Have some fun this Fall while the weather cools off with some clever Halloween or Autumn crafts. Stay away from the TV and get hands dirty doing a fun hands-on project. A Papier-mâché pumpkin is easy for kids to make and cute to use as a decoration in the house this Autumn.
Papier-mâché can be messy, so begin by placing plastic or newspapers down on the work surface, and find some old clothes to wear. In a bowl, mix together a large amount of flour and water until it is about the consistency of ketchup. If it sits for awhile it will thicken, so more water may need to be added.
Tear up many pieces of paper into thin strips. The strips can vary in size and shape so tear quickly. Dip one strip at a time and completely submerge it into the papier-mâché mixture. Place the wet strips all around an inflated balloon, except for the bottom with the spout of the balloon which can be held by the hand. The balloon should not be blown up all the way, since the weight of the papier-mâché can pop the balloon if it is too taut.
Place one layer of papier-mâché on the balloon, then let it dry. Then add another layer of papier-mâché and let it dry. Continue to add layers on dry papier-mâché until there are several layers.
Once several layers of the papier-mâché are dry, use a pin to pop the balloon. The kids usually love this part. Then cut a circle around the rough bottom of the balloon so it will stand on its own without rolling away.
Paint the round shape with orange craft or poster paint. If recycling paper or newspaper, two layers of paint may be needed to cover completely. Let the paint dry.
Glue the pumpkin to the center of a piece of cardboard. Cut out various leaf shapes in fall colors like orange, red and yellow. Glue them along the base of the pumpkin. Use some brown or green paper to make a paper stem for the pumpkin by making a very tight curly-q with a long strip of paper. Use loose curls for leaves.
Let the children admire their beautiful Fall creation. Set on a table as a centerpiece, or in a window. Paint a Jack-O-Lantern face for a Halloween decoration, or leave the face plain and use it all the way until Thanksgiving.