100 Easy Steps to Carving a Pumpkin With a Preschooler

It's easy to carve a pumpkin with a small child! Just follow these 100 steps and you'll have a Halloween jack-o'-lantern in no time! 


1: Go to grocery store with toddler with the plans to purchase eggs, coffee, and milk. Attempt to distract them from the pumpkin display in front of the store. 

2: Attempt to explain to them that if you buy a pumpkin now it will surely rot by Halloween. 

3: End up placing the biggest pumpkin in your shopping cart after your toddler takes 45 minutes to hug each of them to decide which one is best. 

4: Spend 15 minutes buckling the pumpkin into the back passenger seat next to your preschooler's car seat because it is their "best friend." 

5: Listen to toddler debate what is the best name for the pumpkin on drive home. 

6: Argue with toddler that they can't name the pumpkin "dude guy" because that is also the dog's name because you let the toddler name the dog. 

7: Listen to toddler sing made-up song about pumpkin to the tune of "Happy Birthday."

8: Unbuckle toddler from car seat and realize you forgot to buy milk because you were too distracted with purchasing pumpkin. 

9: Unbuckle pumpkin from backseat and explain to toddler you cannot carry both child and pumpkin inside house. 

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10: Debate with toddler about their carrying the pumpkin and spend the next five minutes watching them try to lift pumpkin. 

11: Carry the pumpkin inside house in one arm and the toddler in the other. 

12: Ask toddler if they would like to take a nap. 

13: Deal with toddler's tantrum after you suggested they take a nap. 

14: Tell toddler if they take a nap they can help to carve the pumpkin after their nap. 

15: Get toddler all cozy in bed after reading them three books. 

16: Put away groceries, check email, get greeted by toddler 17 minutes after you have put them down for nap. 

17: Spend 10 minutes pleading that they nap a little bit longer. 

18:  Realize nap suggestions are futile, ask them if they would like to watch Sesame Street

19: Turn on television after agreeing that the "dude guy" pumpkin can watch with them. 

20: Listen to toddler ask 89 times if it's time to carve the pumpkin yet. 

21: Ask toddler if they can wait until after lunch.

22: Set two places at kitchen table, one in front of high chair and one next to high chair for toddler and new best friend the pumpkin.

23: Explain to toddler that the pumpkin cannot actually eat food.

24: Make the pumpkin a sandwich anyway and watch as toddler pretends to feed it.

25: Refuse to pour pumpkin a glass of milk.

26: Watch as toddler gives pumpkin imaginary drinks from their sippy cup.

27: Answer "Not yet" when asked if it is time to carve pumpkin.

28:  Clean up high chair, put dishes in dishwasher, wipe down counters. 

29: Wash hands and pretend to wash pumpkin hands too. 

30: Realize you need to wash pumpkin before carving it. 

31: Argue with toddler that the pumpkin doesn't need to be washed in bath. 

32: Realize if preschooler wants pumpkin to take a bath they may be convinced to join said pumpkin in said bath. 

33: Run bath for toddler and pumpkin. 

34: Argue with toddler that they don't need themselves, pumpkin, and 13 bath toys in bath at the same time.

35: Get momentarily concerned about garden dirt on pumpkin at bath. Drain tub and run more clean water. 

36: Agree to let toddler use your loofah sponge to clean pumpkin. 

37: Take both preschooler and pumpkin out of tub and dry them both off. 

38: Let toddler use hair dryer on pumpkin. 

39: Dress toddler in playclothes and argue with them about whether or not the extra Build-A-Bear outfit you bought for $13.99 will fit pumpkin. 

40: It won't. 

41: Agree that yes, it is time to carve the pumpkin. 

42: Put down 800 pieces of newspaper on table. 

43: Explain to toddler that it's not time to start Christmas shopping yet when they see the Sunday supplement toy ad. 

44: Agree that yes, if they are good, Santa may bring them some of the toys in the Sunday supplement toy ad. 

45: Ask them if they know where their markers are so they can draw the face they would like on their pumpkin. 

46: Spend 20 minutes looking for washable markers to draw face on pumpkin. 

