Costume parties, spooky decors, trick-or-treating, and candy hunts—Halloween will be different this year, but it can still be enjoyable with creative alternatives to traditional activities. Ready your sketchbook or journal and read on as our ZenART team prepared a list of safe and mindful painting ideas to celebrate this Halloween. Get set to paint, create, and have fun!
The Rise of the No-Carve Pumpkin
It’s pumpkin season! The concept of the no-carve pumpkin is on the rise and it’s something we like to creatively celebrate. This concept is easier to do, more fun for the family to work on, and safer as it doesn’t involve any carving tools.
Conceptually, the no-carve pumpkin means you have a wide range and types of ways to paint, colour and create together. Today, we are sharing some of our favourite pumpkin painting ideas and if you have your own no-carve projects please share with us on social media and we will happily reshare and celebrate what you are doing in this no-carve creative fun fest. Enjoy!
Why do we use pumpkins in the first place?
We go back to an old Irish myth. When immigrants moved to the U.S. in the 1800s they brought with them the tradition of carving jack-o’-lanterns. According to this myth, jack-o’-lantern is named after Stingy Jack, the man who tricked the devil numerous times in his lifetime. When Jack ultimately died, he was condemned to live on earth in his entire afterlife. He wasn’t welcome in heaven because of his bad ways and neither was the devil keen to let him into hell. To frighten away Jack’s soul, people in old Ireland started to carve fiendish faces on large turnips. Since pumpkins are in abundance and are native to the U.S, the immigrants started using pumpkins replacing other varieties.
Rainbow Color Blocking Pumpkins
Spread rainbows through your Halloween decor this year. To thank all the healthcare professionals who continuously work to save lives and take care of all patients despite the risks to their health, why not create these brightly color-blocked rainbow pumpkins?
Color Blocking is commonly used in the fashion and interior design world. In Fine Art’s more technical terms, color blocking is the process of selecting opposite colors from the color wheel and juxtaposing them to create complementary color patterns. One artist known to pioneer this color-blocking style is Piet Mondrian, a minimalist and key figure in the modern art movement.
Color blocking can be used in a multitude of things—in clothing combinations, abstract paintings, in collages, in costumes and even in your pumpkins this year! Painting with these rainbow colors will surely be an activity worth trying. To start, put away your carving tools and make sure that they’re safely stored. Now, thoroughly clean and dry the surface of the pumpkin as this will serve as your fresh canvas. You can either prime your pumpkin using white paint or you can directly color block on them. Once your pumpkins are ready, create the bold complementary palettes associated with the color blocking technique and have fun mix-and-matching.
Line Art Pumpkins
A more fine pumpkin painting idea is the classic line art. This will not just be front-door worthy but can also be used as an art object to decorate your sitting room. With the proper tools, there’s no limit to what you can paint with this project. To do this, make sure to clean and dry the surface of the pumpkin as if you’re preparing to prime a fresh canvas. Choose a solid color that will serve as a background for your pumpkin line art. To create precise and detailed lines, use a super fine brush like the ones in our ZenART Fine Line Miniature Brush Set.
Line is the foundation of drawing and is considered to be a hallmark of the arts along with the six other visual elements. Line Art comprises fine solid lines devoid of shading and gradients, usually in black, and either drawn or painted over a plain background—this highlights the lines themselves. A notable artist who used this technique is Leonardo Da Vinci whose monochromatic sketches and studies always depict detailed line art. Pablo Picasso is another artist known for the strong dark lines in his paintings, paired with vibrant exaggerated colors.
Painting on pumpkins using non-toxic paints is cost-effective, environmentally sustainable and brings out the artist in all of us. Also, pumpkins are food too. Once the festivities are over, perhaps turn those artful pumpkins into pumpkin gourmet?
Painting Halloween Masks
A long time ago, it is believed that ghosts walked the earth during Halloween. And so people started wearing masks after sundown to avoid being recognised by these ghosts. This is somehow similar to the Irish myth about Stingy Jack—spooky demonic faces were carved into large turnips and pumpkins every Halloween to ward off his wandering Earth-bound soul. This year, instead of costume masks with scary faces, how about we change things up?
