pumpkin

Mike Krautter

Present goodies to trick-or-treaters in this creative candy-dispensing pumpkin. First, outline the shapes of the face you want to cut out with a pencil. Carefully cut into the pumpkin with the craft knife, following the shape of your outlined face.

Once you have the shapes cut out, coat the surface and inside with a layer of paint. Once the outer layer has dried, lightly sand the surface to reveal some of the lighter color beneath. Apply wax with a soft cloth to finish the pumpkin with a matte chalk finish.

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