And much less messy.

As Halloween draws near, long afternoons are spent carving pumpkins into jack-o’-lanterns, monsters, and spooky scenes. But if you want to avoid the messy pumpkin guts or don’t want your children handling sharp knives, painting pumpkins is both easier and less messy than carving. Don’t let the idea of painting frighten you—you don’t need to be an artist to master these designs. Rather than freehand each style, let geometric makeup sponges stand in for block prints, or let leaves collected from the backyard serve as stencils. Little ones will enjoy ditching form entirely and flinging paint to create a Jackson Pollock-inspired pumpkin. Most of these projects can be done using the acrylic paint stored in your craft closet, while a couple call for paint pens that can be found at any crafts supply store. When you’re done stamping and splattering, display your works of art indoors, or spray them with a clear sealant before setting them out on the stoop. For a masterpiece that can be used for years, skip the trip to the pumpkin patch and paint faux pumpkins, such as Funkins, instead.

Supplies: For all of our painted pumpkins, we decorated Funkins in the styles Brookester, Maggie, Tiger Cub, Prince, Timmer, and Harvest Moon; from $12 each. 

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