Photograph by Jim Forney, Roanoke, VA
When pumpkins are carved, often a jack-o-lantern face is made in the pumpkin. Jack-o-lanterns are associated with Halloween, ghosts, and goblins. An alternative to carving a pumpkin is etching in which a Christian theme, fish, cross, or butterfly, is used. Etching or scraping removes the tough (usually orange) skin layer of the pumpkin and allows the lighter yellow “meat” of the pumpkin to show through. Pumpkin meat is boiled to make pumpkin pies.
- Purchase as many pumpkins as you have children. Buy 1-2 extra pumpkins in case of a major mishap with a pumpkin.
- Clean the insides out of the pumpkin. .
- On a piece of construction paper, draw the cross and fish; you need only their outlines. Both should be large enough so that when you cut them out of the paper they cover the side of the Make several size crosses and several size fish and try each size on your pumpkin. You want it large enough to be seen from about 12 feet. You can overlay a cross on the fish for more interest.
- Using straight pins affix the cross and/or fish to the pumpkin.
- Outline the fish and/or cross with a marker with a pointed nub. Remove the pins and paper. See the outline of the cross or fish on the side of the pumpkin.
- Use a paring knife (with parental guidance) or the tip of a metal nail file to scribe (cut) along the marker lines. Use a tiny screw driver or metal manicure cuticle instruments to remove rind in the inside of the cross or fish.
- Remember you are etching: you need only to remove the pumpkin skin, i.e. ¼ inch so that the lighter yellow pumpkin meat is seen below the rind.
Preserving your pumpkin
- Coat all outside surfaces with vegetable oil or a mixture of water with lemon juice.
- To keep squirrels away from your pumpkin mix 2 tablespoons of tobasco (hot) sauce in the water/lemon juice mixture.
- If temperature drops to freezing, move your pumpkin indoors.
- Inside you can cover with a damp paper towel and put pumpkin in grocery bag inside refrigerator.
Reflection: Etching a pumpkin creates an association in children’s minds between autumn and Christianity. Begin your etching activity with Bible verses on harvest, i.e., Exodus 23:19, Exodus 34:21; Matthew 9:37-38; Galations 6:9 and others. Taking time to discuss harvest including the meaning of these verses and in the Harvest season.
Copyright: 10/30/2018; Carolyn Adams Roth