Here is the Kidoinfo guide of ideas and resources for carving or decorating a great pumpkin this year. No matter what age your kids are, they can participate in some way – from picking out a pumpkin to drawing the face on the jack-o-lantern.
1. Tools: When I was young, we carved our pumpkin with a serrated knife. Now you can find a range of inexpensive pre-packed carving tools that really work—and are probably much safer than a kitchen knife. They are widely available at most stores that carry Halloween decorations, including CVS, Michaels, Target, and Stop-n-Shop.
2. Draw your own Jack-o-Lantern face or download cool free templates from Ehow.
3. Simulate what your pumpkin will look like before carving it.
4. When carving our pumpkin, we cut a hole from the bottom of the pumpkin instead of the top, thanks to this great tip from a friend. Using this method, you can even out a lopsided pumpkin by how you angle the hole and you can put a votive flat on the table with the Jack-o-Lantern placed over the votive. Learn more carving tips and tricks from the Pumpkin Masters.
5. Pumpkin preservation techniques from the Pumpkin Masters:
• To have your pumpkin look its best, carve 2 to 3 days before Halloween. Although you may want to carve it earlier if you like when the face starts to shrivel a bit – spooky!
• Rub petroleum jelly on the cut edges of your carving to prevent your pumpkin from drying out.
• Spray your pumpkin with water, cover it with plastic wrap, and store it in the refrigerator whenever it’s not on display. This helps prevent premature decomposition.
• Soak or spray the pumpkin with water mixed with a little bit of bleach. This will extend the life of your carved pumpkin by warding off mold and killing insects.
More Pumpkin Ideas
• Easy for little Kids
Little kids can paint their own pumpkins (big or small) with washable poster paints and brushes. Make sure you spread the table with newspapers first. This can be a great project to distract kids while you are using a knife to carve the Jack-o-Lantern.
• Cinderella’s Coach (pictured above)
My son found a picture of a golden coach in the Halloween Pumpkins & Parties: 101 Spooktacular Ideas book by Better Homes and Garden last year and was obsessed with replicating it. Our finished coach does not quite look like the one in the book, but we had fun figuring out how to assemble our coach with supplies from around the house – paint, ribbon, paper plates, foam board, thumbtacks, and toothpicks. Once the coach was done, my son and I drew a road on a large piece of poster board. Then he rounded up his toys to complete the scene.
• Martha Stewart Style
Make Spooky Silhouette Designs or Translucent Pumpkins
• Play With Your Pumpkins by Joost Elffers, Saxton Freymann, Johannes Van Damm
This book will teach you to look at your pumpkin with new eyes. Which way is up?