How to Make a Jack Skellington-Inspired Pumpkin for Halloween

This year marks the 25th anniversary of The Nightmare Before Christmas. Celebrate the animated classic by making your own no-carve, Jack Skellington-inspired pumpkin to greet trick-or-treaters.

Photo by: Rachael A. Jones

Rachael A. Jones

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What’s this? What’s this? The Nightmare Before Christmas turned 25 this year and in honor of the Halloween (and Christmas!) cult-classic, I’m decorating my home all season long with Halloweentown and Christmastown flair. For a pumpkin, I decided to make a jack-o'-lantern inspired by The Pumpkin King himself. I love Jack’s signature black suit with spooky pinstripes and his creepy bat bowtie. His character wouldn’t be the same without that suit so it was my inspiration for this pumpkin. You could also make a matching Sally pumpkin inspired by her patchwork rag dress.

When selecting a pumpkin for this craft, choose a tall one to emphasize the hyper-elongated way Tim Burton depicted Jack and other characters. I like working with faux pumpkins because they don’t rot and you can keep your project for many Halloweens to come. And, by using a black pumpkin, I didn’t have to paint a base layer. But, if you can’t find a black pumpkin at the craft store, just give it a couple coats of black chalk paint before diving into these steps.

Materials Needed:

  • black pumpkin (faux or a real pumpkin painted black)
  • pencil
  • paint brush
  • painter's tape
  • white paint
  • white oil-based paint pen
  • black craft foam sheet
  • hot glue gun and glue sticks
  • scissors

Sketch Pumpkin Design

Using a pencil, draw a blazer design on the pumpkin. I marked off a section for Jack’s white shirt, blazer lapels, single button and suit stripes. If you make a mistake, just erase and start over.

Photo by: Rachael A. Jones

Rachael A. Jones

Paint Pumpkin Design

Fill in the shirt area with white paint. Allow this section to dry before moving on to the suit outline to prevent any smudging. Since the pinstripes are so thin, I opted for a paint pen so the suit would have very thin lines. Don’t forget to fill in the circle in the middle for his suit button.

Photo by: Deanne Revel

Deanne Revel

Sketch Bat Pieces

While your painted pumpkin is drying, you can move on to the foam accessories. To make these pieces, I used sheets of black craft foam. Using a pencil, sketch a design for the wings and the bat head onto the foam.

Photo by: Rachael A. Jones

Rachael A. Jones

Cut Bat Pieces

Using scissors, cut out the shapes sketched onto the black foam. Cut a small hole in the middle of the wing piece so you can later slide it over your pumpkin stalk like a topper.

Photo by: Rachael A. Jones

Rachael A. Jones

Sketch and Paint Bat Pieces

Using a pencil, sketch white marks onto the bat wings. These lines are thin and similar to the suit pinstripes. Next, sketch eyes onto the bat head. Go over the pencil markings with a white paint pen just like the suit stripes. Again, go slow and allow sections to dry to prevent smudging.

Attach Bat Pieces

Once your bat pieces are dry, it’s time to glue them onto your pumpkin. First, slide the pumpkin stalk through the wing hole and let the wings set on top like a hat. Then, using a hot glue gun, attach the foam pieces to the top of the pumpkin, attaching the bat wings first, then layer the bat head on top of the wings.

Photo by: Deanne Revel

Deanne Revel

Display Pumpkin

Set out your new creation for trick-or-treaters. After Halloween, add a “Santy Claus” hat for Christmas!

Photo by: Rachael A. Jones

Rachael A. Jones

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