Pumpkin Carving: A Must Have October Family Tradition for Building Happy Childhood Memories
by Susie E. Caron © 10/17/15
One of my favorite family activities, which became a yearly tradition, is pumpkin carving. We began carving pumpkins when our kids were toddlers and continued right into their adulthood. Building a family tradition is fun and important for lots of reasons.
Kids benefit from practicing happy family traditions.
Traditions are those activities you repeat year after year with your kids. They create the things that kids remember long into adulthood. If enjoyed, grown up kids will often continue these activities with their own children. That's why it's important to make traditional activities memorable by making them fun, with family, food, and even friends.
3 reasons to carry on happy traditions with your kids:
Here’s how you can begin Pumpkin Carving for a yearly family activity that becomes a happy, memorable tradition.
How to Carve pumpkins with Kids.
Get your pumpkins anywhere from 2-4 weeks before Halloween. Part of the traditional fun is taking the kids with you to pick out their own pumpkins. Each one gets one, even adults. When you get the pumpkins home, an adult can rinse the outsides with a mild bleach and water solution to remove any bacteria or mold and slow down the natural rotting process. Let the pumpkins dry or wipe with paper towels. Set a date with your kids to do the actual carving and put it on the calendar. It will be a special event. (I explain more toward the end of this article.)
How to carve pumpkins with kids of every age.
You can begin when your kids are very tiny. Provide them with cut outs of facial features to glue or tape onto pumpkin surfaces. Preschool aged youngsters can draw faces or designs onto pumpkins with markers. These may be left on, as is, or the features may be cut out by an adult. Later, with adult supervision, older kids may begin to cut out features directly on the pumpkin themselves.
It’s best to do pumpkin carving outdoors on a picnic table. If you don’t have one, you can use the ground or set up a board from your steps to something solid for carving ease. If it becomes too cold to do this outside, just put newspapers or even towels all over your kitchen table.
Get out a good sharp knife and a strong spoon, so you can cut off the top and scoop out the seeds and remove the stringy pulp. An adult must do this until the kids are older. However, even teenagers should be supervised for safety. Some people separate the seeds from the stringy stuff and roast the seeds in the oven with a bit of salt. Others, put the messy stuff into the compost. It’s your choice.
Let the kids do their artistic expressions of anything they want while you also do your own. My kids loved this. We each had our own pumpkin and engaged in a little light competition. They often told us that their designs were better than ours, and they were usually right.
How to make it memorable.
Plan ahead to have a special lunch together. After lunch, do the messy business of carving. When everything is cleaned up you and your kids can decorate a place to set up the pumpkins indoors. That evening, light up the pumpkins with candles inserted in the middles or use tiny portable LED lights available for this purpose. Turn off all the electric lighting in the house and sit close together to ooooo and ahhhhh and talk about your creations. In a day or two put the pumpkins outdoors in a special spot, off the ground, where you can watch them change as the days go by. The ‘faces’ will change as they ‘age’ throughout the fall, and into winter. It’s funny and fun! (In the spring, any residue can be put in the compost.)
What traditional family activity do you practice with your kids?
Please share it with us in the comments and share this article with your friends on social media. Thank you.
Remember Twee’ means you and me
making memories with our kids.
Susie E. Caron MA,
Author, Blogger, Podcaster,
Christian, Wife, & Mother, helps build parent-child relationships, 1 blog, book & podcast at a time.
Welcome! I recently retired from combined careers in teaching, psychotherapy, and parent coaching to spend more time writing.
When I'm not busy creating books or articles, you might find me looking for dark chocolate or riding my beautiful horse Apple in the woods and fields of Vermont.
These articles are for educational and self-help purposes only and are not intended as psychotherapy.
If you experience unusual symptoms or discomfort please see your medical or mental health practitioner.
No patent liability is assumed for use of the information contained. The author disclaims any responsibility for loss or risk for use or application of this material.
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Blog Reviews & Thank You!
July 13 at 7:17pm ·
Just wanted to say that I love your posts about the different ways to connect/relate/understand your child. It has given me a new approach towards understanding my daughter and allowing HER to tell me how she feels instead of me suggesting to her how she should feel. Thanks Susie!