It's October and time for pumpkin carving, but what if you have young kids or no porch to display large pumpkins? Then an alternate option is pumpkin decorating. Pumpkin decorating allows everyone to enjoy creating and displaying their creations with unlimited options on what to create. Since there are so many creative options this instructable will show our process and some helpful hints when it comes to crafting your pumpkins.
Step 1: Picking the Pumpkins
Picking the pumpkins can seem like an easy and quick step but this can be one of the best parts of the entire project, especially for the little ones if they get to pick their own pumpkin. There are two categories to keep in mind when picking your pumpkins; where to get pumpkins, and types of pumpkins to pick.
Let’s start with where to get your pumpkins. Pumpkins area available at many locations during the fall with each store having different verities and prices. For the most part pumpkins are not too expensive but they can add up for larger projects, the quickest and cheapest method is the local big name store but for the true fun and experience of picking pumpkins you can't beat a good pumpkin patch. Visiting the local pumpkin patch adds a layer of fun to the experience, depending on your location there may be additional activities for the family to enjoy along with sorting through large piles of pumpkins and gourds of every shape, size, and color in search for the perfect one to decorate.
This brings us to the second category, types of pumpkins. Most of us think of pumpkins as the big orange gourd but many of us don't have the space to display such a large piece, luckily pumpkins come in many different shapes, sizes, and colors. The pictures above show just a small sample of the verities of pumpkins and gourds available to act as a base for your imagination, plus if pumpkins are not your thing you can get creative and start adding different fruits or vegetables into the mix. The best part of this step is to just let the little ones sort through and pick what matches them.
Step 2: Gathering Craft Supplies
There are no true rules here for what to use in crafting the perfect pumpkin, you may have a craft supply box, or room, at your disposal or a quick trip to the craft store may provide all the needed supplies. For this step I simply offer some lessons learned during our project on the materials used.
Glue - Many different types of glue are available and they all have their use, non-toxic general glue allows kids to spread the glue around with their fingers and sprinkle glitter, a glue gun help to attach decorations to the pumpkin, and glue sticks work well for sticking light decorations on easily. Bottom line is having multiple types of glue available helps solve the different issues that are sure to pop up.
Paint - We used both finger paint and acrylic, you can use whatever you have on hand or find the paint that matches the age group for the group decorating the pumpkins.
Decorations - Again there are no rules to follow here you may use items found around the house or other fall decorations. Some ideas from our decorations; Fake leaves, pipe cleaners, stickers, feathers, flowers, wobbly eyes, we even cut up an old pair of pants to make a cape. Use your or the kids imagination here and see what come out.
Treys - Hindsight being 20/20 I would defiantly lay down some old newspaper under the treys on the table to help with the cleanup but a small trey helps to contain the mess and allowed the pumpkins to be moved around while the paint dries, it also helps the kids keep their craft supplies organized and off the floor.
Glitter - Be warned this substance was created simply to destroy all hope of you ever being clean again, it will get everywhere. Somehow it never goes away, you can clean your whole house and shower but the next day the couch will be covered and everyone at work will ask why you have pink glitter on you. It makes kids happy and they love covering their pumpkins in it, but I would personally suggest a full hazmat suit while using it.
Step 3: Let Them Get Creative
While adult supervision is a must, especially when a glue gun or anything hot/sharp is used, the process becomes more memorable with adult participation. Grab a pumpkin, paint, glue and join in the fun, the best memories are family memories. As for the creative side of things the best option is to stand back and let them go, it's surprising just what kids can come up with just some simple supplies. If they need some help with ideas ask what their favorite movie/show/toy is and then ask what a pumpkin from there might look like. For even more ideas you can always flip through Google, Pinterest, or Instagram to get the ideas flowing.
Step 4: Cleanup & Display
Now that you have an array for decorated pumpkins you can proudly display where you have the space, this is of course if the little ones don't grab theirs and run off with it (the little pumpkin can't seem to stay in the display for more than a couple hours). Our display is the table centerpiece illuminated with a pair of fake candles but the fireplace, coffee table, or porch are good options too.
As for the cleanup I’ll just remind everyone to use glitter at your own risk, it will never go away and somehow multiplies in quantity every morning.
I hope you enjoyed this alternative to traditional pumpkin carving that's a little more kid friendly, the biggest thing is to have fun and see what a simple pumpkin can become.