Halloween Tip – Preserving the Pumpkin

If you and your child carve your pumpkin a few weeks before Halloween the old jack-o’-lantern will age so quickly he will be shriveled and old before that great night arrives. However, there are some ways to keep your pumpkin fresh so he looks young and youthful for Halloween night.

Try to hold off carving your pumpkin until two or three days before Halloween. If you choose to carve earlier than this then most likely you will have one shriveled pumpkin sitting on the doorstep ready to collapse.

You can help prolong the life of your carved pumpkin by using petroleum jelly. Simply place the jelly on each cut edge. For example, move your petroleum-jellied-finger and move it all around the pumpkin’s eye until the entire cut area has been covered.

Aside from shriveling your pumpkin will have a tendency to grow a little mold or even house some insects. This problem can be alleviated by spraying the pumpkin with water mixed with bleach.

If your friendly jack-o’-lantern starts to show its’ age, by shriveling, put it in a tub of water and let it soak for several hours. Once you remove the pumpkin dry the inside with paper towels. You will be surprised how this procedure will cause your pumpkin to look young and youthful once again. If you like surprises, we invite you to visit our website, CarvingForKids where you will find templates and a number of creative Halloween ideas.

Halloween Tip – The Block Party

Halloween has expanded into several other areas aside from children going door-to-door to trick-or-treat. Many churches now sponsor Halloween parties as well as schools, a few businesses, and professional organizations to name a few. Another idea is for close-knit friends, living in the same block, to have a “Block Party.” The key to this, however, is that each parent agrees to host the party on a rotation basis. Some parents will enjoy the venture and actually want to sponsor it more than once. Older parents, whose children have grown, will sometimes want to participate just because they enjoy the activity and wish to stay involved.

The block party can have as many variations as a birthday party. The key is that the hosting family will make these varied decisions. Snacks, games, and all activities must be considered according to how many children are invited, their ages, the location and space needed, and so forth.

You may want your child to spend some time with you hand making invitations to hand out to the guests. S/he should also be included in deciding on party decorations, food, games to be played along with other activities, prizes (if they are to be awarded), and any other aspect that can include your child.

Perhaps the most important decision to be made is what the children will do at the party. This will make or break the time they are together. This pretty much boils down to eating, and activities. Activities are crucial and they should be chosen with great consideration. Be certain you have sufficient activities planned so that the party doesn’t lose steam after half an hour. You may decide to separate the children according to ages. If you have a number of teenagers you may wish to have them assemble in a certain area where they can talk, listen to music, and dance. The younger children may be using this same time to play Halloween musical chairs.

There are all kinds of activities. Again, it is important to remember to plan these according to ages. You might want to use some board games such as Pictionary. A scavenger hunt is fun although this is not the best night of the year to have one. Karaoke can always be a lot of fun. Whatever you choose for your activities just be creative and spend a good amount of time planning. Speaking of creative, be sure to visit CarvingForKids for some fun, interesting, creative ideas.

Halloween Tip – Homemade Halloween Costumes

Halloween outfits have become big sales items – they can be rented for a fee or they can be purchased in a store. Or, they can be made at home. What fun for a child to participate in the making of his/her own costume. Just like assisting your child making a candy bag this is great one-on-one time helping your child to make his/her Halloween outfit.

First, your child needs to decide if s/he wants to be a hobo, an angel, a clown, or one of the presently famous cartoon characters. This can be a lengthy procedure with your child changing his/her minds several times.

Once your child has decided on the outfit it’s time to put it together. Since there is such a variation of outfits you will need to decide on the material or foundation to use. This might be an old sweatshirt, a skirt, cardboard, capes, and so forth.

Your child will be able to assist more with the “add-ons” that really make the outfit. We suggest you be prepared to find ways to make this process a little easier and avoid the difficulties of complexities. Here are some ideas for you to consider: staples where they can be used where they cannot poke or scratch a child; cardboard boxes to build a robot or other exotic outfit; knit caps, sweatshirts, t-shirts, old shirts, sweaters, hats, and all apparel that can be used one last time to adorn a costume; sticks covered in tinfoil to create a sword, foam sheets to cut out all kinds of complimentary accents, or main parts of the costume using a glue gun. There are literally hundreds of items that can be used to create a unique outfit. The secret is to search your house for the items – or, if you foolishly think you don’t have anything in your home then visit a thrift store. Also, please take the time to visit our website, http://CarvingForKids for more unique ideas.

