Leave it to Mickey to come up with this ear-resistible Halloween decoration. Made from easy-to-mix salt dough, these colorful miniature pumpkins create a colorful windowsill or tabletop display. One batch yields 4 or 5 pumpkins. Double or triple the recipe, and you can make enough to hide around the house for a Halloween party scavenger hunt.
In a mixing bowl, stir together 1 cup of the flour, the salt, and the water until the ingredients hold together. Wearing a pair of disposable kitchen gloves, knead the dough until it is fairly smooth.
Place a quarter or so of the dough into another bowl and knead black food coloring into it. Knead orange food coloring into the remaining three quarters of the dough.
Heat the oven to 230 degrees F.
Meanwhile, your child can use the orange dough to form 4 or 5 small pumpkins. Encourage him to vary the sizes and shapes.
Use the tip of a toothpick to poke a pair of holes (about a half-inch deep) in the top of each pumpkin where the ears will go. Then use the side of the toothpick to gently press vertical pumpkin grooves into the dough, as shown. Place the finished pumpkins on one of the baking sheets.
Next, make a pair of Mickey ears for each pumpkin by inserting toothpicks into small balls of black dough. Gently pinch the dough to make it stick well to the toothpicks. Then flatten and shape the balls to resemble mouse ears. Place the ears on the second baking sheet.
Bake the dough shapes for about 30 minutes, removing them before they begin to turn brown. The ears should take a little less time than the pumpkins.
Allow the baked dough pieces to cool thoroughly.
Use a black marker to outline a Mickey head on each pumpkin. (Tip: the front resembles the upper portion of a heart.) Now your child can fill in the outlines with black paint.
Once the paint is dry, add ears to each pumpkin. If the toothpicks are too long, simply break off a piece to shorten them. They should hold firmly in place but, if they seem a bit loose, use drops of glue to secure them.