Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Last Minute Halloween Ideas

 Yes, Halloween is tomorrow.  But, that doesn't mean it's too late to get into the spirit!  Here are two craft ideas that are super simple and that you can execute very quickly!  One is a twist on the usual pumpkin-carving, and the other is a sparkling addition to a table top that doesn't have to go away with Halloween - it might even look great on a Thanksgiving table as well.  Enjoy!

Black Pumpkin Carving (and a bonus recipe)

Black craft paint
Paint brush
Knives of various sizes

For Seeds:

Paint your pumpkin black.  Yes!  All the orange you can see, cover with black paint. 

Let the paint dry.  Once dry, use the chalk to outline the face you want to carve into the pumpkin.  I am not adept at knife skills, so my pumpkin faces only have straight lines.

Cut off the top of the pumpkin.  Using your hands, a spoon, or an ice cream scoop, remove the flesh and seeds from the insides.  If you want to toast the seeds, you can separate them from the fleshy bits.  Don't worry about being too thorough at this point, but if you can make two piles (one flesh + seeds and one just flesh with no seeds) it will help out later.

Cut the face out.  You will probably need to touch up the black paint after you cut the pieces out.  Look how the orange of the inside stands out against the black!  It adds a bit of contrast that makes the face really pop during the day, and makes the face stand out even more at night when the black pumpkin fades into the darkness of the background.  Spooky!

I like to use Alton Brown's pumpkin seed method, and this is it.  If you separated the seeds to toast, you can put them into a bowl and fill with water.  The water will help you further separate the seeds (which rise to the top) and the flesh (which sinks).  

 Pull out all the seeds and place them on a lint-free towel.  Dry them as thoroughly as you want - ideally, you would leave them out overnight because the drier the better, but you can use your discretion and work with your own timeline. 

Heat a large skillet over medium heat.  Add a tablespoon of oil and then enough seeds to cover the bottom of the pan in a single layer.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Toast, stirring constantly, for about 5 minutes or until your seeds look toasty.  Remove to a bowl, cool and eat.  Yum!  You can also add other spices if you want - paprika is good, or cumin, or red pepper flakes, or a combination.

Sparkly Mini-Pumpkins

Bag of miniature pumpkins and gourds
Spray glue

This craft is super incredibly easy - so much that it probably doesn't even need a tutorial.  But I am endeavoring to start writing tutorials, so, why not?

Hold the pumpkins from the bottom and spray the top with glue.  Sprinkle the glitter over the top.  The glitter will stick to the top and somewhat down the sides of the pumpkins.  Turn the pumpkins upside down to remove any non-stuck glue.  Voila!  These look pretty spread around with candles to reflect the glow.

Bonus tip:
Soak your mini pumpkins in a combination of 1 tablespoon of bleach with 1/2 gallon of water to help prolong their life.  You can also brush this solution onto the cut edges of your pumpkin and all over the inside to prevent mold there too and elongate your pumpkin's life.  Just don't get any bleach solution on the seeds because you don't want to eat it.

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