Halloween Tip – Homemade Candy Bags

Halloween has become another commercial sales event in our country, therefore, the once popular “homemade Halloween bag” has been somewhat replaced by the store purchased bag. Still, you can have great one-on-one time with your child if you help him/her make his/her own bag the old-fashioned way.

Today bags are made from lunch bags, laundry bags, grocery bags (for those children with big appetites hoping to fill it to the top), and plastic bags to name a few. Let’s focus on the brown or white lunch bag.

Ask your child if s/he has a certain idea for the Halloween bag. If not, you can present some ideas and pictures. Once your child has decided on a design, it’s time to gather some objects to place on the bag. Just remember, this is your child’s bag to create – not yours.

Some ideas include finger-paints – your child may wish to put his/her handprint or footprint on the bag. Another idea, shapes can be cut from poster paper. Your child may want to cut out the eyes, mouth, and so forth and place these shapes on the bag to make a pumpkin. A few pieces of the saved pumpkin seeds can be glued on the bag to form hair, eyes, or other shapes. Your child can also use paints and colors, glitter, stick-’ems, string, yarn and most any kind of art medium to make his/her bag unique. For more ideas on Halloween, please visit our site at http://www.CarvingForKids. Don’t forget to return here during each day in October for new tips and ideas.

Halloween Tip – Halloween Can Be Traumatizing to Children

When we open the door to “trick-or-treaters” sometimes it gives us satisfaction to see just how much we can frighten the children. While this can be fun and exciting we must also realize that some of the children can be scarred for life. As parents we need to be aware of this and try to prepare our child before s/he goes out on that frightful, haunting night.
To prepare our child we need to remember a few things that follow.

If your child has gone through a traumatic experience during the year (a divorce, a death, or an accident) it may be wise to forget trick-or-treating. Instead, take your child to a church Halloween party, or find another alternative.

Talk to your child, when s/he is old enough to understand that Halloween is to be fun and it is a fantasy. Hopefully, when s/he sees the “dead” mummy pop out from nowhere s/he will remember your discussion.

In the period before Halloween, take your young one to different stores. Let him/her see and touch the variety of masks and other Halloween paraphernalia. The first visit your child may be a bit timid. Continue your visits until your child feels comfortable touching the various items – hopefully s/he will eventually try on a mask. We need to remember it is difficult for a child sometimes to distinguish between fantasy and reality.

While visiting the stores maybe you will want to pick up another pumpkin to take home, carve, and put on the front door step. Before you do this, be sure to visit CarvingForKids to get your free templates. You will find our website full of ideas, fun and exciting.

Halloween Tip – Using the Pumpkin Seeds for Cooking

There are many recipes using pumpkin seeds for cooking. Since we are limited in space we will include two that will appeal to your children – and also those that your child can help prepare.

(Tips: It is important to remember that if you wash the seeds first the more you wash the more it removes the natural flavor. Also, it is important to remove as much of the “stringy” goop from the seeds when first removing them from the pumpkin. Cooked pumpkin seeds can survive in the refrigerator for one to two months.)

In a bowl put 1 ½ cups of raw seeds; add 2 teaspoons of olive oil; add a small amount of salt and mix. After your oven has been preheated to 300 degrees empty the mix on a baking sheet. Put the baking sheet in the oven for about 45 minutes or until the seeds are golden brown.

In a bowl put one cup of pumpkin seeds, a teaspoon of butter, and some grated Parmesan. Mix the ingredients. Spread the seeds over a microwavable plate. Put in microwave and cook for five to six minutes, stirring every two minutes. When finished the seeds should be dry and a little crisp.

Using the pumpkin seeds is a great lesson for children. There are many recipes for their use. If you have a great recipe please send it to CarvingForKids and maybe we can use it in our tips for next year. CarvingForKids also has some great templates so please visit our site.

Halloween Tip – What do I do With All of These Pumpkin Seeds?

Pumpkin seeds are not only delicious but they are also nutritious. In tomorrow’s daily tip we will offer some recipes. So, aside from eating the pumpkin seeds do they have any other use? Of course!!!