Famous Portraits Masks
Over time, Halloween evolved from a scary holy day into a fun widely celebrated tradition. A day that’s full of festive activities like trick-or-treating, parties and costume planning. Now that we are to celebrate inside the safety of our homes with family or with a small group of friends, why not roleplay your favourite master artist for a day? You can be anyone—Leonardo Da Vinci, Van Gogh, Frida Kahlo, Salvador Dali, or Andy Warhol. You know what they say, when it’s Halloween, you can become anything or anyone you want to be. Use the right brushes to accurately render their portraits. Remember, there is no such thing as a one-size-fits-all artist’s brush, have what you need with a set like our Black Tulip Professional Brush Set.
Dia de los Muertos Masks
Face painting has always been a regular activity during Halloween, and we all know it takes some artists’ precise steady hands to limn designs directly on people’s faces. Popular choices are the Dia de Los Muertos skull patterns, a scarecrow and even the Joker. This year, let’s try to create something similar that we won’t have to wash off at the end of the day.
The Day of the Dead honours both life and death and is celebrated every 1st of November in Latin America and anywhere there’s a Latino population. Much like how we traditionally celebrate Halloween, Dia de Los Muertos is celebrated in Mexico with street parties, food, drinks and with colourful máscaras de calaveras or skull masks.
To paint these intricate details on your paper mask, just like our line art pumpkins, make sure to use a super fine brush like the ones in our ZenART Fine Line Miniature Brush Set. Let your imagination flow, the pattern options are endless.
Painting on a Journal
Mindful journaling is a good self-care habit. It encourages us to connect with our inner self, and switch off from the worrying negative news. It is a good practice as it aids in organising our thoughts, therefore, calming our minds. Regularly practising mindful journaling not only assists in retaining important information but also helps us become more focused on working towards our goals.
Artist and founder of The Creative Bones community Rachel Christopoulos (@rachelsshoppe.co) painted pumpkins for her journal as a reminder of the change of season. Rachel uses her ZenART Faux Leather-Bound Dotted Journal to plan out and do the studies of her paintings.
Halloween can also be a time to finally start the habit of journaling. HIATUS (@sumi_san), is a self-taught artist who regularly creates anime or cartoon-inspired art rendered beautifully in her ZenART sketchbook journal.
Painting on pumpkins, painting masks and finally starting that long overdue art journaling habit—Halloween can still be fun when we try to innovate and open ourselves to trying out new ways to create and celebrate.
Which one of these ideas are you excited to try? Have queries about our non-toxic paints, quality brushes and dotted journal? Don’t hesitate to reach out to us, we’d love to hear your thoughts. Take care and stay positive. Happy Halloween!
— MEET THE AUTHOR—
Ardak Kassenova is a London based contemporary artist, co-founder and creative director of ZenART Supplies. Her visual style—contemporary impressionism—share similar aesthetic qualities with those by the French Impressionists. After 20 years of a successful corporate career, becoming a mother to two wonderful girls, and with the continuous development of her practice by taking private lessons from the best artists she could find; Ardak decided it’s time to align her life with her true passion, Art. Driven by this passion and her corporate leadership background, she co-founded ZenART.
“My heart and soul were always with Art, and since my childhood as long as I remember myself, I was dreaming to be an artist. I was painting after work, when I had time, and teaching myself through the books, videos, visiting art galleries and museums. I’ve been very curious about different techniques and styles, and therefore accumulated knowledge and experience on a variety of mediums.”
Grannan, C., Britannica.com, Why do we carve pumpkins at Halloween – https://www.britannica.com/story/why-do-we-carve-pumpkins-at-halloween
Stewart, J. (2020) My Modern Met, Unwinding the Long History of Line Art – Unwinding the Long History of Line Art
Barnes, S. (2017) My Modern Met, How to Combine Drawing and Writing into Deeply Personal Art Journals – How to Combine Drawing and Writing into Deeply Personal Art Journals
ArtHistory.net, Face Painting – Face Painting
Hasbun, L., National Geographic, Dia De Los Muertos – https://www.nationalgeographic.org/media/dia-de-los-muertos/
History.com, Ancient Origins of Halloween – https://www.history.com/topics/halloween/history-of-halloween