Design Holidays & Celebrations

9 Ways to Decorate with Pumpkins, Indoors and Out

When you see a grinning, gap-toothed pumpkin face, do you think, “Been there, done that”? If it feels like the jack-o’-lantern look is all played out, you’ll appreciate these unique ways to fall-ify your home with decorative gourds, no carving necessary.

We may earn revenue from the products available on this page and participate in affiliate programs. Learn More ›

Pretty, Plump Pumpkins, Indoors and Out

Jack-o’-lanterns used to be straightforward affairs: carve three triangles and a smile, plunk a candle inside, and call it a day. Then the fine art of carving increasingly detailed designs took our Octobers by storm. Have we reached peak pumpkin? Maybe it’s time to elevate these seasonal squashes from their traditional perch on the porch steps. Get your glue gun ready, ’cause it’s time to get pumped for pumpkin season.

Pour-Over Paint Pumpkin


This is about as simple as DIY decor can get, as well as a guaranteed good time for younger crafters. All you need is a pumpkin and some acrylic paint. (Well, a drop cloth or some newspapers would also come in handy.) Slowly drizzle the paint on the squash’s top, around the stem, so that it drips down the sides. Don’t be afraid to experiment with color combinations and pour speed to achieve one-of-a-kind results.

A Garland of Gourds


How cute are these tiny felt pumpkins and fall foliage? We love the autumnal palette and the rustic twine. This darling garland would look great draped over a fireplace mantel, twisted, vine-like, around a banister, or decorating a doorway. Available on

Light Up the Night

Another clever use for tiny pumpkins: tea light candle holders. Bore a hole in the gourd’s core (say that five times fast!) and remove the guts, just as you would with a jack-o’-lantern. Then tuck in a tea light or votive candle. A cluster of these makes for a charming centerpiece, or scatter them about the living room. For safety’s sake, it’s best to use a 1 1/2 inch drill bit, but you can also tackle it—carefully!—with a sharp paring or pumpkin carving knife.

Page-ing the Great Pumpkin


Upcycled crafts are fantastic, aren’t they? In addition to being clever and aesthetically appealing, they’re also keeping items out of our planet’s landfills. Tuck this beautiful book-page pumpkin on the shelf among your collection of mysteries, thrillers, and other spooky seasonal reads. (It would also serve as a perfect present for your book-club buddies.) Available on Etsy

Pumpkin as Planter

Bill Gracey

You can also press a pumpkin into service as a planter or vase. Prepare it as you would for carving. While you can fill it with soil (be sure to drill drainage holes in the bottom), it’s a lot less messy to place the entire plant, pot and all, right inside. For cut flowers, use floral frogs to hold the blooms in place.

Mums or other richly-toned fall flowers are a lovely, seasonal choice. Or stash succulents in your pumpkin for an easy-care, eye-catching display.

Faux Floral Gourd


For floral decor that won’t wilt, grab your hot glue gun and an assortment of dried flowers. Carpet the pumpkin’s surface with an abundance of blooms in all one color—dark-red dahlias, crimson roses, or cheerful orange chrysanthemums—for a striking, sophisticated effect. Another option? Choose a variety of hues to invoke a fall foliage feel.

Chenille Pumpkin Cushions


Autumnal palettes tend to be warm earth tones—olive greens, umbers and siennas, cinnamon shades, and golden yellows. Those are gorgeous, of course. But perhaps you’d like to explore decor that’s a departure. Start with these classy, cream-colored pumpkins crafted from oh-so-soft chenille. Nestled among a sofa’s throw pillows, they add a sophisticated, textured touch. Bonus: they’ll do double-duty as a huggable cushion if you need comfort while watching a horror flick. Available on


An Abundant Wreath


Let the Great Pumpkin know that your door’s open all season long with an autumnal wreath. In addition to adorable mini pumpkins, this one features beautifully hued fall foliage, pine cones, clusters of berries, and cheerful black-eyed Susans. Available on Etsy

Toot Your Horn

The cornucopia is another abiding motif of autumn. They’re easy and fun to put together. Purchase an inexpensive horn-shaped basket at a craft store like Michael’s, or fashion your own from branches, fabric, or felt (use a wire frame to stabilize it). Then fill with squashes, mini gourds, decorative berries, Indian corn, stalks of wheat, dried leaves, flowers, and pinecones. A cornucopia can also function as your fall fruit bowl if you load it up with apples, pears, and maybe some Concord grapes.