Put your seeds in a sunny location to dry them. Once they are dried they can be used for a variety of art projects. One idea is to glue the seeds to a sheet of paper in the shape of a pumpkin. Your child can then paint the pumpkin. Once the picture is completed it can be hung in the window. The seeds can also be glued on the paper in an abstract way, and then painted. Another idea is to use a variety of seeds, including the pumpkin, such as apple, sunflower, and any other seeds your child chooses. The seeds can then be glued to a paper to make a beautiful mosaic.

You can also use the seeds for a math lesson. Have your children and their friend’s guess how many seeds are in the pumpkin. After the guesses are recorded the seeds can be counted one by one. The winner earns a small prize. You can also do this at a Halloween party where the guests give their estimate of the number of seeds.

Here is another great way to use the seeds: first, put them in your window to dry. Then the seeds can be placed outside for the birds and squirrels to enjoy. The seeds will be a great treat for your friends.

Your child will most likely ask if you can plant the seeds. This can lead to a great lesson. You will need to learn how to prepare the seeds, if you can plant them later. When should the seeds be planted? What kind of soil will they need? Do they need a lot of sunlight? How long does it take for them to germinate? How long does it take for them to grow? And, if you reach this point, can you imagine the smile on your child’s face the day the pumpkin plant first pokes through the ground?

Be creative! Come up with your own ideas. In the meantime, please visit CarvingForKids to see all of the templates we have to offer along with some exciting and unique ideas.

Halloween Tip – Attaching the CarvingForKids Stencil

Now we have a pumpkin, a lid, and the stencil from CarvingForKids. It is best to attach the stencil to the area you have chosen to be the face of the pumpkin. Tape of most any kind can be used for this procedure. Don’t be stingy! Use what amount of tape is necessary to make certain you have a nice model to follow. Great!

You can now use a knife and poke small holes to form a pattern. Once you have the pattern on the pumpkin you can remove the stencil. Take a deep breathe! With your cutting tool, choose the first object you want to cut. It is best to always begin cutting in the middle and moving outward. This allows the pumpkin to maintain the most strength in the walls of the pumpkin to avoid breakage. If your first cut is in the mouth – use your cutting utensil, begin in the middle, and cut outward.

Can you believe you are actually cutting the pumpkin? It’s not nearly as difficult as you thought! You will be successful if you follow these cutting procedures: cut slowly and carefully by connecting your dots or lines; make certain your sawing strokes don’t go in or out too far; just take your time – don’t rush. In a short time your pumpkin will look as great as the template from CarvingForKids. In fact, you may want to go back to the site and select another template, rush back to the pumpkin patch, and create a partner for your newly cut pumpkin.

Halloween Tips – Carving Pumpkin Tips

Now the fun begins! You may first want to wash your pumpkin. Next, use a marking pen to indicate the pumpkin lid. It is better to use a hexagonal cut opposed to a circular cut as this will prevent the “lid” from falling into the pumpkin once it begins to dry out and shrink.

Once the “lid” can be removed it is time to attack the “guts” of the pumpkin. Take a large metal spoon (or the utensil supplied in the commercial pack) to begin removing the seeds. Continue removing the seeds until they are all gone. However, remember to sit the seeds aside because we have a tip for their use in a few days. Now gently scrape down the sides until the pumpkin is smooth. Your pumpkin wall will be about one inch thick when it is clean and ready to carve.

We start the carving by attaching the stencil you have from CarvingForKids. We will attach the stencil in our next tip. Stay tuned.

Halloween Tips – Tools to Carve the Pumpkin

It’s amazing to realize that years back we simply used one or two knives to successfully cut and carve our pumpkin. Like everything else – times have changed and we now have everything available from professional saws to motorized equipment (for the huge pumpkins, of course). There are also companies that specialize in and sale special carving tools.

Depending on the age of your child determines what type of tools you may want to choose. You certainly don’t want to hand over the kitchen steak knife to your three year old. However, your teenager can certainly handle the knife and have a great time assisting in the carving project.

If you choose to purchase a commercial pumpkin carving kit be certain to take into consideration the age of your child, the size of the pumpkin, and the degree of complexity of the template you are using. Then, choose a product that includes several different size saws with carbon steel blades. These blades have proven to easily cut through a pumpkin much like specialized scissors easily cut through material. Remember though, that you don’t need to invest in commercial products as you most likely have various size knives that will also successfully do the job – even if it may require a little more work on your part.

After you have selected your carving tools be sure to visit CarvingForKids for your free pumpkin carving templates. Also, look at our other exciting and unique ideas we have posted on our blog.