Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Pumpkin Fun

Is it too soon to share some Halloween pumpkins from years past? At my previous center, we had pumpkin decorating contests among the classrooms. Our first pumpkin was turned into a mummy.
I know. Sooooo cute, right? The kids took turns wrapping toilet paper around the pumpkin. I glued cotton balls (or maybe they were white pom poms -- it's been a few years, I don't remember) on the pumpkin and then big wiggle eyes onto those. I used a red sharpie to draw the squiggly lines on the eyes. I used Mr. Potato Head's arms. They just stuck right into the pumpkin. And then I made a little bag from felt and yarn and one child wrote "Candy please!" on it. I don't think I have to tell you we won that contest with flying colors. We kind of raised the bar because all the other classes just painted or stuck things into their pumpkins. They were all cool, but I think after seeing our mummy the teachers were thinking, "Oh, now there's an idea!" Because the next year there were some fancy pumpkins. We made an M&M man.
The kids painted several (several!) layers of red paint onto the pumpkin and then we used Mr. Potato Head pieces again. The M was made from white paper. We took second place that year, losing out to a pumpkin dressed as a witch. But then last year, we were back on top with this owl:
Oh, I loved this fella! I wanted to take him home with me! First the kids painted the whole thing with dark brown paint. Then I mixed some white in with the brown to make tan. The kids painted a belly spot and some wings. I went over those spots and made "sweeping" marks to help it look like feathers. The feet were sticks that some kids collected from the playground. I also got a couple mini pumpkins for the eyes. They were cut in half and the kids painted them white with a yellow center and I stuck them on using toothpicks. The tops of the mini pumpkins were cut up for a beak and feather tufts. (That's right. Those two things that stick up on the top of an owl are not ears! That's my Fun Fact for you today.) Those also were stuck on with toothpicks. BTW, I tried using candy corn for the tufts and beak, but they kept falling apart when I put a toothpick through them. Anyway, this cutie put us in first place again. I will miss doing that this year. Maybe I'll have to suggest it to my new boss!
Does anyone have any suggestions for getting tempera paint to stick better? No matter how many coats we put on, it always flaked off. I even tried using a clear top coat on our owl, but that didn't help. It just made it shiny. I'd love to know if there is a secret!


Rachel@I Heart Crafty Things said...

Oh my heavens, those are some awesome and creative pumpkins!! I would be missing that tradition too, it looks like so much fun!

Anonymous said...

Hello Betsy those pumpkins are so cute. I love the mummy. Going to have to try that one. Wanted to share how I keep the paint from flaking and cracking. First I wash the pumpkins, then dry really well. I then use sandpaer to take a little of the wax off the pumpkin. I then paint the pumpkin with white primer. I prefer painting it on I really didn't like the spray. I also use Biocolor paint from discount school supply. It does not flake or crack it's the best paint in the world to me. In my home preschool the parents are the ones that decorate the pumpkins and several of my neighbors come over and pick the winner. I have had some amazing pumpkins. If you would like to see them send me an email and I can send them your way. God Bless. Mrs. Valerie

Betsy said...

Thanks for the tips, Mrs. Valerie! I'll definitely be sending you an e-mail!