Age-by-Age Guide to Pumpkin Decorating

Whether your kids are little or big, advanced makers or novices, let them use their gourd and take the lead on these pumpkin crafts. 

Pumpkin decorating is a favorite Halloween activity, but it’s no fun for kids to sit by and watch a parent do all of the dirty work! Whether your kids are little or big, advanced makers or novices, we've put together an age-by-age guide to what they can do for the following pumpkin projects. (Adjust as necessary, of course!)

  • 2–3 AND UP
  • 4 AND UP 
    Scooping, drawing
  • 5 AND UP 
    Cutting out numbers, swirling nail polish, dipping pumpkins
  • 6 AND UP 
    Placing toothpicks, using melon baller
  • 8 AND UP 
    Apple coring, hammering
  • 10 AND UP 
    Zesting, drilling  (with supervision)


Pumpkin Decorating Marquee Michael Piazza

What You'll Need: Scooper, contact paper, paint, apple corer, battery-operated light

What To Do:

1. Cut a hole in the bottom of the pumpkin. Scoop out the guts.

2. Draw and cut large numbers from contact paper. Press onto a clean, dry pumpkin.

3. Paint the pumpkin; let dry.

4. Remove contact paper. Use an apple corer to make holes in the number. Place the pumpkin over the light and display.

Marble Pumpkins

Pumpkin Decorating Marble Pumpkins Michael Piazza

What You'll Need: Empty, clean quart-size yogurt container or small bucket, nail polish in multiple colors, toothpick or skewer, mini white pumpkins, drill and 4-inch skewer (optional), nail-polish remover, cotton swab

What To Do:

1. Fill the container with room temperature water.

2. Working quickly, add a few drops of nail polish to the water. Add additional colors, and quickly swirl the polish with a toothpick or skewer. Dip the top of the pumpkin slowly into the water. (You can drill a hole in the center of the bottom and insert a 4-inch skewer to hold as you dip the pumpkin if needed.) Shake off water, and set bottom-side-down to dry.

3. Clean up any drips or mistakes with nail-polish remover and a cotton swab. 

Tip: The marbling effect is easiest to achieve with room temperature water!


Pumpkin Decorating Squashbots Michael Piazza

What You'll Need: Metallic spray paint, butternut squash, nuts, bolts, washers, and/or saw tooth picture hangers, acrylic craft paint, drill or hammer, hot glue

What To Do:

1. Paint the squash with metallic spray paint and let dry completely.

2. Paint hardware pieces with acrylic paint and let dry completely.

3. Add hardware by poking with a drill or pounding with a hammer. Hot-glue other parts onto the squashes as desired. 


Pumpkin Decorating Galaxy Michael Piazza

What You'll Need: Scooper, black, dark-blue, purple, light-blue, and white acrylic craft paint, sponge (cut into 1-inchwide strips), toothbrush, White Sharpie Oil-Based Paint Marker, drill and ⅜-inch bit, battery-operated light

What To Do:

1. Cut hole in the bottom of the pumpkin and scoop out the guts.

2. Paint the pumpkin black.

3. Use a sponge to add dark blue acrylic paint first, then purple, then light-blue, allowing each layer to dry between coats.

4. Flick a toothbrush dipped in white acrylic paint onto the pumpkin surface to make the “galaxies.”

5. Draw constellations on the pumpkin with a white paint marker, with dotted lines between the major stars.

6. Drill the holes for stars. Place over light to display.


Pumpkin Decorating Hedgehog Michael Piazza

What You'll Need: Oblong pumpkins, thumbtacks, toothpicks

What To Do:

1. Place the pumpkin on its side and use 2 thumbtacks to make the eyes above the stem.

2. Starting at the back, add a row of toothpicks. Add 4 to 5 more rows to finish.

Tip: The kids may need to take breaks during toothpick placing—it requires some patience!

Pom-Pom Pumpkin

Pumpkin Decorating Pom-Pom Pumpkin Michael Piazza

What You'll Need: Pumpkin, spray paint, melon baller, toothpick

What To Do:

1. Paint the pumpkin; let dry.

2. Use the melon baller to make holes. Turn each melon ball around, smooth side facing out, and insert into the hole. (If the balls start to shrink as they dry out over time, secure in place with a toothpick.) Wipe away any sticky parts if necessary.

Scraped House

Pumpkin Decorating Scraped House Michael Piazza

What You'll Need: Black spray paint, lemon zester with channel-knife, Goo Gone

What To Do:

1. Paint the pumpkin and let dry completely. Lightly sketch the design on the surface with a pencil.

2. Use the channel zester to scrape away the design. Use the lemon zester to make grass or crosshatching designs. Use Goo Gone to remove any extra pencil lines.