Halloween painted pumpkins

Vamp it up! Instead of carving, give pumpkins a glam makeover with paint and glitter

Painted pumpkins
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Looking for fun painted pumpkin ideas for Halloween? These are some of the best ones we've seen this autumn so far, from simple glitter-dashed squashes to Harry Potter-inspired pumpkins. 

Painted pumpkins are one of the easiest Halloween crafts for kids to do before spooky season really starts. Not only will they be a delight in the window of your home for trick-or-treaters but they help everyone get into the seasonal spirit of celebrating Halloween and can even be used as part of a spooky Halloween game if you're having a party.

With only a couple of weeks to go until the big night, this is how to paint your own pumpkins - and some ideas to get the creative juices flowing.

How to paint your own pumpkins

You will need...

  • Pumpkins
  • Acrylic paints
  • Paint brush
  • Glitter
  • Masking Tape
  • Pencil

How to paint your own:

  • Paint the pumpkins in different patterns with bright acrylic paints. While the paint is still wet, sprinkle some glitter on top.
  • For a stripy pumpkin, stick strips of masking tape onto the side of the pumpkin, then paint the un-taped sections in black. Allow to dry, then remove the tape. Add fine brush strokes of blue and pink paint on the painted sections, and paint the stalk.
  • For a spotty pumpkin, first paint 3/4 of the pumpkin with 2 coats of white paint and leave to dry. Then take a pencil and dab the end in some pink paint, and stamp onto the white to create a spotty pattern.

Halloween painted pumpkin ideas

1. Simple painted pumpkin idea

Simple black pen painted pumpkin idea

Credit: Getty

This is a super basic painted pumpkin idea - all you need is a black Sharpie. It's one of the best ideas to go for if you've only got limited time on your hands to decorate your pumpkin before the evening or you've got limited supplies.

2. Animal pumpkins

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Whether it's your favourite animal or a furry friend at home, animals are super easy designs to put onto pumpkins. As well as a fox, you could make any orange animal very easily - from a tabby cat to a tiger. For animals of other colours, use different colour paints straight onto the pumpkin as the background then use a marker to complete the design.

3. Spider pumpkin

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Turn one spooky creature into another with this spider pumpkin idea. You'll need some large black pipe cleaners for the legs, black paint for the pumpkin and white paint for the big eyes. It's a super unique idea that's a great one if you're looking to do something a little different this Halloween.

4. Glitter pumpkin

Glitter painted pumpkin

Credit: Getty

While you won't need loads of paint for this, you'll certainly need plenty of glitter and glue. Start with your paint base then layer up with glue over the top of the paint once it's dried. Before the glue dries, pour plenty of glitter all over the top of the pumpkin then leave it to dry one more time.

5. Portrait pumpkins

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If you love classic Halloween movies, you'll love this painted Halloween pumpkin idea. It's certainly one for those with more of an artistic flair - and plenty of time.

6. Calligraphy pumpkin

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This DIY pumpkin idea is so cute and playful! You don't need loads of different coloured paints to complete the look, you'll just need two aesthetically-pleasing colours and a steady hand with a Sharpie.

7.  Gingham print pumpkin

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Gingham was one of the best and brightest looks of summer 2021 and we're bringing that look into autumn this year. It's a design that's equal parts simple and stylish. Go for one bold colour on a white painted pumpkin for ultimate impact.

8.  Monogrammed pumpkins

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Monogrammed pumpkins are a great way to welcome people into your home over the festive season. It also makes for a great activity to do with the family as you can pick the colours, design and shape of the pumpkin together.

9.  Neon pumpkin

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Much like the neon paint pumpkin design, this one just needs a couple of neon paints and some space - it's definitely not one you'll want to do indoors! Apply the neon however you want. We love this dripping look but a splatter also works just as well.

10. Flower pumpkin

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Any lover of bright colours will appreciate this bold pumpkin design. Level up the look by creating more than one of these flower pumpkins for ultimate #flowerpower on Halloween.

11. Doorstop pumpkin

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These colourful painted pumpkins give trick-or-treaters somewhere to head for. First, buy a number stencil of your house number to set to the pumpkin. Once in the position you want it, cover it in two coats of paint, waiting at least half an hour between coats so they have a good chance to dry. Then move the stencil and there you go!

12. Harry Potter pumpkin

Harry Potter is one of the most popular Halloween kids costumes every year - so why not bring turn the boy wizard into a pumpkin? You can use simple acrylic paints to make Harry's iconic glasses, scar and other features. If you're feeling truly adventurous, copy this design and turn a smaller vegetable into Hedwig.

13. Nightmare Before Christmas pumpkin

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Another Halloween classic, this pumpkin is inspired by Jack Skellington. The main character of the movie is the star of the show with his iconic skeletal white face and stitched mouth. 

