31 Ideas for Fall Fun


The Great Pumpkin: 31 Ideas for Fall Fun

Fall wouldn’t be complete without that family trip to pick the perfect pumpkin. Then let the Jack-o’-lantern carving, seed roasting, and pie baking begin! But what else can you do with pumpkins? Pumpkin bowling, anyone? What about tasting pumpkin cheesecake? Kids will enjoy building character pumpkins or making a messy oozing pumpkin. Whether hosting a fall bash or spending time with the family, here are 31 ways to celebrate America’s favorite gourd.

Carved Pumpkin Ideas

Nothing says fall like a lit-up jack-o’-lantern. Carve a traditional pumpkin, or if you want to try something new this year, here are some ideas:
Create a fun oozing pumpkin and watch foam erupt from its carved mouth and eyes. Check out Steve Spangler’s website to make one.

Oozing Pumpkin – Steve Spangler

Not sure about your design and carving skills? Try a pattern and stencil. Most groceries and department stores carry inexpensive stencil and carving kits.
Hammer metal cookie cutters into a hollow pumpkin and then pop out the shapes to make your own unique design.
Instead of a candle, put a glow stick in your carved pumpkin for an eerie, neon effect.

No-carve pumpkin Ideas

If you want your pumpkin to last through the season or you don’t want to deal with the mess of carving a pumpkin, there are plenty of fun no-carve options.
Make a nail art pumpkin. Draw a design on your pumpkin then hammer nails into the design.
Either leave the nails as is, or decorate with thread and make a string art pumpkin.

Create pumpkin people that represent favorite book or movie characters. For example, one big pumpkin and two small gourds on the side could be Princess Leia, or paint a pumpkin green to make Yoda. Pinterest has so many examples.

Are you a sports lover? Paint a baseball, basketball, volleyball, soccer ball or softball pumpkin.
Trim the stem and paint on animal faces.

Leave the stem, add white paint and glitter. Poof! The pumpkin becomes a unicorn.

Pumpkin Play

Creative pumpkin games make any get together or party a blast. Try one of these or convert a favorite game into pumpkin play.

Bowl with pumpkins. Set up pins in the grass. Use small lightweight pumpkins without stems as pumpkin bowling balls. See who can knock down the most pins.
Play pumpkin putt-putt. Use pumpkins to make an obstacle course. With miniature golf clubs, putt around the pumpkins, or make one big pumpkin that has a wide-open mouth to putt into. Make the game even more challenging by using a tiny pumpkin as the golf ball.

Jump, slide, or go diagonal with pumpkins and play pumpkin checkers. Use a large checker mat or table or use small pumpkins and use a traditional board. Use white pumpkins as checkers on one side and orange ones on the other.

Take turns playing pumpkin tic-tac-toe. Mark off a tic-tac-toe grid on the lawn, use chalk on the sidewalk, or use a mat and play tic-tac-toe with pumpkins.

Creative Containers

For your next party or family get together, try some of these unique containers for your tablescape.

Serve soup in pumpkin bowls. Go with a traditional family favorite or in honor of fall, make pumpkin or squash soup. Use the top as a lid to keep the soup warm.
Light up the room with pumpkin candle holders. Use mini pumpkins for candlesticks and bigger pumpkins for jar candles.

Fill a large, hollow pumpkin with ice and use as an ice bucket.

Tap a hollow pumpkin with a nozzle, and turn it into a drink dispenser.

Dazzle with Décor

Get creative inside and outside with these pumpkin decorations.

Make a festive vase. Scoop the insides out, fill the pumpkin with floral foam and stick faux or real flowers in the foam.

Dress up the fireplace mantel. Use painted pumpkins and bows, or write letters on several little pumpkins to make words such as “gather” or “happy fall.”

Use mini pumpkins as place holders for a fall dinner. Use a toothpick or cardholder with a sharp end and stick it in the pumpkin. Attach a name card.

Make a pumpkin topiary for inside or outside.

Layer pumpkins from top to bottom on porch steps.

Spruce up the garden

Keep the garden alive during fall with these ideas:

Make an outdoor pumpkin planter. Hollow out a pumpkin and fill with soil and hardy flowers like mums or pansies.

Feed the birds! Fill a pumpkin with seeds and leave it in the yard.

Make garden compost. Cut a leftover pumpkin into small pieces, or better yet, let the kids have a blast by smashing a rotting pumpkin into tiny pieces. Pitch the pieces in the compost pile or scatter the pumpkin pieces over soil, cover with leaves and let nature take it from there.

Next year grow a pumpkin from this year’s seeds. Rinse seeds, spread out, and let dry for several weeks. Store them in an envelope in a dry, cool place to plant next year.

Pumpkin Delicacies

Trail mix, cocktails and, cheesecake, oh my! These ideas go beyond mere pie.

Roast sweet and salty pumpkin seeds by adding brown sugar and sea salt. You can also roast seeds with olive oil and your favorite herbal seasoning, or choose from cinnamon, ginger, garlic salt, seasoning salt, pepper or grated cheese. Experiment to find your favorite flavor.

Create your own fall trail mix. Sprinkle roasted pumpkin seeds in granola and throw in some other favorite ingredients like raisins or nuts.

Bake a traditional pumpkin pie.

Pumpkin pie isn’t your thing? Try one of its cousins: pumpkin bread, cheesecake or cookies. Make pumpkin butter, hummus, or smoothies with pumpkin flesh.

