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.
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)!
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 and no-mess!
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.
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:
bright circle stickers
a black sharpie and colorful pom-poms
white school glue and glitter
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:
gold paint and a black sharpie
gemstone sticker strips
black paint and silver foam balls
If you want to go all in and focus on Yayoi Kusama’s pumpkin art this month with your kids, I have a brand new video workshop that introduces this amazing artist, guides you through a discussion of her art, and then reveals so many exciting and interesting fun facts about her and her iconic pumpkin sculptures and installations.
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:
small pushpins (we found map pins at Target)
foam daubers dipped in gouache paint
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)…
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
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!