What kid doesn't love carving a pumpkin? It's enticingly messy and squishy, and it's a tradition that's been celebrated for centuries. But there's even more fun to be had: Here are some inventive ideas for pumpkins that kids will adore, whether you're using them to scare away Halloween ghosts or in a sweet treat.
Set an intact pumpkin atop a clear, candy-filled container, then give kids an assortment of candy for decorating. This character sports pearly white mini marshmallows for teeth, a construction paper hat with a hole cut out for the stem, and black licorice eyes.
Since they are topped with cream-cheese frosting and miniature marzipan pumpkins, you might not realize these Pumpkin Patch Cupcakes are nutritious. Pumpkins are loaded with good stuff -- vitamins A and B, iron, potassium, protein, fiber -- and are low in fat and sodium.
What to do with leftover pumpkin seeds? String them into a pretty necklace. Scoop out a pumpkin and place the seeds and pulp in a bowl of water. The seeds will quickly separate from the fibers and float to the top. Remove seeds and rinse them, then place them, in a single layer, on a paper towel or cookie sheet. Let dry at room temperature 6 to 8 hours. Do not let seeds dry too long before stringing them, as they will become brittle and hard to work with. Thread a sewing needle with silk beading cord, and pierce seeds, stringing them in the patterns shown at top (tie knots in between for spaces) or your own. Knot cord.
Transform a pumpkin into candy holders with looks that could chill, and they can play a crucial role as keepers of the goodies. To make monstrous mugs, your little goblins can get creative with -- what else? -- candy! Chewy treats are easy to bend and snip, and they stay in place with ball-head straight pins (choose ones that match the color of the treats so they aren't too noticeable). For hard candy, attach pieces with hot glue.
Fiends brimming with candy (held in a glass bowl) give a hint of what's going on in their heads. With her green licorice locks, this witch thinks she's gourd-geous -- but we think she's full of (jelly) beans! Use black licorice, jelly beans, gumdrops, and a peanut shell to complete her look.
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