Here’s an important fact about me. I’m a scrooge. In fact, I’m an equal opportunity scrooge. I dislike all holidays. With every holiday, there comes a moment when I glance outside and see the porches lined with decorations and realize I should probably not pass my holiday grumpiness onto my child and whip out the decorations. It’s October. Rumor on the street is that folks are carving pumpkins. Therefore, carve we shall. And by we, I mean me. Clearly I will be the one carving and Mateo will responsible for the painting of said pumpkin. Here’s another fun fact about me. I’ve never carved a pumpkin in my life. Sure, I’ve assisted in pumpkin carving every year as kid. But, like Mateo, I was tasked with the non-knife wielding tasks like scraping out the guts (and people wonder why I’m a scrooge… I have scrape out pumpkin guts) and painting.
I expected the gut scraping to be a HUGE hit. My kid loves messes. He loves nothing more than digging around in mud, scraping little bits of gross off the bottom of things and mushing it all around in his hands. I thought that pumpkin gut scraping and scooping would be a spiritual awakening for him. He could not have cared any less. His disinterest in gut scraping made his mama proud… before I realized that it now fell to me to handle. That said, once the pumpkin was scooped and ready to go, I carved the most basic design humanly possible into it and lay it down on the floor with a sheet and a paintbrush and paint. Then, I sat back and watched the fun ensue. The reason I use a sheet is the fact that my kid likes to move. He likes to get up and walk around. He has zero interest in sitting down and painting nicely. The sheet allows him to move while creating his masterpieces without my stressing about the state of my floors. Pumpkin painting was a huge hit and kept him occupied for nearly an hour. We did somehow end up with a vaguely metallic looking pumpkin but think it just adds character. The activity came to an abrupt halt when he tried to climb head first into the pumpkin and a shower was required. That’s my kid, y’all.
Unlike the name display, he took great joy in his masterpiece and insisted on going out front to look at his pumpkin multiple times a day. Slowly, little bits of my icy scrooge heart are melting.
- Pumpkin big enough for carving.
- Knife for carving. If you want to be a more prepared human than I, you can buy actual pumpkin carving tools. I used a kitchen knife. Additionally, you can buy stencils to create more advanced shapes. Again, I opted not to – mostly out of laziness.
- Paints. I used the same washable paint we generally use—nothing special. Worked perfectly and washed right off Mateo in the bath. That said, it also washed right off our pumpkin when it rained.
- Carve off the top of the pumpkin to access the insides.
- Scrape and scoop the guts. If your little one displays interest in scooping, hand them a spoon and have fun! If yours is like Mateo, I would do this during naptime as it is not easy and rather time consuming.
- Once the pumpkin is scraped and scooped, carve the face.
- Lay out a sheet and set out some paints and paintbrushes. Put the carved pumpkin on the floor (or whatever surface you’ve chosen to work on).
- Let them go to town with painting. Mateo adored sticking his hands in the eyes and mouth and poking his head inside. He had never seen a carved pumpkin up close so this was an entirely new experience that he reveled in. He walked around it. Stared inside of it. Asked questions. Tried to paint the inside. Tried to step inside of it. It was a blast watching him explore and paint the pumpkin. Sit back and enjoy. Get into it with your kid. Let the Halloween spirit envelop you. Yes, I just said that.
- Set outside to display and dry.