Every October, orange gourd-like fruits carved with ghoulish faces and designs peer off of the porches and doorsteps of many. It’s a sure sign that the spooky holiday is upon us when each neighborhood is illuminated with flickering candles inside of carved pumpkins. People have been decorating jack-o’-lanterns at Halloween for centuries now and the holiday just wouldn’t be the same without a trip to the pumpkin patch and a hand picked jack-o’-lantern of your very own! What better way to get in the spirit than to roll your sleeves up and carve some pumpkins? Plus, the kids are sure to be all over this festive project. Especially the little ones and maybe, it’s even their first time carving! It’s okay to be wary about the thought of your little one with a carving tool. We worry too, but there are complete lines of pumpkin carving kits designed especially for kids with fun and safety in mind. We’re all making it easy to kick off this tradition the right way!
Here are some of our favorite tips and tricks to remember when it comes to first time pumpkin carving for kids!
Image via Happiness is Homemade
Selecting the Perfect Pumpkin
Carving pumpkins is a project that involves different steps and each of these steps is very personalized, making it really fun for the kids. You can’t carve pumpkins if you don’t have any, the first thing on your list is a trip to the pumpkin patch! There is some kind of magical connection when you set your eyes on THE pumpkin. It’s so fun to watch the kids pick and choose between short, fat, tall, round and the list goes on. Besides picking the pumpkin that feels like the right one, there are certain physical characteristics to look for in choosing a jack-o’-lantern that is perfect for carving.
• Choose a pumpkin that feels heavy and firm for its size.
• Turn the pumpkin over and place pressure on the bottom with your thumbs. If the pumpkin is squishy or if it flexes, then it isn’t fresh.
• Watch out for spots with mold or wrinkles.
• A green stem indicates that your pumpkin was freshly harvested.
A trip to the pumpkin patch is about making memories and your little ones are sure to have a blast picking the perfect one and trust us, the fun really starts once you get the pumpkin home.
Image via Frenzel Studios
Choosing Your Design
Another really personal part of pumpkin carving is deciding what design you will carve into it. Will your pumpkin be inscribed with triangular eyes and a smiling mouth, a ghost, or your little guys favorite sports team? No matter what you and your little one decide to carve, it’s sure to be a fun experience for the both of you! It may be extra hard for the little ones to just free hand (or free carve) a design. We love and recommend using an easy pattern transfer method. This method is super simple and a perfect guide for the kids! Just print out your favorite design, tape it to the surface of your pumpkin and start carving. We have provided you with our favorite designs here:
• Ghoul and Cat – Best Friends Design
• Ghost and Tombstone Design
• Smiling Pumpkin Design
Prep For a Mess
No one said that this festive project was going to be quick and clean. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. These orange gourds insides make for a big fat mess. We recommend taking the project somewhere you won’t mind the kids getting messy. Between the seeds, string, pulp and slime, half the fun of pumpkin carving is getting your hands a little dirty. The best place to carve is in the backyard with an old sheet or newspaper laid out on the ground. Doing so protects the surface and makes for an easy clean up. Have all your carving tools laid out and ready. It’s also a good idea to have a brown paper bag ready with you outside for discarded pumpkin innards. Once you’re ready, crack open your pumpkin and start scooping out the insides! Don’t be afraid to get a little messy!
Image via gregandlori.com
Having Them Help
Of course, pumpkin carving is going to be filled with excitement! While you will be doing a lot of the prep work for the carving, have the little ones help out to, even when it comes to the carving itself. The pumpkin carving kits come with tools that are designed for kids so, under adult supervision; they can do most of the carving themselves. Assign the little ones to do the dirty work and scoop out their pumpkins insides. You’d be surprised at how excited they are to do this and once their pumpkin masterpiece is finished they will be proud of how much work they put in.
Image via Simplistically Sassy
Kids Pumpkin Carving Safety Tips
When carving a pumpkin with kids, safety should be a top priority. Pumpkin Masters has a great video that discusses simple tips on how to make your pumpkin carving experience safe and for the little ones.
To make the pumpkin carving experience even more memorable, think about entering the annual Pumpkin Masters Pumkin Carving contest. And don’t think you have to be a professional pumkin carver to win; they have specific categories for Family Carving and Pumpkin Decorating. Click here for all the prize and contest details
Remembering the Occasion
The tradition of Halloween goes back many years to ancient festivals where it was believed that the ghosts of the dead returned to earth. People dressed up in costume like ghosts so that they would blend in, hence why people dress in costume on the night of Halloween. Today we know Halloween as trick-or-treating, candy and carving pumpkins, but what about where it all started? This year while you’re carving, chat with the little ones about why we have such a holiday like this, tell scary stories and get creative.
Image via history.com
The little ones are sure to have a blast pumpkin carving their first time around. It is surely going to be a (messy) memory they will never forget. We can’t wait to see how your pumpkins come out! Good luck and happy carving!