Friday, September 08, 2006

Halloween Gourd and Pumpkin Crafts

By Brandi M. Seals

Halloween is a time to be creative. While you may not be a skilled seamstress who is able to whip up an adorable costume for your daughter when the inspiration hits, but you can handle some quick and easy ways to spice up some plain old gourds and pumpkins. Your new creations can be incorporate into your Halloween display and can be an activity that the whole family enjoys.

Carve the Pumpkins
Pumpkin carving has been a tradition in homes for years. A lit carved pumpkin has become a symbol that someone is home handing out treats to anyone who comes dressed as their favorite goblin or ghoul.

If you haven't carved a pumpkin before, it is time to get started. They are great fun to do and kids love to design the pumpkin and scoop out the innards.

Start by getting a pumpkin and then having your little one draw a design on it. The jack-o-lantern's face can be as happy or scary as your kid can imagine. Then instruct your child how to cut out the shapes or do it for him or her. Do not carve your pumpkin with a kitchen knife. Pick up a pumpkin carving kit at your local grocery store. They come with a dull serrated blade that can easily puncture the skin of a pumpkin but leave your kids without a single cut on them.

Cut a circular opening in the top or bottom of the pumpkin so that the innards can be cleared out. An opening at the top is traditional. As you cut the circle, tilt the pumpkin carver on a slight angle so that the circle will be wider on the outside of the pumpkin and narrower further in. That will keep the top from falling into the pumpkin later on.

If you will be using a candle to light your pumpkin, do the opening on the bottom. That way you can simply light a candle and place the pumpkin over top. Each year several people get burned trying to insert a lit candle from the top of the pumpkin.

Paint it Up
A fun alternative to carving pumpkins and gourds is to paint them. There are no sharp knives to worry about. And, if the thought of pulling the pumpkin insides out make you squeamish, be glad that you can paint a pumpkin without ever dealing with its insides.

You or your child can use paint to create faces or intricate designs. Just remember to let the paint dry before you try to move it.

Make a Glitter Gourd
If you are used to carving pumpkins or are otherwise just looking for a more stylish way to display your annual Halloween pumpkins and gourds, consider giving them a coating of glitter.

Coat your gourd in a layer of thinned out glue (glue plus a little water) and then dip it in the glitter of your choice. Be sure to coat the whole surface and gently shake of the extra glitter.

If you be working with a larger object, say a pumpkin, do the thinned down glue on one side then dip in the glitter. Allow that section to dry, and then continue to the next section. Work all the way around the pumpkin until it is entirely coated in the glitter.

If you would rather, you can use the glue to paint on designs. Say I wanted a thin line to wrap around and around a gourd. All I have to do is paint on the design and then add the glitter. The glitter will only stick to the glue and you are able to create any look you want.

This method of gourd decorating is not only easy, it creates gorgeous pieces that can be used on a tablescape, to decorate the front porch or in any other manner you see fit.

Glue on Some Fun
You can create unique designs on your pumpkins and gourds by gluing on a face. Use candy corn or other goodies to create any expression.

If you want to go more abstract you can still use the candy or perhaps pull out some jewels to create a design. Oversized costume jewelry makes for a great addition to any design.

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