Is it possible to successfully dye a pumpkin? I want to spice up this year's jack-o-lanterns.

Specifically, to have it have bright or bold colors?

I ask because I'm not sure if the glossiness of the shell would protect it from the dye. I'd prefer not to make a terrible mess to test it out, so I'm hoping someone has dyed pumpkins or gourds before. Also, I'd have no idea about how long I'd have to leave them in the dye. (I do have those mini pumpkins on hand to test before using full-size).

If it makes a difference, I could buy white pumpkins instead of orange.

If dyeing the shell is too much work/too hit or miss, then I'd be interested in applying dye with a brush to the portions I carve to be somewhat translucent.

  • 1
    Any particular reason you are looking to dye instead of paint?
    – Matt
    Oct 7, 2016 at 3:07
  • @Matt Because I think it'd look neat! Especially the carved parts, but I want the shell to match.
    – user24
    Oct 7, 2016 at 15:14
  • You can dye pumpkins but I'm not entirely sure of the process; however, have you seen melted crayon pumpkins? They provide very bright colors especially if you use a white pumpkin. Just put the crayons around the top and melt them so that they drip downward. Check it out on Pinterest! Oct 12, 2016 at 7:16

1 Answer 1


Well, yes you can... lots of people dip dye pumpkins using food coloring, though the outer skin of the pumpkin will not absorb the dyes as well as the flesh of the pumpkin. If you want to enhance the dye absorption on the surface, a very light sanding with a fine-grained sandpaper to lightly score the surface will probably help there. As you have the small ones to test, I'd test both scored and not to see how it works out.

  • In progress, not sanding did absolutely nothing. I sanded as much as I could, about 98%, and it's working, very well apparently.
    – user24
    Oct 8, 2016 at 23:53
  • Sanding worked. I also soaked it possibly too long. Good thing it was a test pumpkin.
    – user24
    Oct 20, 2016 at 7:00

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