One of our favorite parts of holidays are the traditions. When spring rolls around, the kids all look forward to hunting for Easter Eggs, and when the days are at their coldest and snowiest, we cozy up to Christmas trees to share gifts with our loved ones. In the middle of the spectacle of the Fall season, we have Halloween – a fall season staple for school-aged kids, full of some of the greatest DIY fun to be had!
Jack-O-Lantern Carving Fun
Carving pumpkins into jack-o-lanterns is easily the Halloween tradition that most of us remember from our childhood and it’s too much fun to pass up on now. It’s cheap, it’s creative, it’s easy, and it’s a great way for you and your kids to get excited for the Halloween fun that’s approaching.
As parents, though, many of us end up worrying about safety, messes, and keeping our kids focused long enough to have a pumpkin that we don’t end up having to finish. To take some of that worry off your plate, here are some of our best ideas to keep pumpkin carving fun and safe.
Pumpkin Carving How-To:
As the responsible adult in charge that is actually handling the sharpened blades, it’s a good idea to have a grasp on the basics before diving into a carving frenzy with the kids. Knowing a bit about your DIY craft will help you and your kids have great-looking pumpkins with more fun than frustration. Here are the basic steps, no matter your design or style:
- Wash your pumpkin. After you’ve chosen the perfect gourd for your carving masterpiece, you’ll want to wash it with soap and lukewarm water. Not only will this get rid of any dirt left from growing, but it’ll keep your jack-o-lantern looking fresher longer.
- Carve the opening. The traditionalists will opt for carving a “lid” in the top of the pumpkin, with the stem as a handle. Others might opt for carving out the bottom of the pumpkin for easier access to your candle or even to allow for a cord for a less flammable light source. Not just accessible, carving out the bottom will also help your pumpkin keep longer without collapsing in, a common Halloween complaint.
- Scoop and scrape out the insides. The inside of your pumpkin is filled with sticky pulp and seeds that you’ll need to scrape out. Use a big spoon or scraper to really dig into the insides and get all the guts out – though your kids might prefer to use their hands and to enjoy that slimy goop feel. However you get the messy and mushy insides out, and no matter how much time you and your kids take to play with the guts, you’ll be left with a pumpkin that you’re ready to get creative with.
Keeping Pumpkin Carving Kid-Friendly
Most parents love the idea of getting creative with carving pumpkins until it comes down to the presence of a blade and the big gourds that are notorious for being tricky to handle. Fortunately, there are tons of ways to enjoy carving pumpkins while keeping your kids safe and your stress levels low.
Start off with a pumpkin carving kit – they include safe, blunt, plastic tools that are much easier for little hands to maneuver. With the right – and safe – tools for the job, your kids can get their hands on their pumpkin and be in charge of their craft (with some supervision, of course). Simply lay down a garbage bag or newspaper for easy cleanup, pass out the tools, and get ready to get your hands dirty making this year’s pumpkin masterpiece!
Pumpkin Carving Ideas for Kids
There are tons of impressive designs decorating the internet every year, but your pumpkin carving can be as easy or difficult as you want. Here are some simple ideas to get your kids started:
Stencils: The internet is an amazing resource for stencils to use as a template for carving pumpkins. You can go simple with great grinning jack-o-lantern designs, or even find drawings from your child’s favorite movies or cartoons. Simply find the perfect stencil, print, trace, and carve!
Pumpkin Faces: This is a great way for your whole family to get in on the Halloween fun. If you’re making the mess to carve pumpkins, everyone might as well get a chance to make their own! Make it a game, where everyone carves the silliest face they can dream up (with adult assistance for the young ones, of course), and you’ll have a whole pumpkin family on display on your front steps for Halloween!
“Firefly” Pumpkins: To keep this activity kid-friendly for the children that might not be old enough for carving or drawing yet, you can help them to puncture holes in their pumpkin. Once you light your pumpkin, it’ll have a great “firefly” effect with dots of light.
Carving-Free Pumpkins for Kids: Pumpkins are the main ingredient for the seasonal fun here, but who says that you need all the mess and tools for carving to decorate? There are lots of kid-friendly decorations, like sequins, feathers, glitter glue, and stickers that can make the perfect design for the season without breaking out the kitchen knives.
Jack-o-lanterns are made for kids, so keeping it kid-friendly only makes sense! With the right tools in your belt, though, it can be a fun and exciting activity for all ages without the stress of safety. That way, your whole family can have fun together making new Halloween memories, all while making the most of our favorite fall tradition!