If you are planning a Halloween party for kids, you may be planning the traditional Jack-O-Lantern carving contest. But pumpkin decorating need not be boring and can include different decorating techniques other than just carving out a face. Here are some creative ideas.
Note: Regardless of the chosen technique, wash each pumpkin before the decorating begins
The Nuts and Bolts of Pumpkin Decorating
Would you like to eliminate the necessity of handling all those slimey stringy pumpkin guts? Then eliminate carving and decorate the pumpkins this year using those unneeded, metal items tucked away in the garage, tool box, jewelry box and kitchen junk drawer. In the center of the decorating area, place bowls of assorted hardware that can pierce the children’s pumpkin and let their imagination run wild.
Let the little ghouls and goblins make eyes, ears, noses and mouths out of screws, bolts, washers, screw eyes, nails, mollys, anchors, wingnuts,cup hooks springs, hinges, or washers. Or the kids can create abstract designs that circle their pumpkin with paper chips, chains, old earrings, upholstery tack or decorative nail heads. Every Jack-O-Lantern will be different, and their creation will be a funny and creative party pumpkin that they’ll be proud to take home to their family.
Lite Brite Jack-O-Lanterns
Kids love playing with Lite Brite Sets! Did you know you can use those little Lite Brite pegs to creat a glowing pumpkin?. This idea will involve carving the pumpkins, which is best done before the party. An assortment of colored lite brite pegs will be needed and there are kits that can be purchased which also include a pattern for the design. The kits are not necessary with a little pre-planning. Check the garage sales, Goodwill, Salvation Army and dollar stores first, and as a last resort sets of pegs can be purchased online. With adult supervision, a lighted votive candle can be added to the center of the finished Jack-O-Lantern which will create a colorful glow!
Decorate Pumpkins with Foam Cutouts or Colorful Paints
For smaller children, look for pumpkin decorating kits that come with foam cut-outs. The cut-outs are in various colors shaped like eyes, noses, eye brows, mouths, etc. with adhesive backing that sticks right to the skin of the pumpkin. Terry’s Village sells a kit that will decorate twelve pumpkins for $4.99. For kids a little older, give them acrylic paints, colorful markers or Sharpie pens to create a colorful Jack-O-Lantern face. Face patterns can be found online or the kids can create their own design, depending on their artistic nature.
Topping Off the Jack-O-Lantern
No matter what method of pumpkin decorating is used, don’t forget about that final touch, the top of the pumpkin! Yarn, raffia, bows, felt, ribbon and doll hats can be used to top off old Jack.
After the pumpkins have been decorated, hold a vote on the best pumpkin.and reward the winner with a Halloween Award. The rest of the kids will have their own decorated pumpkin as their consolidation prize, so everyone goes home a winner!
Related Halloween Reading and Resources:
Halloween Spook Central
Ten Healthy Trick or Treat Ideas
Spooky Spiders Halloween Craft Slide Show
Halloween Alien Project Slide Show
Halloween Pumpkin Patches in Arizona