Gardens

Decorate Your Pumpkins Without Scaring the Kids

Halloween-pumpkins-SIZED-608.jpg
Halloween-pumpkins-SIZED-608.jpg

Halloween Jack-o-lanterns are traditionally carved with a scary face or for the more skilled carvers Halloween cats or witches. However, some younger children can be frightened by the scary images and if the kids are scared, Halloween isn't fun for anyone. Fortunately with a little "outside the box" thinking there are ways to decorate or carve a pumpkin so it doesn't end up being scary. Plus, you can still end up with the best looking Halloween pumpkin on the street. Here's some ideas on how to decorate your Halloween pumpkin while making sure no one gets frightened.


Get the Kids Involved

Many craft stores sell safe pumpkin carving utensils. Children can use decorating tools like scrapers without much risk of hurting themselves, and they can always be involved by pushing in pumpkin pieces after you've done any actual cutting.


Paint the Pumpkin

A painted and decorated pumpkin can look great on the doorstep and painting is a safe way to get the young ones involved in the fun. Start by giving the pumpkin a couple of coats of light colored latex paint. After it has dried, paint on anything you like, such as a funny face or a cobweb drawn with a very thin brush. Position a small spotlight or flashlight to shine on your pumpkin and make it easy to see.


Paste on an Image


Download graphics from the Internet if you're not confident of your artistic talent. Print and paste the image on your pumpkin to give it a professional appearance. Or you can create a cameo or silhouette of your children. Besides being able to get graphics on line, there are websites where you can upload a picture and they'll return a traditional silhouette you can use as a template for your pumpkin carving.

Just tape the silhouette onto your pumpkin and trace the outline as well as an oval surrounding the picture onto the shell. Use a pumpkin scraper to carefully scrape away the pumpkin skin inside the outline. Put a battery powered candle or flashlight inside to make the silhouette stand out.


Make a Practical Pumpkin

Buy three or four different sized pumpkins. Stack one on top of another and create a glowing address marker. After cleaning the inside the pumpkins, print out your address in large sized numbers then tape one number onto each pumpkin. Use a marker to trace the outline of the numbers then cut them out.


On Halloween, place battery operated candles that mimic the look of a candle rather than real ones inside each pumpkin and to give your home a glowing address marker for that special evening.


Consider Something Totally Different

Clean the inside of a pumpkin and drill a number of different sized holes at least ½-inch apart (to maintain the integrity of the shell). You can simply create a random pattern of different sized holes, or if you have a more creative bent, let your imagination go wild and use the holes to form a pattern. A candle or light inside will shine through the holes, revealing the pattern and casting it on the wall.


Without creating a scary experience, a little imagination can bring the fun of pumpkin decorating even to the wee ones.


By Murray Anderson