Looking for some creative, inspired ideas to decorate pumpkins with your kids this fall?
I can’t really help you with that.
Sure, I wish I was one of those DIY craft blogs with beautiful photos and videos of my perfect pumpkins.
But I have come to realize that is just not going to happen for me.
I am a millennial parent, so I am therefore terrified that my kids will cut their fingers off while we attempt to carve a pumpkin…so for years I have investigated alternatives on Pinterest.
Several times over the years, I have managed to find a no carve option I liked, get excited, gather my supplies, and completely land on my face with an epic Pinterest fail.
It has been so bad that I have decided people need to know.
I hope to save just one parent from an epic pumpkin blunder in front of their kids.
3 Ways NOT to Decorate a Pumpkin with Kids
1. Crayon Pumpkin
This was my first no carve option. It sounded so easy and fun!
Wash the pumpkin, glue the crayons around the stem, let the glue dry, and then use the hair dryer to melt the crayons into beautiful fall swirls that cascade down your pumpkin.
Easy enough, right?
Here is my oldest (3 years old at the time), so excited to get started:
About one minute after this photo was taken, everything started to go south on me.
The hair dryer, no matter how low I put the setting, started sending melted pieces of crayon wax flying everywhere – on my chairs, floors, and counter (It took forever to chip all that wax off!).
I told my 3 year old to stand back!
As the crayon colors were melting, they combined into a yucky color that made the pumpkin look like it was bleeding maroon blood. That was not my intention. By far.
Sadly, my 3 year old was delighted and demanded we put this hideous pumpkin outside for everyone to see. For a month. Sigh.
If you do decide to go this route, definitely do it outside in your yard. Put down a bunch of trash bags and use a white pumpkin (will make the colors pop much better) if you can find one.
2. Washable Paint Pumpkin
I actually heard about this idea from a good friend and thought it was genius.
Everybody went to the pumpkin patch and picked out there pumpkin. We came home, broke out the paint, and told everyone to go crazy with whatever they wanted.
It was so fun…for awhile. When the colors dried, you could barely see them on an orange pumpkin, which really frustrated my girls. They put multiple coats on, but it didn’t help much.
When my kids did come up with something they kinda liked, they wanted to run and put the painted pumpkin outside. They wanted all the neighbors to see their hard work!
The thing is…washable paint will not survive a rain storm.
We came home from a day of errands to find our pumpkins clean and multicolored rain water pooled around them.
My kids were not happy, and I was so over pumpkins at that point.
If you decide to go this route, try to find a white pumpkin. The colors will probably dry much brighter.
You could also use a non washable paint…but if you trusted your kid with non washable paint, you probably wouldn’t need a no carve option.
3. Unicorn Pumpkin
The Unicorn Pumpkin Kit was actually a gift from my mom to the kids. It was so cute!
It came with these really easy pieces to stick onto a pumpkin and make it look like a unicorn.
Here is what my 4 year old made:
Pretty good, right?
Well, the thing is, it is really hard to keep anything stuck to a round surface. Especially a pumpkin that has so many grooves in it.
Pieces of the unicorn kept falling off, which upset my daughter and I went through a roll of tape trying to keep it all together.
I timidly put it outside like she wanted, but I was nervous a gust of wind would destroy the poor thing.
If you decide to go this route, do it the morning of Halloween and only expect it to last one night. That is your best chance.
The Only Way to Decorate a Pumpkin with Kids
By far the best pumpkin we have EVER had…is one that my oldest (then 7 years old) carved with a kit.
After all of these ridiculous shenanigans, I decided to just pick up a carving kit at the grocery store and roll the dice that all my kids would still have 10 fingers when it was over.
I was amazed at how easy it was to use and how fantastic the results were. The tools are well made and able to easily cut into a pumpkin – no butcher knife required!
The best part was that my daughter was so proud of what she could do herself!
The younger ones would be content to watch the transformation happen, or depending on age, help carve with close supervision.
No more pinterest fails for this family!
Pumpkins were meant to be carved and that is exactly what we will be doing this year as a family with an 8, 5, and 3 year old.
Leave a note in the comments of your favorite pumpkin traditions (or fails!).
I would love to hear about it and I’m sure others would too!