5 ideas for a perfect Halloween pumpkin

Nothing says Halloween like a pumpkin, and we’ve got some quick and easy ideas to make yours stand out from the crowd

Whatever other Halloween ideas you’ve got, you simply have to have a pumpkin. You and your kids can have lots of fun decorating it and giving it your own special touch. Our ideas are perfect for all ages and skill levels and you can choose whether you want a creepy creature or a silly ghost. Our five ideas mean there’s something to please everyone and make the perfect centrepiece for all your Halloween decorations.

1. Classic carved pumpkin

Turn your pumpkin into a candlelit beast. The typical pumpkin face features triangular eyes and a wide gap-toothed smile. Easy yet eerie, each one looks amazingly unique. After the features are cut, hollow out the insides and place a candle or battery-powered light inside to complete a warm and wild Halloween look.

For safety reasons, it’s probably best if you do the carving and let your child scoop out the messy insides.

2. Favourite Halloween characters

For a variation on traditional carving, there are lots of iconic images to choose from to transform a pumpkin into a scary look. Create a witch by turning the pumpkin on its side so the stem becomes her craggy nose. Poke out tiny eyes and cut out a wicked frown. Add a gumdrop wart on the chin and top it with a black pointy hat.

Your child might also be inspired by one of these possibilities:

• A skeleton’s skull
• A pirate with an eye patch
• A vampire with fangs
• A devil with horns
• Mythical monsters from dragons to zombies
• A crescent moon

3. Paint your pumpkin

If you don’t want to cut up and carve your pumpkin, there are many simple ways to decorate it with paint. Brush the whole pumpkin with a coat of black--or white--maybe a sickly shade of green or bright blood red. Let it dry overnight. The next day, draw on it with coloured ink Conjure a Halloween critter such as a black cat, a bat, a raven, or a spider in its web, or perhaps a crazy clown or a wild fairy -- ask your kids.

4. Decorate your pumpkin

Dress up your pumpkin in a 3-D look by applying items from your kitchen shelves or craft Box.

• Make a funny face from candy with peppermint swirl eyes, a marshmallow nose, a gummy worm mouth and add some toothpick teeth
• Wrap your pumpkin like a mummy in gauze with a painted face of scars and bloodshot eyeballs
• Add a beard, a fright wig of yarn, button eyes and wacky glasses
• Sprinkle with glitter when paint is still wet

5. Pumpkin stencils

Out of ideas? Need help carving or drawing an image? Choose one of dozens of templates available online to print or download a pattern for free. From fiery flames to tombstones to haunted houses, these designs will make your pumpkin glow.

Make sure you save the seeds. Clean the pumpkin pulp to separate seeds. Lightly salt and roast them for a healthy tasty treat.

Make sure the kids look as good as their pumpkin!

Check out our tips for Halloween face paint and Halloween costume ideas for kids.