If it’s warm in your neck of the woods, these alternatives to a carved pumpkin are better able to withstand the heat.
Credit: Photo: Kelly Sillaste / Getty

It’s been unseasonably warm in many parts of the country, which is bad news for an essential fall joy: a jack-o’-lantern on your doorstep. Hollowing pumpkins make them rot faster, and the summer-like heat we’re dealing with isn’t doing your carefully carved creation any favors. Here are some alternatives to the Halloween tradition that preserves the fun of doorstep decoration but help stall the sad day you have to mop soggy pumpkin mush from your porch.

Paint your pumpkin

By not hollowing out the gourd, your pumpkin will be able to stick around for much longer than a traditionally carved one— and there’s no restriction on imagination or creativity here, either. You can even use glow-in-the-dark paint to make sure your doorstep still has that after-hours spooky glow. Another bonus to this no-carve strategy: It’s way easier and safer for younger kids to help in the decorating when no sharp utensils are involved.

Purchase a decoration piece

While these are a little bit more of a monetary investment than a traditional pumpkin grabbed from a bin at the grocery store, they’ll also live through multiple autumns, unlike your pumpkin patch friends. These chic doorstep stunners are a low-hassle way to get into the spirit without the mess of carving or painting. Just place them outside, light a candle or two, and you’re set for the season, no clean-up or set-up required.

Dress it up

Dress up your front-step pumpkin the same way you and your little ones don costumes for Halloween. A witch hat, a scarf, and some googly eyes—you’ve got all of the fun of a spooky character to entertain the trick-or-treaters, but the cleanup hassle is at a minimum. You may not even have to purchase any new dress-up material: Raiding your own or your kids closet for kooky outfit combos may be enough to get the creative juices flowing.

Keep ‘em bare

If you’re looking to go fall festive, but without the explicitly Halloween theme, purchasing small decorative gourds (which can be hardier than the fleshy, large, orange ones that are so familiar to us) may become your seasonal favorite to get through these unseasonably warm weeks. With so many varieties of colors, shapes, and textures, you may want to grab a few to try to cook for a fall dinner, too.