47: Give up on looking for markers and let toddler draw face with ballpoint pen. 

48: Realize ballpoint pen doesn't draw very well on pumpkin flesh so let them use your favorite eyeliner. 

49: Scrub off face they drew because they decided it was "too scary."

50: Scrub off face they drew because they decided it wasn't "scary enough."

51: Offer to draw face for them.

52: Scrub off another attempt because they claim it looks like a kid in their class named "Mike." 

53: Repeat. 

54: Offer to draw face again. 

55: Have them agree once you promise to make the eyes really, really, really scary. 

56: Draw scary eyes. 

57: Scrub off eyes because they are "too scary."

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58: Explain to toddler you don't know how to draw a really, really scary Transformers guy. 

59: Settle on drawing with not-so-scary eyes but scary teeth. 

60: Explain to toddler that there aren't really "boy" or "girl" pumpkins. 

61: Find your favorite, sharpest carving knife to carve pumpkin. 

62: Make mental note to buy new carving knife before Thanksgiving because it will probably get bent while carving pumpkin. 

63: Comfort crying toddler after you stick knife in pumpkin and explain to them that this is how you carve it and no you aren't "killing it." 

64: Explain to toddler how the pumpkin isn't actually alive. 

65: Remove top off pumpkin, careful not to break the stem, and ask toddler if they want to help clean out the guts. 

66: Watch toddler's face wrinkle in disgust as they get pumpkin guts all over their hands. 

67: Wash toddler's hands and remove rest of pumpkin guts using a metal spoon. 

68: Don't save pumpkin seeds because the last time you soaked them in salt water and roasted them no one ate them. 

69: Scoop up nasty pumpkin guy newspaper and toss in garbage. 

70: Realize you didn't scoop enough guts out. 

71: Repeat. 

72: Wipe pumpkin guts out of your hair.

73: Listen to toddler complain how it smells "gross." 

74: Explain to toddler that the pumpkin pies you make usually come from pumpkin meat in a can because you know if they realize the pumpkin comes from actual pumpkins they will never eat your Thanksgiving pie again. 

75: Carve out eyes. 

76: Explain to toddler that no, they cannot help with this part because knives are sharp. 

77: Listen to toddler exclaim they they "Have idea. Good idea." 

78: Continue carving as toddler runs off. 

79: Explain to them that no, they cannot use a Playmobil knight sword to help carve. 

80: Carve mouth and because you are distracted carve two of the teeth wrong so they collapse inside pumpkin. 

81: Explain to toddler this happened because the pumpkin did not brush their teeth after eating too much Halloween candy. 

82: Dig out carved pieces from pumpkin cavity. 

83: Listen to toddler exclaim the pumpkin isn't scary enough because they want it "Oooo booo scary" and not "just kinda scary." 

84: Attempt to carve scary-looking mad eyebrows on pumpkin. 

85: Realize now pumpkin looks similar to your mother-in-law. 

86: Hope she doesn't notice when she stops by to see kids in Halloween costumes. 

87: Explain to toddler that their pumpkin has to live on the front stoop because pumpkins like being cold outside. 

88: Agree that the pumpkin can spend one night on their bedroom dresser. 

89: Go into toddler's room at 2 AM after they have woken up to exclaim that pumpkin is too scary. 

90: Place pumpkin on kitchen counter in exhaustion. 

91: Wake up to toddler telling you that there are "bugs on pumpkin." 

92: Go into kitchen to see new fruit fly infestation on carved pumpkin. 

93: Place pumpkin outside on front stoop. 

94: Realize that pumpkin has started to mold and turn black three weeks before Halloween. 

95: Explain to toddler that "no, you cannot place a candle in it because Halloween is still too far away." 

96: Wait until garbage day a few weeks before Halloween and dump pumpkin in trash. 

97: Comfort toddler who is upset the pumpkin "died." 

98: Wave good-bye to pumpkin when garbage truck pulls up. 

99: Reassure toddler you can carve another pumpkin closer to Halloween. 

100. Repeat steps 1-99. 



Image via © KidStock/Blend Images/Corbis

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