It’s Halloween again, and that means carving pumpkins! Jack-o-lanterns are a staple at Halloween time and make a great craft project for kid. They can be as creative as they want, and the end result is always fun–especially when lit up at night. Unfortunately, pumpkin carving is a messy ordeal and can be dangerous for little ones. We’ve up together these tips to help you and your little ghosts and goblins stay clean and safe while making their Halloween masterpieces.
Step 1: Protecting the work area
Weather permitting, outside is the best place to carve pumpkins. You can worry less about the mess and if any of the pumpkin guts or seeds is overlooked, birds will help finish the cleaning. Set up a table in the yard and cover it with a plastic tablecloth. Many dollar stores carry thin, plastic table coverings that when finished, you can bundle the mess inside and throw it all away for easy cleanup.
If pumpkin carving is taking place indoors, a little more preparation is needed. Cover your table with the plastic tablecloth, but also cover the floor beneath with another one to catch any spills. Pumpkin guts are sticky, so anything you can catch and toss makes cleanup much easier.
Step 2: Protect clothing
Before beginning any project, make sure kids are wearing old clothes that you won’t mind getting stained. Old over-sized t-shirts make great ‘art shirts’ and protect a child’s clothing from neck to knees. Another way to protect clothing is with one of those cheap plastic rain ponchos you can pick up at any sporting goods store. They come folded up in small square packaging for easy carrying and can be wiped clean quickly after use. Something like this will protect the child’s clothing from head to toe and kids love the bright colors.
Step 3: Safety
Because pumpkin carving must be done with a sharp cutting utensil, never leave young kids alone while carving and make sure you handle the knife if children are very young. If your child is too young to handle the knife himself, have him draw the face of the jack-o-lantern himself so he feels like he’s part of the process and then you carve it. For older children, stores sell pumpkin carving kits that have cutting utensils that are safer and cut better than a typical kitchen knife.
Step 4: Disposal
Have a large bucket on the table for kids to put the pumpkin guts into. If you feel crafty yourself, the seeds can be dried, soaked and baked into a healthy snack. Otherwise, everything can be thrown in the garbage after all the carving is done. If you’re using a cheap plastic tablecloth, just bring the four corners of the covering together with all the garbage in the middle, tie it up and toss it in the trash. Wipe down the kids’ ponchos or throw their art shirts in the laundry. If any pumpkin goo managed to miss the plastic coverings, wipe with a damp rag and mild cleaner to remove the stickiness.