- brown paper bags (one for each child)
- old newspapers
- washable orange paint
- masking tape
- washable black markers
Crumple up old newspapers and stuff them into your paper bag until the bag is about 3/4 full. Bring the top edges together and twist them tightly to make the pumpkin stem. Wrap the stem with masking tape. Paint the pumpkin orange. Let dry about a half hour and then draw a jack-o'-lantern face on the front with black markers.
For a pumpkin you can play with, try Balloon Volleyball. You'll need:
- Lots of orange balloons
- extra-large trash bags
- black washable markers
Blow up all the balloons with air (no helium -- you don't want these to float up) and draw jack-o'-lantern faces on them. Place the balloons in the trash bags. Have all the children stand in an open area. An adult climbs up on a chair and lets out all the balloons above the kids' heads. The object of the game is to keep all the balloons OFF the floor.
Candy Corn Pumpkins
These make for a great halloween party favor. You'll need:
- plastic sandwich bags (one for each child)
- adhesive-backed black felt
- candy corn
- orange and black ribbons
Fill each sandwich bag about 1/2 of candy corn. Tie the top with orange and black ribbons. Cut jack-o'-lantern features out of black felt and stick to the front of the bag.
Carving Pumpkins with Older Children
If you're carving pumpkins with your older kids, there are ways to involve preschoolers that don't involve sharp knives. Let your little ones help remove the seeds from the inside of the pumpkin. They can even help with washing the seeds. Then, you take over -- toast them in the oven, add a little salt and you've got a healthy snack to counteract all that candy. Set a few un-toasted seeds aside to dry. Next spring you can plant pumpkins in your garden for the following Halloween.