Art History Inspired Halloween Pumpkins

Every year we decorate pumpkins for Halloween. We used to carve them, but – because we live in a warm climate – they would get moldy so quickly.

We started painting them a few years ago, and it’s been a lot of fun trying new techniques and ideas. We studied Yayoi Kusama a few months ago, and this month we are learning all about Georges Seurat, so I thought it might be fun to try out some dot themed pumpkins inspired by art history. We added Roy Lichtenstein into the mix because his art fits so perfectly with the dot theme, and he’s been a favorite artist in our house for a long time.

Halloween art history - dot themed pumpkins in the style of 3 different artists

Brainstorming all of the different materials and tools we could use to create dot pumpkins was a lot of fun! Our list consisted of everything from bingo markers (which didn’t work out so well) to glitter foam balls (which ended up looking amazing)!

Halloween art history - dot themed pumpkins in the style of 3 different artists

We decorated the pumpkins nine different ways– trying to use each artist for inspiration on three different pumpkins. The project took two full afternoons, and my kids had such a blast! Some of these activities would be better for older kids, and some are perfect for even the youngest artists! A few of them are even no-prep an no-mess!

Halloween art history - dot themed pumpkins in the style of 3 different artists

I’m excited for you to try these ideas out with your kids and see what they think.

I have a short artist guide introducing each of the three artists who inspired these fun pumpkin projects AND a full list of supplies and instructions in the Learning Library. When you sign up for Art History Kids newsletters, you’ll get a password you can use to access the guide, and print it out for reference.

Roy Lichtenstein

  Roy Lichtenstein,   Ohhh ... Alright .. .

Roy Lichtenstein, Ohhh ... Alright ...

First we worked on the Lichtenstein pumpkins. His Pop Art is bright and bold. It’s inspired by comic books, and pop culture. For the Lichtenstein pumpkins we used:

  1. bright circle stickers

  2. a black sharpie and colorful pom-poms

  3. white school glue and glitter

Halloween art history - dot themed pumpkins in the style of 3 different artists

Yayoi Kusama

 Yayoi Kusama,  All the Eternal Love I Have for the Pumpkins

Yayoi Kusama, All the Eternal Love I Have for the Pumpkins

The Yayoi Kusama pumpkins were a LOT of fun to think about. We really love her Infinity Mirrored Room installation, and we knew we wanted to capture that feeling on one of the pumpkins. She also has an installation of interesting shaped dot covered pumpkins. For the Kusama pumpkins we used:

  1. gold paint and a black sharpie

  2. gemstone sticker strips

  3. black paint and silver foam balls

Halloween art history - dot themed pumpkins in the style of 3 different artists

Georges Seurat

 Georges Seurat,  CIrcus Sideshow

Georges Seurat, CIrcus Sideshow

The Seurat inspired pumpkins may be less flashy, but they were just as much fun to create. For these pumpkins, we tried to think about the importance of color. This activity would be a great way to reinforce any color theory topics you’ve been studying. We used:

  1. small pushpins (we found map pins at Target)

  2. foam daubers dipped in gouache paint

  3. hot glue sticks in a variety of colors

We had so many other ideas that we couldn’t use this year, but we may come back to at a later time. Here are some of the best ones (in case you want to give them a go this fall)…

  • googley eyes

  • sequins

  • using wet paint on bubble wrap to print circles on pumpkins

  • making a stamp with a potato or a carrot

  • fingerpainting dots on a pumpkin

Halloween art history - dot themed pumpkins in the style of 3 different artists

If you can’t work with real pumpkins, try this paper variation: cut out a few flat pumpkin shapes from paper or cardstock and invite your kids to decorate with bingo markers. (We tried our bingo markers on a pumpkin, but they were too drippy. The process was really fun, though… and I thought it would be a really great activity to try out on paper!)

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If you try these out, I’d love to see them! Come join our phenomenal facebook group and share your photos. I can’t wait to connect with you there!

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