Making a jack-o-lantern is a traditional Halloween craft that children of all ages look forward to every year. Many adults can get very creative with their carving but for children, the fun is in being able to create their own Halloween pumpkin.
Prepare your space for Halloween pumpkin carving by laying down some newspaper to cover the table that you will be carving the pumpkins on. Give each child a piece of paper and a marker. Tell them to draw the face that they want to create on their pumpkin. While the children are occupied with this chore, get your carving tools ready.
Along with a good knife to cut off the top of the pumpkin, a large mixing bowl or pot is necessary for holding the innards of the pumpkin. Many people roast the pumpkin seeds but if no one in your house likes to eat pumpkin seeds, you can just toss them in your backyard as a treat for birds and squirrels.
Many stores have carving tools for children. These are often difficult to use as they do not cut well, but if you start the cut with a regular, sharp knife, your child can finish the job with their safety knife. If you are carving pumpkins with several children, it is better to have more than one adult overseeing the process.
Once you are all set up for carving, you need to cut off the top of the pumpkin. Make a small circle around the stem. You need to make this cut on an angle so that the top will sit well.
Remove the top and allow each child to scoop out the insides. The best way to do this is with your bare hands. Some pumpkins will have a lot of seeds and some may not. Clean out the pumpkin as best as you can. Pay attention to the inside bottom of the pumpkin for where you are going to sit a candle. You need to have a flat surface for the candle to burn correctly.
Once the messy job of removing the seeds and pumpkin gunk is over, have the children wash and dry their hands. The next step is to use their pictures as a guide to roughly draw the face on the pumpkin. Look at your pumpkin and choose the better side to make the face of the pumpkin. Use a marker to draw the face on. Make sure to dry the pumpkin off first with a towel and use a permanent marker.
Depending on the age of the child, draw the face on the pumpkin. You can then begin the process of carving out your design. Making the first cut is always the hardest. If you are allowing your child to cut, use your knife to outline the cuts for them. They can then use their safety carving tools to cut out the eyes, nose and mouth.
Once your pumpkins have been turned into Jack-O-Lanterns, test them out by putting a lit candle inside and turning off the lights. Place the Jack-O-Lanterns on your front steps or if you are going to keep it inside, make sure to keep it away from heat so that it won’t start to rot too quickly.
Carving pumpkins is a Halloween craft that children love and is just part of the celebration of Halloween.