Wednesday, October 30, 2013

DIY Carve your own Jack-O-Lantern - Fun Kids Time!


So, it’s almost Halloween and we’ve done nothing to be engaged with this annual spooky date.  Since our youngest godson is staying with us overnight I thought it would be nice to actually do something with the pumpkin that my wife’s workplace, Air Vent Exteriors,  gave us.  It has been sitting on the kitchen counter for weeks.  I noticed a few weeks ago that there is a packet of small tools and Jack-O-Lantern templates that you can buy at the store.  That little seed of a thought enticed me to carve the pumpkin tonight with Kaleb.  Because I am not an artist of any sort, I needed one of those little packets of tools and templates.  Unfortunately, everything is sold out two days prior to the big day.

I’m left to creating this template on my own so I engage the talent of my godson and send him to the computer to Google ‘Jack-O-Lantern templates’.  He’s happy to do so since at age 11 he lives to be on the computer it seems.  With so many choices I tell him to pick his favorite and we can print it and draw it on the pumpkin.  I should have seen this coming.  He picked the Death Star.

Death Star - we didn't even attempt it!
Convincing him that we needed to be able to complete the project tonight he was much gentler the second time and picked a couple of bats.  I printed it up and signed Kaleb on to cut them out and trace them on the pumpkin.  He worried that he wouldn’t do a good job.  How sweet.  I told him it didn’t matter to just do his best and it will look fine in the end.  Somehow that worked … I know!

More our speed...
A piece of tape can help hold your template still.

It doesn't have to be perfect but it does have to be fun!
Once the pumpkin was properly prepped with bats drawn on it, I took over with the knives.  He helped hold on to the pumpkin but was obviously nervous that I would slip with the knife.  I didn’t and he still has all his digits.  So I cut the top off by carefully stabbing down into the pumpkin all the way around the stem and let him do the honors pulling it out.

The unveiling
Now for the gooey part.  The seeds and stringy web looking innards need to go.  Using your hands and an ice cream scoop, remove until nothing is left hanging around – it doesn’t have to be perfect.  This is a textbook kid friendly task that, if not squeamish, will literally have them up to their elbows in slime and fun.  Kaleb loved it and loved making my wife squirm!

Get your hands slimy
This part is more the adult section unless you have older children that you can trust with a knife.  Take a small blade and firmly but gently push it in on your template line all the way around.  Again, don’t worry about perfection; this is about family fun with a bonus at the end.  Once you’ve navigated around the template drawing push on the ‘carved’ area from the inside pushing out.  It should pop right out.  If you have any areas that seem to stick just use the blade to separate it completely.

See, not perfect, but not bad
Wipe up any remaining gooey parts and place a candle flat in the center of the pumpkin bottom.  Place the stem top back on and turn off the lights.  You’ve done it!  Your kids will be proud and so will you – at least we were.

My only advice for you on Halloween – it’s better to treat than it is to trick but if you feel you have to trick, suck it up when it comes back around and tricks you in the end.

I realize that it isn’t very good advice but that is seriously all I got.


Happy Halloween!

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