Pumpkin Decorating Ideas: How to Decorate With Pumpkins

With their distinctive shape and bright bursts of color, pumpkins roll out a warm fall welcome. Whether you incorporate them in a centerpiece or display them on their own, pumpkins are an essential part of fall decor.

Here are a few pumpkin decorating ideas to inspire your space.

How to Decorate With Real Pumpkins

Fake pumpkins are so similar to real ones in shape and size that your guests likely won’t be able to tell the difference. Yet, for some, decorating with pumpkins for fall isn’t the same without a real pumpkin (or several) in the mix.

One favorite item of pumpkin decor is a jack-o’-lantern. Why not add a playful air to the toothy grin on yours by tying a felt mask over the eyes? Friends and family will smile at this pumpkin in disguise, especially once a light flickers inside. (More on that below.)

If you’re especially artistic, you might etch a scene in your pumpkin instead of carving a face. When wondering how to decorate a porch with pumpkins, choose a spooky image that blends in with your Halloween decorating ideas, such as a ghost or the Headless Horseman, or opt for something that blends in with the rest of your outdoor fall decor. We like etching your house number or your family’s last initial in a pumpkin, adding a soft glow to the evening.

You can also use pumpkins as the base for a cluster of fall creatures, such as owls. Some designers mount small gourds to a larger pumpkin for the eyes and a stem for the beak. You also might outline the eyes by gluing on “feathers” of pumpkin seeds.

How Long Do Real Pumpkins Last as Decor?

A carved pumpkin never lasts as long as an uncarved one. That’s because whether you keep it indoors or out, carving a pumpkin invites the elements — and decay — to take hold. Experts say you have roughly three to five days after you carve a pumpkin before it gets moldy and soft. (If you live in a warmer climate, that might happen even faster.)

To keep a real pumpkin looking its best, experts say to purchase one with no bruises or blemishes within the week you intend to carve it. Once carved, protect your pumpkin from humidity by spritzing it inside and out with white vinegar; then, apply petroleum jelly or vegetable oil to the inside and exposed areas.

Most of all, use a battery-powered light inside. Real candles speed up the decaying process and can be a fire hazard around youngsters.

Pumpkin Display Arrangement Ideas

If you’re nervous about carving a pumpkin, no worries — there are plenty of other ways to decorate with pumpkins besides carving them!

One simple way to decorate with pumpkins for fall is to paint them. (Yes, you can paint a real pumpkin with nontoxic acrylic paint.) We’ve seen designers arrange a display of pumpkins in a rainbow of hues atop a mantle.

Select a color palette that fits with your decor, such as black and white, white and gold, or pastel pink and gold. Create a checkerboard, polka dot, or striped pattern on several pumpkins with this palette, or pick one shade as a background color and use the other for accents. We like black pumpkins dotted with white spiderwebs or a series of white pumpkins; each painted with a phase of the moon. Imagine that on a bookcase or console table!

We love mixing textures, styles, and materials. One designer painted a pumpkin black and created a white crescent moon shape on the side using baby’s breath and mums. Recreate this look by finding some attractive fake blooms, then using hot glue or thumbtacks to pin them in place.

Hollow out a pumpkin to use as a vase for fresh flowers at a festive dinner, or simply glue or pin artificial succulents and fall flowers to the top.

Like the casual, boho look? Give a pumpkin a boho touch by draping it in macrame, or tap paneling nails into a pattern on the surface and wind contrasting yarn around them as string art.

People Always Ask

How do you arrange a pumpkin display?

Let your creativity be your guide. Layer your front porch or walkway with an arrangement of pumpkins and fall flowers, evoking the abundance of the season. Keep the larger ones at the top, and nestle the smaller ones on lower steps for a cascading effect.

Mixing fake and real pumpkins keeps this budget-friendly and looking fresh and helps keep curious critters, such as squirrels, at bay.

You also might mingle small and large pumpkins on an entryway table or coffee table. Rest some on decorative trays and pillar candle holders for varying heights, or tuck them under hurricane glass or inside lanterns. Weave seasonal green garland throughout the display. Want a touch of sparkle? Choose a color palette for your pumpkins, such as cream, and paint just the stems copper.

What do you need for pumpkin decorating?

It depends on the project and your home decor. For instance, if you’re planning to paint, you might want stencils or painter’s tape for clean lines and shapes, as well as acrylic paints and brushes in several sizes. We’ve also seen designers use thumbtacks or rounded pushpins to create designs on painted pumpkins.

How do you attach things to pumpkins?

Again, this depends on the project. Hot glue can be fine for lightweight items, such as fake flowers, pumpkin seeds, ribbons, and other small embellishments. For objects with more heft, such as when mounting tiny pumpkins or gourds to a larger pumpkin, try a combination of hot glue and wooden or metal skewers for added stability.

Want more pumpkin decor ideas? Stop by the Ashley store near you for some seasonal inspiration and fresh looks to spark your creativity.