By Aimee Heckel
Martha Stewart isn’t magical. She just knows a few crafty tricks.
Making beautiful jack o’ lanterns with your kids can be one of the fall’s greatest challenges — between keeping your kids from impaling themselves with the knife, scrubbing pumpkin guts off every surface in your house and a final product that is usually much more depressing than scary.
See jack o’ lantern fail, exhibits A and B.
Put that on your porch and see what kind of letters you get from your HOA.
No more sticky humiliation. This year, follow these six easy cheats and have the snazziest pumpkin on the block. Best of all: They’re all safe and easy enough for kids of all ages.
1. Use paint instead of a carving knife. Parents.com recommends painting your pumpkins a solid white or solid black and then painting on the details. Cut a sponge into a circle (or any shape), dip it into paint and press it on your pumpkin for a perfect and easy detail. It’s like a stamp, but with paint. Easy enough for any age kid to handle.
Find painting sponges in fun pre-cut shapes (hearts, butterflies, bees, flowers) at Oriental Trading — $6.99 for a dozen.
2. Decorate with markers. Draw directly on the orange pumpkin, or paint it a solid color and go to town. Consider using stencils.
3. Consider unique color combos. A black and white pumpkin is not traditional, but definitely striking.
4. Make a chalkboard pumpkin. Paint with black paint or chalkboard paint. Then change the pumpkin’s face every day with chalk, or write a special message — maybe a countdown of days until Halloween.
5. Accent with stickers. No mess or sharp edges here. Use puffy flower stickers, spooky ghosts or let your kids pick out their own sticker decorations that match their costume. Don’t forget puffy letters for each kid to spell their name on their pumpkin. Basically, anything you can scrapbook with, you can put on a pumpkin. Don’t limit your creativity.
6. Stencils: the best-kept secret. Few of us are perfect artists. Stencils are our best friend. Check out Country Living’s amazing pumpkin village using pre-made stencils.
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