Don't carve. Paint Your Pumpkin (and eat it too)

Don’t carve. Paint Your Pumpkin (and eat it too)

In our last post, we discussed the long term impact of everyday spending.  In the long run, living a better life involves making good decisions, one decision at a time.  So, let’s start with Halloween!

Halloween comes with a variety of expenses, and decorating is up there in the running.  Pumpkin carving is particularly popular for obvious reasons (read: pumpkins have great smiles). However, I would like to challenge you to try something different.  Don’t carve your pumpkin this year.  Paint it instead.  Top reasons to not carve a pumpkin include:

It’s dangerous. You’ll shoot your eye out.

It’s messy. I harken back to days where I, basically, wrapped my entire kitchen in scissored up trash bags and masking tape.  I was exhausted before I even got started.

Speaking of which, it’s exhausting.  Elbows deep, you dig the life out of the pumpkin.  Just when you think you can start carving you realize the pumpkin is too thick for your design.  You continue to excavate the inside until the thickness is just so.  Then you can finally carve.  Done.  Nope, now you have to clean.

Hollow pumpkins are easy to smash on the street. Especially those ones that you spent hours excavating to the correct thickness for your very thoughtful design.  Teenagers. Sigh.

They won’t make it to Halloween. Even if you coat the entire thing with a healthy helping of petroleum jelly (not a good look) carved pumpkins almost never make it through Halloween.  And then you have no decorations on Halloween night, which was kind of the point in the first place, no?

Bacteria. Ew.

So, now, let’s talk about an alternative.  You can paint your pumpkin instead!  Can a painted pumpkin be left unrefrigerated for weeks until you cut it open? Check. Safer activity for the kids?  Check.  Deprive your hands and elbows and hair and back of the knee (hey, how’d that get there) of pumpkin goo?  Check.  Fortified against random teen-on-pumpkin violence? Check. Stays beautiful (without growing a beautiful colony of bacteria) up to and passed Halloween? Check. Can later transform said pumpkin into soups and pies and lasagna (For serious, I don’t joke on these matters.)?  Check.

How to Paint a Pumpkin

Step 1: Get the pumpkin supplies.  You will need:

  • Pumpkin:  Rumor has it that smaller pumpkins are more delicious when roasted.  However, last year my friend offered me the pumpkin she used as a Thanksgiving centerpiece.  This vegan became a free-gan – I got 24 cups of free pumpkin filled with delicious pumpkin flavor out of the deal.
  • Non-Toxic Paint: Easy to find in any craft store or any kid craft kit you have lying around the house already.  I may or may not have used non-toxic fluorescent paint and lit pumpkins up with a black light display to impress the neighbors one Halloween.  It could have happened.  There may be witnesses.
  • Paint Brushes: Various sizes
  • Stencils: You can use the same stencils they use for carving pumpkins, and there are tons of free ones here.
  • Paper or Cardstock: For printing the stencils
  • Scissors: For cutting the stencils
  • Tape: Those stencils are kind of high strung
  • Possible embellishments: Glitter, yarn, raffia, googly eyes, random junk drawer stuff.  Whatever. Get creative.
  • Glue: If you are using embellishments

Step 2: Clean the pumpkin with a damp paper towel or baby wipe taking care to not get the stem or blossom (bottom of the pumpkin) wet.  Let it dry with a towel.  Paint it.  Put it out on the front porch and admire it lovingly through to Halloween.  It really is that easy.

Planning for the Great Pumpkin Roast

Some recommend using a sealer before you paint the pumpkin.  I don’t.  Even if it’s non-toxic there is just an ick factor there for me.  I will be eating this, remember.  Plus, it makes the pumpkin harder to clean once it comes time to cook. Speaking of cooking, stay tuned for a post-Halloween post on how to roast and freeze your pumpkin for optimal deliciousness.

Melody grew up in poverty, and she was homeless throughout most of her childhood. Even after the hard work of getting out of poverty was accomplished, she still lived in fear of the next bad thing that could happen. She knew that, without the security of a safety net, one misstep would mean certain disaster. It was not until this safety net was established that she truly felt liberated and free from the anxiety of living in poverty once again. She is now motivated to share this sense of freedom with all women.


  1. Tennille F. 4 years ago

    We have done pumpkins both ways, depending on my mood at the time. I love to watch my boys play with the pain and create their own art. I also love to watch them explore the pumpkin and the “goo” inside of it.

  2. Pamela 2 years ago

    Thanks, I’ve been wondering if you could eat pumpkins that had been painted because I hate to waste perfectly good food. We’ll play with the gooy guts when we puree the pumpkins 😀

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