Kid Craft: Jack O Lantern

Learn how to make an easy, non-messy jack-o-lantern without ever touching a pumpkin!

Making jack-o-lanterns is fun for Halloween, but it can also be very messy! Sharp knives, messy pumpkin insides, and the idea of rotting pumpkins can definitely detract from the fun of carving pumpkins! If you want an alternative to pumpkin carving, consider making this craft with your children.

This jack-o-lantern will be fashioned out of paper plates, so the cost of making this project is not very high. You should have enough paper plates to give each child two paper plates (consider having extras on hand in case someone makes a mistake!). Also, have a stapler, staples, glue, markers, felt, pipe cleaners, a hole punch, and string on hand.

To start the jack-o-lantern, have each child color one of their paper plates black. The part of the plate to be colored is the same part on which you would serve food. You can also use paint to do this part, but you should consider drying time. If you have quality markers, the end result should be very similar to a painted jack-o-lantern.

Next, you will move on to the other paper plate. This is where you will be making the face of the jack-o-lantern. To do this, work on the back portion of the plate (the part of the plate that would be sitting on the table if you were to eat off of it). Trace eyes, a nose, and a mouth. Then use scissors to cut out your tracings. Then use an orange marker to color the pumpkin's face. Once again, you could use paint for this portion. Sometimes paint works best on the face of the pumpkin because it will cover up any remaining tracing marks.

When you are satisfied with the look of your pumpkin, take the paper plate with the face on it and staple it to the black paper plate. You can do this by stapling close to the edges all around the circular shape of the paper plates. Children may have difficulty doing this part, so let an adult help! Be careful while stapling, because you want the pumpkin to keep its rounded shape. It is difficult to remove creases and indentations from the paper plates once they have been completely stapled together!

When the jack-o-lantern has been stapled, cut a piece of brown felt to use for a stem. Glue this to the top of the pumpkin. Then cut a leaf from green felt and glue this behind the brown stem. You can also add curlicue pipe cleaners to the stem for an extra touch. Pipe cleaners can be difficult to attach to the top of felt; you may want to add the pipe cleaners in between the stem and the leaf. When the glue has dried and your pieces are secure, you can use a hole punch to make a hole in the top of the pumpkin. Tie a string through the hole and hang the jack-o-lantern somewhere around the house! Although these paper jack-o-lanterns may not be as exciting as actual pumpkin jack-o-lanterns, they are safer and allow children to express their artistic creativity.

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