The Knife Free Jack-O-Lantern

We wanted something fun for our Play Group to celebrate Halloween that would be interesting for us, fun for the kids, and easy to do so we could pass along the idea to our friends. Inspired by a Matthew Mead idea from his amazing book of Halloween ideas called Halloween Tricks and Treats, we created the Knife-Free Jack-O-Lantern Party.

The Prep: 3 days prior to event.
(1) Find small-medium sized pumpkins that don’t have super deep grooves and still have some stem.
(2) Prop them up on rocks or wood on a newspaper-covered area and paint them with spray-on chalkboard paint in black (from Home Depot or other paint store). We used one spray paint can to cover our five pumpkins. Let dry for 36 hours.
(3) We made cookies (Banana-Chocolate Chip from Martha Stewart) and bought Halloween candy to create a happy, sugared frenzy for our craft. You can make the cookie dough ahead of time, freeze it, then thaw day-of and bake.

The Party:
(1) Cover the table with a drop cloth or machine washable tablecloth.
(2) We created a station of pumpkin, treats, and tools for each child and had them some to the Play Group already in their costumes (which they readily wore before Halloween!).
(3) Introduce them to the spooky black pumpkins and have one for yourself, &/or each mom and dad, and put chalk to pumpkin to create your own design. Note: you can erase and start over, but the black paint does chip off a bit, so you might want to have a chalkboard eraser handy. This can also be fun, letting the kids do more than one design if they don’t like the first.

Success! We had a great time with kids ranging from age 2-8. And every neighbor has already stopped by to see if the black pumpkins on my front porch are real. Great fun.

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