Jack o’ Lanterns… Sans Knives

Try acrylic paint instead of traditional knives to decorate your pumpkins. You can work with traditional faces, or go for off-the-wall designs, even abstracts.

Or, go 3-D with cutout paper, fake fur, found objects, computer parts, or anything else that strikes your fancy. Some objects can be poked directly into your pumpkins, or objects can be hot-glued on.

Carve Your Own
You’ve seen the intricate designs submitted to pumpkin-carving contests…your class can brainstorm their own with this exercise. Start with paper and pencil, and draw a simple closed path, a circle. Then redraw the circle with small variations that extend into and outside the circle, but still drawing just one closed path. Go through 3-4 variations, each increasingly more complex, as your students get the feel for drawing a single, complex closed loop. This will help them draw a complex design which can be cut out with a knife. Finish off the exercise by having them draw their name in one continuous closed loop, then cut out with scissors.

To make the cutting easy, use the narrowest blade knife you can find, which will make cutting sharp curves easier.

See the Light
Candles too dangerous? Use a small bundle of the tiny -style Christmas lights. After they are inserted, always turn them on and check every five minutes for the first hour for hot spots. The tiny pinpoint lights usually generate little heat, but always be careful. When Halloween is over, you’ll have the lights ready for Christmas.

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