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Nothing ushers in the spooky feelings of fall like carved pumpkins on every porch. Get the whole family into the centuries-old Halloween tradition of pumpkin carving!

Pick out a pumpkin from a pumpkin patch.
Pile the entire family into the car and head to a pumpkin patch in the countryside to pick out the perfect batch. Have the kids help look for the perfect pumpkins, and you’ll make great family memories before the carving even begins! When picking out a pumpkin, choose one that is firm and heavy, doesn’t have any mushy spots, and has no mold.

Download stencils online, print them out.
Once you have the perfect pumpkin, the next step it to pick out some stencils. Look through websites like pumpkinlady.com or pinterest. For younger children, simple eyes and mouths will be easiest, but for older kids, encourage them to be creative with their designs. Print out your kid’s favorites.

For “advance pumpkin carvers”, make your own stencils with a blank sheet of paper, rulers, and pencils.

Clean out the pumpkin.
This is the least fun step – getting all the guts of the pumpkin out! This will be messy, so set out some newspapers and have the kids wear clothes that can get dirty. Make sure to have all your tools set out before beginning. Have a strainer or bowl ready to put the pumpkin seeds in for cooking later, and have an adult cut the hole in the top.

Cook the seeds.
After the grossest part comes the most delicious! Cook some roasted pumpkin seeds for after the carving is finished. Clean off the seeds and toss them in a bowl with melted butter, salt, and any other seasonings of your choice. Spread them evenly on a baking sheet and cook until golden brown. Watch them carefully because they burn easily. For sweet roasted pumpkin seeds, use cinnamon and brown sugar instead of salt.

Cut from the stencils.
Pin or tape the stencils onto the face of the pumpkin. Cut the pumpkin using the stencil as a guide. If using a knife, have an adult carve it out. There are children’s carving kits available at most stores. So if the little one wants to help carve, have a children’s kit available.

Glam it up.
Decorating is a good option if kids aren’t yet old enough to be carving. Get creative and paint the pumpkin or add decorations like googly eyes, flowers, stickers, glitter, and ribbons.

After the pumpkin is finished, light a candle inside to test it out, munch on pumpkin seeds, and watch a spooky Halloween movie. This is a Halloween the family will cherish!

By Kelsey Sinclair

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