Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Halloween - Painted Jack-O-Lanterns

We have just a little over a week before Halloween and I am so excited. I've been doing a lot of Halloween preparation for K's upcoming party, so I figure for the next few days I'll focus on that!! Most of the posts will be fairly short and potential ideas for either little kid party activities, snacks, or decorations for the house.

Since I have moved to Japan, Halloween has gotten bigger and bigger, but it is still nothing like it is in the US. Two of the biggest differences are the lack of trick-or-treating and no real Jack-o-lanterns. That being said, K is going to have his Halloween party at school tomorrow and they will be doing some trick-or-treating, in costumes no less! Since Halloween isn't that big of a deal, kids won't wear their costumes from home (most kids don't even have costumes), but it seems they made costumes at school today. K will apparently be a black cat.

Without a Jack-o-lantern sitting outside our front door, however, something feels strange. I would be all for making one, except for the fact that I have yet to see an actual pumpkin-farm-style pumpkin anywhere here. You can order them from one of the foreign food/items shops, but they are super expensive - like $40 for a medium-sized one. That's not happening. A few weeks ago, however, K, T and I took a walk to the gardening store and found a fairly decent sized pumpkin (yet still not quite big enough to carve) for a reasonable price, so I snagged it! We also found the teeny tiny pumpkins at the grocery store and got one of those.

Since the pumpkin is too small to carve, I thought K could paint a face on it. Luckily I had some black acrylic paint sitting around, as well as some paint brushes so we got to town. We started by planning out the face together. This was K's first Jack-o-lantern, so he didn't really know what type of face he wanted. He decided on triangle eyes and a mouth with teeth. Fairly standard and something he had seen before, no doubt. I painted on the outline and then he did the inside.

I was pretty shocked at what a decent job he did, particularly given that we rarely paint at home. He told me that they do a lot of painting at school - who knew? He is really proud of the big pumpkin. We did the same for the little pumpkin, but as you can see from the first photo it is a bit of a mess. For that pumpkin he requested circle eyes, an oval nose and a mouth with his tongue sticking out. It turns out that painting on the tiny pumpkins is a bit of a challenge.

If you could find cheap pumpkins, this could be a fun activity for a party. The paint didn't get messy, but I suppose you would have to think about age/ability of the kids. It would be such a cute little thing for them to take home. You could even paint on the outlines of the faces before the party, eliminating the planning phase and making the activity a bit faster.Check back tomorrow for Halloween-style bento!!

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