Seasonally inspired things to Make, Learn & Do.


Decorating squash for Autumn and Halloween

decorating squash for autumn

I have always been really terrible at carving pumpkins, I really don't like the sticky mess and I find that they decompose really quickly.

Now that my daughters are past the guising stage I decorate for autumn rather than specifically for Halloween and have taken to decorating pumpkins and squash with permanent pens.

I like to have my hands occupied while listening and I've found that this is something that can be done a few minutes at a time, while talking on the phone or listening to podcasts or even watching tv.

How to decorate a squash or pumpkin.

You need -

  • A firm squash or pumpkin - the white ones are particularly effective.
  • Permanent pens - I used Sakura pens, as that is what I happen to have about, but all permanent ink pens seem to work - you need a fine liner pen and a thicker pen for filling in. I found that the 0.5 mm Sakura pigma micron and the brush pen from the same range worked well together.

How to decorate.

  • Start at the top or bottom (partly because if you don't finish the whole squash it will look deliberate) - draw the outlines of flowers using the fine pen.
  • Draw the circle for the centre first and then put in the petals. Draw another flower but arrange it so that some of the petals are partly hidden by your first flower. This is what will make it look naturalistic.
  • Do a few at a time, then fill in the centres with tiny circles and, if you like, draw a line from the centre up through each petal on some of the flowers (to about 2/3 of the way up the petal).
  • Add in a few leaves at the edge of some flowers.
  • Fill in the gaps between the flowers with the thicker pen - take this slowly as sometimes it is difficult to tell what is gap and what is petal and it is much easier to fill in a gap later than to remove the ink from a petal.
  • If you make a mistake you can carefully rub it out with white spirit on a cotton bud.
  • It is probably best to decorate your squash or pumpkin over a few sessions - once the ink is dry it doesn't smudge but that may take a couple of hours.
  • I plan to make a few of these and put them with candles, autumn leaves and cones on the windowsill - a cosy autumnal theme.
  • Then, when I'm tired of that, I shall roast the squash with sage and parmesan.

I would love to see your designs - you can email photos of them to

decorating quash with permanent pen

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