As many of you know, I am just not a crafty, DIY kind of mom. But as I’ve been talking about on the site recently, this Halloween I’m trying to resist the temptation to beeline into one of the party mega-stores and smack down money on costumes, decorations and the like. I’m trying to do a bit better this year, to encourage my kids to use what they have and think outside the box. This year is all about fun Halloween activities for kids we can do right at home, and as a family!
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So this year chez moi it’s either last year’s costumes or home costumes, our own haunted house… and here’s something more. What’s Halloween without a Halloween Jack-o’-Lantern? That’s why next weekend I am taking the plunge: homemade, fun jack-o’-lanterns with faces my kiddies have devised themselves. This will be a great way for the kids to get creative and have something to display in the house leading up to the big day!
Let’s be clear, this is something we barely do every year and many years we’ve skipped it all together. The whole pumpkin has sat there untouched — couldn’t get to it and just didn’t have the mental energy or, to be honest, the time. I think there was even a year when we didn’t buy a pumpkin (yikes!).
But since Marielle is nearing two and I feel I’m coming up for air a bit, I think this year it’s time to try. I’m looking for an EASY pumpkin-carving experience, so I’ve come up with a basic plan for carving creative pumpkins with the kids and getting them to talk about the whole thing in a way that gets their imaginations rolling. Here it is:
- Ask the kids what kind of jack-o’-lantern they want to make: happy, sad, spooky, mad, funny, wise. Chat it out and make them realize that no two need be alike and they can devise their own from their own little brains.
- Then, have them draw a few facial shapes– circles, triangles, squares, stars, moons, mouths with big teeth, wacky ears — on paper that they then cut out (make sure they’re not too small)! These shapes will act as a pumpkin carving template for Mommy!
- Have them TAPE the shapes onto the pumpkin where they want them and then mommy can do the carving (my kids are too young to use a huge knife, and the only police in my house this Halloween will be costumed trick-or-treaters!) They don’t even have to have a traditional face, guys, there could be ears on the back of the head, or two noses — think Picasso, right?
- Don’t toss the remnants. I’ll be popping up a quickie recipe later this week for roasting pumpkin seeds and using the pumpkin for baby food…promise it won’t be too tricky!
- Next, light the inside of their pumpkin with a candle, or, to be on the safe side, a battery-operated light… then, have a nice little conversation about what kind of personality their pumpkin has and why. Where’s he or she from? What does he or she like to do? And what are his or her hopes and dreams (we all have to have dreams, right?).
So that’s my plan. I’m feeling less intimidated and as if this is more doable. I’m thinking we can pop these “Jacks and Jills” outside our door for the trick-or-treaters to see, and that this gives my kids a sense of pride in their work!
If you end up carving these jack-o’-lanterns with your kiddies, send me a pic! And if you decide not to do them, remind yourself that you don’t need to carve pumpkins, make costumes or decorate the house — to be a good mom.
Have a “spook”-tacular Halloween!