The Harvest Season is here and Halloween is right around the corner! Let’s Go Chipper and get outdoors to enjoy the cool weather with some of these fun activities!
Halloween is a time for tradition and connection–not just Christian connection of the All Saint’s Day tradition, or any older pagan or Celtic traditions that have blended into our present day vision of Halloween. But today’s traditional rituals of costumes and candy and our connections of community and family. Halloween’s grand tradition of Trick or Treating encourages people to knock on strangers’ doors. It connects us to the ritual of meeting our neighbors and knowing our community. Being outside is not only about communing with nature. It also is about having an appreciation for the place you live. For kids, Halloween is a fun-filled holiday of make believe and tasty treats, but it is also a time to walk around and get to know our neighborhood.
Have a wonderful Halloween and make sure you are safe and visible! Safety reflectors help you be seen and be safe in the dark so cars can see you. If your child uses a reflector you can reduce the risk for being hit by a car by 85%. Without a reflector the driver of a car may only see you when you are 25-30 meters away, but a reflector can be seen 140 meters or more in the headlights. This can give the driver 8 more seconds to see you and react!
Connect with Family, Friends and Nature this Halloween:
1. Go pumpkin picking to your local pumpkin patch!
• Look for a smooth, evenly colored pumpkin free of bruises and mold.
• Make sure the pumpkin is flat on the bottom
• Don’t carry it by its stem.
• For children, try to select a lighter-colored, softer pumpkin. Although they don’t last as long, they’re easier to carve.
Learn how they grow, get outside, have some fun! Pumpkin harvesting happens in late September and October so find a local pumpkin patch near you today! Here are some tips to choosing the perfect pumpkin:
2. Carve a Jack-O-Lantern! After you have your pumpkin, break out your Exacto knife and a black sharpie and then get creative. There are so many types of styles and designs, the hard part will be choosing what to carve! If you have a younger child that can’t handle a knife, there are tons of kits full of stickers and decorations you can buy or just let them go crazy with some permanent markers!
Here are some tips for carving, lighting and preserving your Halloween Jack-O-Lantern:
• Draw a lid on top of the pumpkin.
• Draw a “tooth” at the back of the lid as a guide for replacing it. Cut along the lines and angle the blade toward the center of the pumpkin.
• Clean out seeds and strings.
• Scrape inner pulp away from the area you plan to carve until the pumpkin is about 1-inch thick.
• If using a pattern, trim it, leaving a 1/4 inch border around the design. Tape the pattern to the pumpkin. You can make your pattern fit any size pumpkin by reducing or enlarging it on a photocopier, or take it with you when you’re pumpkin shopping to get the right size/shape.
• Make your dots small and close together. For detailed designs, try using a corsage or push pin. If you’re having trouble seeing the pattern you’ve transferred, rub flour over the dots to make them more visible.
• When you’re ready to carve, hold the pumpkin in your lap. Hold the pumpkin saw like a pencil and saw steadily in an up-and-down motion. Saw at a 90-degree angle using gentle pressure.
• When using a candle, cut a hole on the upper, back part of the pumpkin. The hole will work like a chimney, allowing the candle’s heat to escape.
• If you want your opening on the bottom of the pumpkin, rather than the top, attach the light source to the bottom lid and place the pumpkin over it. Try drilling a hole to secure the candle. This provides more stability, helping with the flickering effect.
• For a multicolor display, use a battery-operated light with LED bulbs.
• A flashing light, like the Pumpkin Masters Ultimate Strobe Light, helps create a spooky look.
• Sprinkle a little cinnamon, nutmeg or pumpkin spice on the bottom of the pumpkin lid for a seasonal scent.
• Pumpkins are 90 percent water. Depending on the weather, an untreated, carved pumpkin can last anywhere from a week to just a day.
• To make it last longer, coat cut edges with petroleum jelly, inside and outside.
• Spray the pumpkin with water, cover it with plastic wrap and store it in the refrigerator when it’s not on display.
• Soak or spray the pumpkin with water mixed with a little bleach to ward off mold and kill insects.
• To revive a shriveled pumpkin, soak it in water in a bucket or bathtub for one to 8 hours. The worse it looks, the longer it should soak. After removing it, let it drain for 30 minutes and then dry carefully with a towel.
3. Make a Pumpkin Scarecrow!
Fill an entire weekend based around building pumpkin scarecrows for the perfect combination of playing, house chores, family outing, harvesting and lots of arts and crafts!
Challenge your kids to find pumpkins that are the same size as their heads! Then you can make kid sized scarecrows together. Another component for scarecrow building is lots of leaves to stuff with. Raking leaves will suddenly become more important than just a cleaning exercise–it’s fun! Of course, spend some time playing in the leaves and invite the neighborhood friends to join the play!
To make your Scarecrow you’ll need:
• Leaves for stuffing
• Old clothes, pants and shirt or baby sleeper
• Wire, twine or nails
• Black marker
First, tie knots in the ends of the pants and stuff with leaves. Sew the shirt to waist of the pants. Make a whole in the crotch of the pants.
Second, make a cross out of sticks and shorten the length to match arms. Put the vertical stick through pants and stick in the soil. Put the horizontal stick through the shirt arms. Stuff it with leaves.
Third, measure pumpkin on the scarecrow. Make sure you do a cut where the head fit best on the scarecrow. Make a hole in the lower back part of the pumpkin so the stick can hold the head up.
Fourth, start carving and scooping out the seeds and pumpkin flesh. Use a marker to make a face on the pumpkin or carve it! Add decorations to make it scary or happy. Plan on carving out faces on Halloween day and putting lights in them to make them scary!
4. Make a Halloween Branch!
Go for a walk in your community, and look for fallen branches. When you are home, tie your branches together with fish line. Hang it up at your porch or by your door. Decorate with spiders and spider webs and get ready for your spooky visitors!
What you need:
• Good shoes and clothing for the weather
• Spider Web decorations
• Some home made or store bought spiders
• Fish line
5. Make a Chestnut Spider!
You will need:
• 1 chestnut
• 8 pieces (3 cm each) of pipe cleaners
• 1 Pair of scissors
• 1 string or steel wirer
• 7 toothpicks
First, use a pair of scissors to poke holes in the chestnut (paint the chestnut for a bit of added color).
Second, cut one end of each toothpick and push the sharp end of the toothpicks into your holes.
Third, put string or wire around the toothpicks, until it looks like a spider web.
Fourth, bend each pipe cleaner into the legs of your spider. Fold each pipe cleaner from the chestnut and wrap it around the spider web. When you have done all 8 of them you, have a spider in a web!
Let’s Go Chipper into the Great Outdoors this Halloween!!! 🙂