5 Jack O Lantern Ideas

As October 31 nears, a perfect symbol that screams Halloween is the Jack-O-Lantern pumpkin. It’s a fun and simple activity to do with kids for the spooky holiday. Try one of these clever ways to decorate a Halloween pumpkin with your unique touch.

Set a mysterious mood in your home with a variety of designs, from creepy creatures to silly ghosts. Lots of different techniques will suit your child’s age and skill level. The first step is to pick a pumpkin! You can carve it, paint it or decorate your ghoulish gourd to your child’s whims. It might even match their costume!

Here are five suggestions to mix up this Halloween for a special treat on a tabletop, in a window or on a porch step:

1. Classic carved Jack-O-Lantern

Turn your pumpkin into a candlelit beast. The typical Jack-O-Lantern face features triangular eyes and a wide gap-toothed smile. Easy yet eerie, each one looks amazingly unique. After the features are cut, hallow out the insides and place a candle or battery-powered light inside to complete a warm and wild Halloween look.

Carving tools can include knives, small saws, carpenter gouges, ice picks, cutters, and a drill. Be sure to handle this equipment letting your child create the ideas. Let them scoop out the messy insides.

2. Favorite Halloween characters

For a variation on traditional carving, there are lots of iconic images to choose from to transform a pumpkin into a scary look. Create a witch by turning the pumpkin on its side so the stem becomes her craggy nose. Poke out tiny eyes and cut out a wicked frown. Add a gumdrop wart on the chin and top it with a black pointy hat.

For other Halloween ideas, let your kid be inspired by one of these possibilities:

• A skeleton’s skull
• A pirate with an eye patch
• A vampire with fangs
• A devil with horns
• Mythical monsters from dragons to zombies
• A crescent moon


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For a change from strictly Halloween themes, ask your child to choose a popular character from a cartoon, book, television show, or favorite movie.

3. Paint your pumpkin

If you don’t want to cut up and carve your pumpkin, there are many simple ways to decorate it with paint. Brush the whole pumpkin with a coat of black--or white--maybe a sickly shade of green or bright blood red. Let it dry overnight. The next day, draw on it with colored ink pens.

Conjure a Halloween critter such as a black cat, a bat, a raven, or a spider in its web, or perhaps a crazy clown or a wild fairy -- ask your kids. Our children have fantastic ideas if we encourage their imaginations.

4. Decorate your pumpkin

Dress up your pumpkin in a 3-D look by applying items from your kitchen shelves or craft box:

• Make a funny face from candy with peppermint swirl eyes, a marshmallow nose, a gummy worm mouth and add some toothpick teeth
• Wrap your pumpkin like a mummy in gauze with a painted face of scars and bloodshot eyeballs
• Add a beard, a fright wig of yarn, button eyes and wacky glasses
• Sprinkle with glitter when paint is still wet

5. Pumpkin stencils

Out of ideas? Need help carving or drawing an image? Choose one of dozens of templates available online to print or download a pattern for free. From fiery flames to tombstones to haunted houses, these designs will make your JackO-Lantern glow.

Be sure to save the seeds! Clean the pumpkin pulp to separate seeds. Lightly salt and roast them for a healthy treat!

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