14. Sweet pumpkin

If you’ve got a real sweet tooth then Halloween is undoubtedly your favourite holiday, with so many Halloween food ideas on offer in the supermarkets. Celebrate with this cute pumpkin design in the theme of donuts. All you need is some colourful paints and a steady hand. 

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15. Two tone pumpkin

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Don’t settle for one colour when you can have many! To create this unique design, get some simple masking tape, a foam brush and your favourite acrylic paint colours. This will help to create the striking two tone effect without smudges or overlaps. 

16. Funny pumpkin

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Turn your favourite funny quote or meme into a Halloween decoration with this entertaining idea. All you need is paint for the base of the pumpkin if you don’t want to leave it orange and a bold marker-style paint for the slogan. Be sure it’s big and bold so trick-or-treaters don’t miss it!

17. Dotty pumpkin 

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This dots pumpkin is equal parts unique and so simple. While this designer has gone for classic silver painted dots on a black background, you could also use a whole multitude of colours to create this fun painted pumpkins design. 

18. Autumnal pumpkin

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When we say it's spooky season, what we really mean is that it’s autumn. The leaves are turning brown and the days are getting colder. Celebrate the season with this autumnal-themed pumpkin design using bold brown, mustard yellow and green colours to resemble foliage at this time of year. 

19. Leaf print pumpkin 

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If you want an autumnal design that’s a little more inventive, go for this leaf print painted pumpkin design. This designer has gone for a cool blue colour but if that’s not quite right for you, you could go for a warm red or orange shade. 

20. Musical pumpkin 

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With the return of theatres and live shows this year, we’ve all been able to go back and see our favourite live musical shows. Celebrate that occasion with this great design! This creator has gone for the musical Wicked, a perfect pick with its traditionally spooky feel.

21.  Summer pumpkin

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Refusing to believe that autumn is here already? Look back to warmer weather with this cute painted pumpkin idea, featuring oranges and bees. Go one step further and spray the stalk of the pumpkin with gold for that truly bright and bold feeling. 

22. Winnie the Pooh pumpkin

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Want to create this loveable character from the famous children's book? All you need is some yellow and black paint. Create the ears using small pieces of cardboard, also painted yellow, and fix into the pumpkin by cutting small slices along the top.

23. Pokemon pumpkin

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Recreate your favourite Pokemon characters with this fun idea! While this creator has gone for Gengar, you could also use yellow, red and black paint to make your own Pikachu pumpkin. This idea works for any character that's round with large features, easily recognisable from wherever you keep your pumpkin.

24. Greeting pumpkin 

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This painted pumpkin design is so simple - but so effective. Paint your entire pumpkin white and with a very steady hand, carefully apply your greeting to trick-or-treaters. While we love this poetic approach, a basic ‘welcome’ message would also do the trick. 

25. Frankenstein pumpkin 

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Frankenstein is a classic Halloween monster so perfect for a painted pumpkin idea if you want to stick to the spooky tradition. A strong green, black and white paint is all you need to create this design. 

26. Vampire pumpkin

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In a similar fashion, try this cute vampire design. While a white-painted pair of fangs will turn any smiley face into dracula, to get this more unique younger vampire look you’ll need to do something a bit different. Make sure to pick a pumpkin that’s not too big and round out the facial features like the eyes, a smaller mouth and childlike fangs. 

Using the two ideas above, you could create a spooky family to represent your own! 

27. Movie night pumpkin 

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Halloween is for snuggling down on the sofa with a good film and a cup of hot chocolate. Bring that idea into your living room permanently with this unique movie night painted pumpkin - featuring popcorn, of course!

28. Sea life pumpkin 

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These tropical pumpkins will certainly remind you of sunnier climates! This designer has gone for octopus, turtle, flamingo and anchor designs to bring a real look of the sea to Halloween. 

29. Rainbow pumpkins

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Rainbow pumpkins are a colourful way to brighten up your doorstep. Whether you go for all colours on one pumpkin or one pumpkin for each colour of the rainbow is up to you. 

30. Crayon pumpkin

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This video shows you step-by-step how to make this fun pumpkin idea. It’s not strictly a painted pumpkin design as you won’t need any paints to pull this off but well worth trying it out if you’ve got some old Crayon ends lying around. 

Grace Walsh
Features Writer

Grace Walsh is a health and wellbeing writer, working across the subjects of family, relationships, and LGBT topics, as well as sleep and mental health. A digital journalist with over six years  experience as a writer and editor for UK publications, Grace is currently Health Editor for womanandhome.com and has also worked with Cosmopolitan, Red, The i Paper, GoodtoKnow, and more. After graduating from the University of Warwick, she started her career writing about the complexities of sex and relationships, before combining personal hobbies with professional and writing about fitness.