By day, there's not a soul in sight
but after dusk, it comes alight
each orange orb a glowing beacon
for boys and girls gone trick-or-treating.
This cozy haunt for spooks and sprites
is easily conjured for Halloween night.
So gather some pumpkins and carving tools
and set the scene for visiting ghouls...
Using a serrated knife, carve a circle around the stem to create a roof complete with a chimney. Angle the knife tip toward the stem, cutting the outside wider than the inside -- this keeps the roof from falling into the pumpkin.
Scoop out all the seeds and stringy inner flesh.
Have your child use a washable marker to outline a door and windows. He can even draw a pet peering out of a window. Once his design is set, retrace it with a permanent marker.
Cut out the window openings. This time, angle the blade away from the opening so that the carved pieces are narrower on the outside and can be pushed into the shell and removed.
Carve slits along the top, bottom, and one side of the door for the candlelight to shine through. To create the effect of an open door, carve out a triangle at the top and bottom of the door and a narrow rectangle adjacent to the threshold, as pictured above.
Top your pumpkin house with a smoking chimney, if desired, by pulling apart a cotton ball or the strands of a length of wool yarn and gluing the puff around the top of a toothpick. Then insert the bottom of the toothpick into the pumpkin stem.
Stack flat rocks or stones for steps to the front door.
Turn on the light -- a tea light or votive candle set inside the shell.