Pumpkin carving is one of my favorite Halloween traditions, but it's not the most kid-friendly project, nor is it without effort and mess.
Time to hack the Jack O'lantern.
Parent Hacks readers are a practical bunch, and together we've come up eight ways to simplify Halloween pumpkin decorating. Perfect for kids of all ages and their very tired parents.
Tips for carving pumpkins
1. Choose a small pumpkin. If you're into big pumpkins, choose one that's squat.
So much easier to scoop seeds out of a small and/or short pumpkin.
2. Cut the hole in the bottom of the pumpkin.
Easier to place the candle when the carving is done.
3. Scoop out the pumpkin seeds with an ice cream scoop.
The best scoopers have angular edges. I'm an OXO Good Grips ice cream scoop fan, myself.
4. Sketch the carving lines with a dry erase marker.
Amy's genius tip:
We use a dry eraser marker to sketch out the face of the pumpkin. After everything is cut out, a wet paper towel wipes away all the marker and no lines show on the face.
Tips for no-carve Jack O'Lanterns
5. Glue a face onto a pumpkin.
I cut pieces of black construction paper into eye, nose and mouth shapes and let my toddler glue them onto little pumpkins. They may not look like normal jack-o-lanterns, but they give the idea (besides, a nose floating above your eyes is a little scary, isn’t it?).
6. Stick Mr. Potato Head parts into a pumpkin.
Photo credit: Guy via Flickr cc
7. Draw a face on a pumpkin.
Use a black Sharpie or washable markers. Paint works, too, if you don't mind the cleanup.
8. Buy a battery-operated pumpkin you can reuse every year.
No kidding! Fake pumpkins look great! Use one to back up your non-carved Jack O'lanterns. If you wait till the day after Halloween, you can buy them half-price.
If you've got more Jack-o-lantern simplifying tips, please share them in the comments!
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