How to Paint Faces on Pumpkins

    by Linda St.Cyr

    About the Author

    Linda St.Cyr is a published author and freelance Web writer. Samples of her work can be found at Demand Media, Examiner, Associated Content and Helium. Her short stories will be appearing in anthology collections including Elements of Time, Relationships: Good, Bad and Funny, and a Halloween anthology collection.


    Pumpkin-painting is a stress-free way to create Halloween jack-o'-lanterns. 'No carving' translates into no messy cleanup of gooey pumpkin innards. When you go the traditional route of carving your Halloween pumpkin, there's little room for error -- one slip of the carving knife and your mistake is immortalized forever, or at least until November. With painted pumpkins, however, you can mess up and try again simply by painting over the mistake, making this a better option for kids and families.

    Things You'll Need

    • Pumpkin (any size)
    • Paper towels
    • Newspaper
    • Pencil
    • Paper template
    • Nail
    • Acrylic paints
    • Paintbrushes
    • Acrylic clear coat

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    How to Paint Faces on Pumpkins

    Pick a pumpkin from a local farmer's market or orchard where you'll find pumpkins of various sizes for reasonable prices. Get the whole family involved in selecting their favorite sizes and shapes.

    Wash each pumpkin with warm water and a mild soap to remove dirt. This will help the paint adhere to the pumpkin. Pat the pumpkin dry with paper towels until all water is absorbed from the pumpkin's surface. Place the pumpkin on a newspaper-covered table or work area.

    Decide which expression you would like your pumpkin to have. Popular painted pumpkin faces include scarecrows, vampires, ghosts or the standard grinning jack-o'-lantern.

    Sketch the face on the pumpkin with a pencil. If you feel your drawing skills aren't up to this task, consider finding a pumpkin-face template that can easily be taped to the pumpkin and then outlined by punching holes with the tip of a nail. Write numbers on the completed pumpkin design and assign a paint color to each number as a guide for tiny artists. This will help kids paint the face on the pumpkin just like they would a paint-by-number canvas.

    Paint the pumpkin using acrylic paints. Start with the hair and work your way to the facial features. For big areas, use a wide paintbrush and for thin areas use a small paintbrush. Allow the paint adequate time to dry then take the pumpkin outside and spray it with acrylic clear coat. This will make the pumpkin shiny and help hold the paint in place so it does not crack or chip.

    • Embellish your pumpkin face by adding hay as hair, a straw hat and even a corncob pipe driven between his painted-on teeth.
    • An adult should spray the acrylic clear coat onto the pumpkin face after it has been painted. Also, artists should wear a smock or old shirt when painting the face on the pumpkin.