Paintin’ Punkins

October 10, 2013 | By Brent Almond | DESIGN STUFF

Maybe you’re tired of seeing all the cool and creative ways to decorate for Halloween. I know I am ā€” but only because I won’t have the time or energy to do any of them. Don’t get me wrong ā€” I love Halloween for it’s wonderful mish-mash of adorable and terrifying. And I had grand plans for our family costumes this year. Papa and I skipped dressing up last year, so I wanted to make the extra effort to do it all together, while JJ still wants to be seen in public with us. There are only so many of those years left. But on our trip to Target to get JJ’s initial costume request, they didn’t have his size. So he wore me down asked politely, and we got something different. Back to the drawing board for Papa and me…

My Halloween mojo had been dealt a mighty blow. Yet JJ was helpful putting out our gargantuan pumpkin collection, and even assisted in picking out real pumpkins at the local nursery a couple weeks ago. We were getting back on track to the true Trick-or-Treating Spirit.

And then the other day, out of the blue, he asked, “Daddy, can we paint punkins?”

Quicker than you could say “I’d better take advantage of this before he starts asking me to play basketball or fix a car” we were down in the basement, rummaging through Craft Mountain, hauling supplies upstairs, and embarking on our little project.

I’ll tell you up front ā€” these aren’t the most creative pumpkin painting or decorating ideas out there. I didn’t consult Pinterest or click through a slide show on iVillage or pick up Martha’s latest mag. I had to grab this opportunity by its ornery horns and make do while JJ was in a crafty mood!

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We set up in the kitchen, covered the table with newspaper, got out all our (acrylic) paints, brushes, cups of water, paper towels for cleanup, paper plates for mixing colors, and turned our shirts inside out and backwards. These little pumpkins and gourds you can get from any supermarket or nursery are a great size for toddler hands. And the painting part is great because no cutlery is involved.
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Helpful Hint: If you’re going to make a “ghost pumpkin” (JJ’s idea) you probably need to do two coats, unless you don’t mind some pumpkin showing through underneath and ruining the illusion.
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Helpful Hint: Want to keep your toddler busy for a solid twenty minutes? Give him a sheet of 100 sticker buttons and tell them to cover his pumpkin with them. Also helpful for teaching dexterity and counting! (Check out that concentration!)

After we slathered our pumpkins in gobs of paint, we cleaned up while the paint dried a bit. We added some pipe cleaners to make the stems extra funky, and took them outside to put with the rest of the produce.
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Here are JJ’s finished masterpieces: Disco Pumpkin and Green Goth Ghost!

Helpful Hint: To get the “goth” look, we did a big, messy splotch of paint with a round sponge (also called a “spouncer” ā€” don’t blame me, I didn’t name it) then dribbled some water with the sponge to form the drippy mascara look. This should be done while the base paint is still a little wet. Let the paint dry fully, then pop on some googly eyes with Elmer’s glue, and you’ve got the perfect mashup of giggly and ghoulish!
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Here are a couple I did mixed in with JJ’s. Purple Goth Ghost and Pastel Polka Dot.

Helpful Hint: Make sure the paint is fully dry and stickers are firmly adhered before allowing the pumpkins to sit all day in 90 degree heat and then another day in torrential rain. Luckily I took these pics before Mother Nature plaid her nasty trick and washed away all the stickers and most of the paint. šŸ™

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Be sure and share any cool Halloween decorating ideas in the comments!

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