Brings out the worst in all of us.


Pumpkins are a classic way to celebrate fall. They greet guests with a warm welcome when displayed on the front porch, make a rustic statement when arranged in a fall centerpiece, and spark a playful conversation when dolled up in their Halloween best. Actually carving pumpkins, however, is an activity that is vastly overrated. There are tons of no-carve pumpkin ideas that are just as family-friendly and exciting for your Saturday afternoon that won't cause chaos in the kitchen. So, if your fall plans involve cutting into some pumpkins – hear us out before you pick up your orange-and-black carving set.

A carved pumpkin only lasts 1-2 weeks.

When you carve a pumpkin, you're introducing air into the fruit. If a Jack-O-Lantern has plenty of air circulation – i.e., large eye-holes and a wide, toothy grin – your pumpkin will probably last about 10-14 days before the mold begins to grow. If you don't have circulation in your carved pumpkins, mold can begin to grow in about a week. On the other hand, a healthy, whole pumpkin can last anywhere from 8-10 weeks on your front porch. So, you can keep up your festive décor about 8 times as long.

Someone inevitably gets a little nick.

Pumpkin carving tools have improved greatly through the years, but – at the end of the day – they're still sharp, knife-like objects that aren't very kid friendly. If you opt for a no-carve approach, like a painted pumpkin, it'll be much safer to get the little ones involved.

Pumpkin goo all over your arms and under your fingernails is the worst feeling.

If you've ever had a sliver of pumpkin flesh go under your nail, this reason will be plenty for you. Pumpkin goo is sticky and has a tendency of getting absolutely everywhere – including your clothes. It's a pain to clean up soggy pumpkin chunks and wet newspaper. No, thanks!

Someone always gets guilted into roasting 10 cups of pumpkin seeds.

There's nothing like an annual pumpkin carving party to make a host feel guilty for throwing all of the pumpkins' innards in the trashcan. So, we end up with fifteen different recipes for spiced pumpkin seeds that take hours of cleaning, drying, toasting, and flavoring. Does anyone really even like pumpkin seeds with the shells on?

It never turns out how you hope it will.

We always have such high hopes for our carved pumpkins. My family prints out photos of what we'd like our pumpkins to look like – sometimes even templates – and, without fail, our Jack-O-Lanterns have crooked smiles and uneven lines. One great thing about trying a no-carve pumpkin? If you mess up, you can just paint over your errors.

So, what's the better option? Dig around in your craft closet for some acrylic paint and paintbrushes. Try a design with spots, stripes, or funny faces with stencils. You can even use props to doll up your pumpkin, like colored card stock, crepe paper, thumbtacks. Your finished product will look great, last longer, and make a colorful statement at your front door.

Pumpkin seeds not included.