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.
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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.
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Gather some natural objects for decorating and for facial features: We used almonds, carrots, pearberries, pear leaves, pine cones, oak leaves, pumpkin seeds, gourds, hazelnuts, chrysanthemums, and radishes for eyes, ears, noses, mouths, and hair.
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Pumpkin Patch Cupcakes
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.
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Pumpkin Seed Necklace
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.
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Give your pumpkins a little edge this Halloween using some nails, wire, spikes, or safety pins. Create a mohawk or fun piercings and turn your pumpkin into a punk-in!
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Creepy Candy Containers
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.
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Hoot's there? A wise owl, created out of two miniature pumpkins!
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Eeek -- it's alive! Make a jack-o'-lantern talk using an old baby monitor.
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Cat Candy Container
Adults can use a serrated knife to saw open the top and thin out the rim -- then let kids get creative by creating a creepy cat with licorice whiskers and ears and yellow gumdrop eyes.
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Witch Candy Container
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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