“Paint” mini pumpkins with colored Sharpies

Dawn's idea for a Halloween party activity:

I have been racking my brain to come up with a simple activity for a Halloween birthday party for my toddler. I really wanted the kids to paint mini pumpkins but did not want the mess. I found the perfect solution: COLORED SHARPIES! Just as fun but no messy paint to clean up!

This is a great idea, but, speaking for myself, colored Sharpies would have been a disaster when my son was a toddler. I didn't let him near markers until the end of preschool! On the other hand, my daughter has been using colored pens since she was two (that's the kind of kid she is). You know your kid's marker tendencies. Just be sure to cover the table, and consider smocks for the party guests so they don't go home with indelible pen marks on their clothes.

Related: Halloween hack: Let your toddler glue a face on the pumpkin

More: Easy Halloween tips


  1. Cathy says

    You should test this out before the unveiling with the little kids – sometimes marker doesn’t stick to slick surfaces. We tried it with washable pens when my 5 year old was little and had a lot of trouble getting it to stick.

    Poster paints or those paintbrush markers might be worth a try too.

    Or cutting out orange pumpkin shapes with triangles, teeth, eyes, etc. out of black or yellow paper (lit or dark jack-o-lanterns) and having the kids glue-stick them on in their own interesting designs.

  2. Sandy says

    If you do go with the Sharpies and it gets on clothing, you can use hairspray to get it out. Spray it on, let it dissolve the ink, rinse. You may have to do it a few times, but it usually works.

  3. none says

    Sharpies and toddlers? Really?? I have to say I don’t know a single toddler to whom I would feel comfortable giving a Sharpie. Maybe Crayola washable markers would be a better idea.

    By the way, rubbing alcohol gets Sharpie ink out of fabric too. Soak and blot with a paper towel over and over until it comes out. I know this because even my 6 year-old can’t be trusted with Sharpies!

  4. Mrs. CPA says

    Those foam stickers are really great for pumpkins. They probably even make them in pumpkin face shapes now. Hobby Lobby or Michaels should have some bags of them for a couple of dollars.

  5. Sunny says

    DD’s birthday is a few days before Halloween, so we’ve decorated pumpkins at her party for the past few years (she’ll be 5 this year!). I made stickers/face shapes on the computer and printed on sticker paper and cut them out. Also used pom-poms and other doo-dads with glue sticks. I STILL don’t let her use sharpies! :)

  6. Big GUM says

    Last year my (then) two-year old had a blast decorating a batch of those super mini pumpkins (I think they’re actually gourds). We did let him use a sharpie on a couple, but his fine motor skills are above-average for his age and he was supervised closely. What he liked best, however, was putting little stickers all over them. He had a bunch with little vehicles on them and he’d put them all over the pumpkin, peel them off, and then do it again! He also loved putting white glue on them and then dumping glitter all over (this was messy, but fun!).

  7. Erin from Graco says

    Great idea! I have some little pumpkins around my house, I am totally doing this! (I am not the cleanest painter and I am 24!!)

  8. Susan says

    I’m the PR manager for Sharpie and mom of three. I have more Sharpies around the house than kids, so have experienced first hand the perils of a Sharpie in the wrong hands. As many of you noted, supervision is key. Still, accidents happen, and when they do, use Amodex. Here’s a link which contains store info on where to buy http://www.amodexink.com/. Final tip: Make sure your pumpkins are clean and dry and Sharpie will stick like glue!

  9. says

    I didn’t let him near markers until the end of preschool! On the other hand, my daughter has been using colored pens since she was two (that’s the kind of kid she is).