19 October 2007

Halloween hack: Let your toddler glue a face on the pumpkin

Amazon: Pumpkin carving toolsRebecca's got another jack-o'-lantern idea for the not-old-enough-to-carve set:

For my daughter who is almost two, we’re not carving pumpkins this year. I’m going to cut pieces of black construction paper out in various eye, nose and mouth shapes and let her glue them onto the little pumpkins we bought. They may not look just like normal jack-o-lanterns, but they should give the idea (besides, a nose floating above your eyes is a little scary looking, isn’t it?). Of course, we also bought one of those cheapie light-up jack-o-lanterns to put out for night time, too.

Those fake light-up pumpkins actually look pretty good from a distance. Every year we bring ours out and use it as mood lighting in the living room -- the kids love it. Then, on Halloween, we turn it around facing the window and let it peer out on all the trick-or-treaters.

I will also say this: the cheap little pumpkin carving sets you can pick up anywhere these days really do make pumpkin carving easier and safer, even for little ones.

More: Halloween hacks

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Markers work too.

We got a Mr. Potato head pumpkin kit at Target and it is so cute. It is really easy to do, and turned out really great.

http://www.buycostumes.com/Category/0/Product/21963/ProductDetail.aspx

We are letting our almost 3 year old paint our pumpkin. I am sure by the time she is done with the paint it won't really have a face. But she will have fun.

Last year my then-two-year-old son and I did a theme pumpkin for each member of the family... mine was covered in glitter and glued-on rhinestones. My husband's had nails hammered halfway into it -- this was a big hit. I just started the nails, and my son got to pound away with a toy hammer. His own was painted blue. Entirely blue. And my then-newborn's was covered in animal stickers.

We've been painting our pumpkins too! They end up very abstract, but definitely original. And the best part is that it's a never ending canvas. When she's done covering one in paint, if she isn't quite done painting we just wash it and start again.

Wow, and here I am just thinking we'll get out the black sharpie. I wonder if you could use Mr Potato Head pieces too

We made masks for the pumpkins. Then we decorated some with cut-out eyes, noses, etc. (some with felt, others with foam sheets). We also used pipe cleaners, paint, ribbon, and little pom-pons. When we do carve a couple of the pumpkins that we didn't decorate, we can add the masks, because that was something that dd (6) could do herself, while we have to do the carving.

Every year each of my kids draws a face on a pumpkin with a black marker, and their dad or I cut it out. We make adjustments as needed to make sure it doesn't fall apart (then rub out the extra marker lines) and my kids are thrilled by their creations. I've always thought they looked great. I like the traditional look of a carved pumpkin, and I love roasted pumpkin seeds.

We have a great family tradition that has really stood the test of time. We buy little pumpkins, not the tiny ones, but the ones tht cost about a dollar or two. Everyone picks one out and we sit at the dining room table and create our designs. We have had sports figures, abstract art, frightening images, etc. We always take a picture, either of the pumpkins or everyone holding them. I put the picts in frames or albums that only come out once a year. Its so fun to look at all the crazy things we have come up with over the years.

I was thinking that I would let my 2 year old use "fun foam" stickers to decorate her own pumpkin. Our local craft store was closing a few months ago and I bought a big tub of these stickers in various colors, shapes, and sizes for cheap (I think less than $5). She loves using them because they are easy for her to do herself...they are thicker for easy handling and the backing comes off with minimal effort. They have enough stick that she can put them on and take them off paper or other surface several times. I think she'll have fun and stay occupied for a while doing this while we carve a another pumpkin.

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