Pumpkins make the fall season a lot of fun. Whether you take your child to a pumpkin patch to find the perfect pumpkin, or grab one or two at your local home and garden store, there's a lot you can do with this autumn favorites. If you want to keep it simple, you can carve the pumpkin into a jack-o-lantern, or just leave your pumpkin on your front stoop as a pretty decoration. If you and your child are looking for fun ways to use a pumpkin, the ideas below may get you started on a little pumpkin fun.
Pumpkin Invitations: If your tween wants to throw a fall or Halloween party, you can attach your party invitations to mini pumpkins and deliver them to all of your guests. Mini pumpkins, sometimes called "Boo" pumpkins, are relatively inexpensive if you purchase them in quantities. Get super creative and personalize each of the pumpkins with your guests' names using colorful permanent markers.
Do a Little Pumpkin Baking: If you can find baking or cooking pumpkins at your local grocery store or pumpkin patch, then you can use your pumpkin to bake up a batch of pumpkin cookies, pumpkin bread, pumpkin scones or some other yummy pumpkin treat. Medium-sized pumpkins can also be used as serving bowls -- just cut off the top of the pumpkin, scoop out the insides and use the pumpkin to serve stew or pumpkin pudding.
Create a Fun Pumpkin Centerpiece: Get into the Halloween or fall spirit by creating a fun centerpiece for your dinner table. The pumpkin can be the focal point of the centerpiece, just add fall flowers, colorful leaves or other pretty fall decorations around it. Your local dollar store is a good destination for seasonal decorations at a cheap price.
Plant It: Pumpkins can be thrown into a compost pile (if you have one) or you can bury it in your vegetable garden to help enrich the soil for next summer. Be sure you save a few of your pumpkin seeds. You can dry them out, and then next summer you can try growing your own pumpkin plant.
Pumpkin Place Settings: If your family is planning a nice dinner for relatives or friends, pumpkins can be used as place settings. Personalize each guest's place at the table with a pumpkin decorated just for them. Write their name on the pumpkin or decorate with google eyes and other decorations. Or, use small or medium sized pumpkins as a vase to hold pretty autumn flowers.
Have a Contest: Carving and decorating pumpkins is an activity that many tweens look forward to year after year. Have your tween invite friends over for a pumpkin carving party. You can supply the food and decorations, as well as any age appropriate carving tools, and then let the kids have fun carving and decorating their pumpkins. Certificates or awards can be handed out for the most unusual or creative pumpkin.
Roast the Pumpkin Seeds: If your child decides to carve the pumpkin, don't throw the pumpkin seeds away. They can be cleaned, roasted and then salted for a fun and yummy fall snack. You can even try different seasonings on the pumpkin seeds to see which one you like best.
Create a Scarecrow: Your pumpkin can be used as a head for an outdoor scarecrow. Just paint a face, add a straw hat, a stuffed shirt and jeans, and you've got yourself a very autumn looking scarecrow. Place it where neighbors and trick-or-treaters will see it and be prepared for all the compliments.