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Pumpkins are the quintessential decoration for Halloween and autumn in general, but carving them out to make a jack o’lantern is time-consuming, messy, and leave you with a rapidly rotting fruit on your front step. The great news is that you can have beautiful, elegant, and stylish pumpkins without ever cutting into one. This is a great alternative for pumpkins that don’t necessarily need to provide light. If they’ll be indoors, on a lighted front step, or mainly see during the day, people will be able to see their detail and won’t notice that they’re not illuminated. Plus, they won’t give off that pumpkin smell you can’t avoid with cut pumpkins. These ideas can all be used on faux pumpkins as well, so you can use the same one every year.
Who said pumpkins can’t be glamorous? There are plenty of ways to give the humble orb a glittery makeover. In one of the smartest pumpkin makeovers I’ve seen, Making Lemonade used little self-adhesive rhinestones from the scrapbook section of a craft store and applied them in the design in which they came to the pumpkin. The result is beautiful swirls of black rhinestones on a traditional pumpkin. You can also use the little rhinestones to make any design you please, including stripes, monograms, or Halloween-themed words. Because the adhesive was designed to stick to scrapbook paper and not a pumpkin, the stones may come off, but you can reattach them with a bit of craft glue.
Are those delicate stones not enough for you? Find some self-adhesive or glue-on jewels at the craft store, the kind a child would use to make a crown craft, and glue them all over your pumpkin. It will be the most bling that pumpkin has ever seen.
Still not enough sparkle? Cover the entire pumpkin (except for the stem) in Mod Podge and sprinkle glitter over it to make one very sparkly pumpkin. You may want to leave the base Mod Podge-free since no one will see it and it will allow you to sit your pumpkin on its bottom while the rest dries. Warning: no matter how careful you are, you will find glitter everywhere for months.
If you want something a bit more rustic, try gluing black buttons on or inserting black tacks into your pumpkin. Like the rhinestones, you can use them to make a design or spell out a spooky word. For décor that lasts, use the buttons to make the first letter of your last name and put it on your front step as a monogram until the pumpkin rots, the buttons fall off, or it becomes winter (whatever comes first). It won’t be Halloween for long, but your initial will probably stay the same after the holiday is over. Using a white pumpkin will make your monogrammed pumpkin even more chic come November.
Another lasting décor idea for your pumpkin is to create a leaf design that will stay relevant for all of autumn. Find some leaves (I recommend maple or oak for their distinct shapes) and use a spray adhesive to attach them, face-down, to your pumpkin. Spray paint the entire pumpkin black (or your choice of color), then remove the leaves to see the reverse stencil effect.
Creating a beautiful design can be as simple as using a thin-tipped Sharpie marker. Use the marker to draw a free-hand design on your pumpkin. If you need inspiration (there’s no shame in it; it’s hard to just draw on a blank pumpkin), look to filigrees or intricate mehndi designs.
If those delicate designs are too difficult but you still want an intricate pattern on your pumpkin, use a lace stocking. Pull the leg of a lace pattern stocking over the pumpkin, either with the toe over the stem so that you can hide the rest of the leg underneath the pumpkin, or with the toe on the bottom so that you can arrange the rest of the leg into a bow around the stem. If you remember to remove the stocking before the pumpkin turns completely to mush, you’ll be able to use it on another pumpkin next year.
If your pumpkin will be staying indoors, you can decoupage it. Start with a white pumpkin or spray paint your pumpkin white so the color won’t show through thin pages. Use Mod Podge to adhere banana-shaped strips of newspaper or the pages of an old, unwanted book, until your pumpkin is completely covered. You can also cut letters out scrapbook paper to spell out Halloween-themed words and glue them to the pumpkin. You may want to do this on a faux pumpkin so that you can use it again in years to come.
Need something easy and icky? Use hot glue to stick plastic bugs all over your pumpkin. It has the creepy effect of a rotting pumpkin without the smell, mess, or real bugs.
If you still want a little illumination, paint your pumpkin with glow-in-the-dark paint, make sure it gets light during the day, and set it out to glow at night.
If you don’t have time for any of that, just put a few pumpkins out in a group. Plain ol’ pumpkins are such a symbol of fall and Halloween that they need nothing done to them to be festive.
There you have it. You don’t have to pick up a knife for any of these. Each pumpkin is chic, easy, and nearly mess free, so give one a try for your Halloween décor.