Allrecipes.com has many recipes for all foods pumpkin.

Did you know you can make pumpkin cocktails? For recipes for cocktails or non-alcoholic pumpkin drinks, check out The Spruce Eats at thespruceats.com.



Pumpkin Pointers

What is the best pumpkin to bake a pie? What can you do to extend the life of uncarved and carved pumpkins? Try some of these tips.

While all pumpkin is edible, varieties of pumpkin that are good for carving into jack-o’-lanterns aren’t the best for making into pumpkin treats. Look for a pumpkin that is specifically for baking. Some types to try are Sugar Pie, Cinderella, Blue Hubbard or Long Island Cheese.

To extend the life of a carved pumpkin, soak it in a bleach water solution. Add one teaspoon bleach to one gallon water. Wipe the pumpkin down with it, or using the same bleach to water ratio, fill a sink or small tub and submerge the pumpkin for two hours. Dry the pumpkin well and store in a cool space. After you carve, seal all the carved areas with petroleum jelly.

To help an uncarved pumpkin last through the fall, clean or soak with the bleach water solution. Keep the pumpkin off of concrete or the ground. When not in use, store in a cool space, between 50 and 60 degrees. If you use these tips, an uncarved pumpkin can last up to three months.


Fun Pumpkin Trivia

The word pumpkin originated from the Greek word “pepon” which means “large melon.” The English used the word “pompion,” which later evolved into pumpkin.

Pumpkins originated in Central America and Mexico, where archeologists have found seeds dating back over 7,000 years.

Pumpkins are members of the vine crop Cucurbita, which also includes squash and cucumbers.

Jack-o’-lanterns were originally carved from potatoes and turnips to keep bad spirits away in Ireland and Scotland. Irish immigrants discovered pumpkins when they came to America, and began to carve those instead.

In early colonial times, pumpkins were used to make the crust of pumpkin pies, not the filling.

Colonists thought pumpkins could remove freckles and cure snake bites.

According to Guinness World Records, the largest pumpkin pie, with a diameter of 20 feet, weighed 3, 699 pounds and was made by the New Bremen Giant Pumpkin Growers at the New Bremen Pumpkinfest in New Bremen, Ohio on September 25, 2010.

Morton, Illinois, home to Libby’s pumpkin cannery, is the self-proclaimed “Pumpkin Capital of the World.”

Six states, California, Illinois, Michigan, New York, Ohio, and Pennsylvania account for nearly half of the country’s pumpkins. United States pumpkin growers produce about 1.5 billion pounds of pumpkin per year.

Every year in places like Damariscotta Maine, and Tualatin Oregon, paddlers compete in pumpkin regattas. Giant pumpkins — some weighing over 1,000 pounds — are carved into boats and raced by costumed characters.

History.Com, “Pumpkin Facts: All About the Pumpkin.” History.com/topics/halloween/pumpkin-facts

History.Com, “History of the Jack-o’-lantern.” History.com/topics/Halloween/jack-olantern-history

Morton Chamber of Commerce, “History of Morton.” Mortonchamber.org/morton-illinois-history

United States Department of Agriculture Economic Research Service, “Six States Account for Half of U.S. Pumpkin Production.” https://www.ers.usda.gov

United States Department of Agriculture, “Speaking of Pumpkins.” Usda.gov/media/blog/2015/10/30/speaking-pumpkins

The University of Arizona, “All About Pumpkins.” cals.arizona.edu/yavapai/fcs/allaboutpumpkins.pdf

University of Illinois, “Pumpkins and More: Pumpkin Facts.” Extension.illinois.edu/pumpkins/facts.cfm

Guinness World Records, “Largest Pie, Pumpkin.” guinnessworldrecords.com/

Tales from the Pumpkin Patch

These pumpkin books will get children and adults alike in the mood for fall.

Duck and Goose Find a Pumpkin by Tad Hills
Feathered friends look everywhere for a pumpkin.

It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown by Charles M. Schulz
Celebrate Halloween with the Peanuts gang.

Pumpkin Circle: The Story of a Garden by George Levenson
Inviting photographs in a backyard pumpkin patch show the life cycle of fall’s favorite fruit.

Seed, Sprout, Pumpkin, Pie by Jill Esbaum
A National Geographic Kids book, Seed, Sprout, Pumpkin, Pie is filled with photographs and facts about pumpkin growth.

How Many Seeds in a Pumpkin? by Margaret McNamara
A class of curious students estimates how many seeds will be in three very different-sized pumpkins. What they find is a surprise.

The Roll-Away Pumpkin by Junia Wonders
A little girl enlists some help as her pumpkin rolls away from her and through town.

Pumpkin Jack by Will Hubbell
A little boy keeps his pumpkin long after Halloween. When it begins to rot, he puts it in the garden and watches it decompose until a new pumpkin plant sprouts in spring.

Pumpkin: The Curious History of an American Icon by Cindy Ott
This non-fiction book tells the natural, historical and cultural story of the pumpkin.

Pumpkins by Ken Robbins
This non-fiction book will entertain children and parents alike with its eye-catching photography.

Pumpkin, a Super Food for All 12 Months of the Year by DeeDee Stoval
From soups and salads to desserts and delicacies, this book includes recipes and ideas for eating pumpkins the whole year through.

Find above titles @ www.bluewillowbookshop.com


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