Tag Archives: jack-o-lanterns

Day 7 of 13 Days of Halloween 2018

The jack-o-lanterns are going to the dogs (and cats)!

I absolutely love carving pumpkins for Halloween. It’s always a lot of work, takes too much time, and is incredibly messy, but the finished jack-o-lantern(s) prove themselves worth the effort every year. I especially enjoy showcasing my love of dogs and pit bulls in my pumpkin carvings.

This year was no different and when it came time to carve some pumpkins I knew exactly what I wanted to do. Except this year I decided to change things up a bit. Instead of using real pumpkins to carve and turn into jack-o-lanterns to show off my love of all things dogs, pit bulls, and yes, even cats, I decided to use craft/synthetic pumpkins. That’s right I’m using pumpkins that can’t go bad, decompose, and most importantly, won’t attract bugs. As much as I love carving pumpkins each year, I’m always so disappointed how quickly my freshly carved jack-o-lanterns go bad and become infested with bugs—literally it’s in a day’s time—and how short of a time I can actually display my pumpkins on my front porch. So, rather than using fresh pumpkins to carve that only lasts a couple days, I used synthetic pumpkins that can last as long as I want. In fact, I can even save the pumpkins and use them again next year!

To carve some completely adora-bull, and long lasting jack-o-lanterns this is what you’ll need:

Pumpkin Supplies

  • Synthetic/craft pumpkin(s)
  • carving tools such as a small knife, and shaving tool
  • stencil(s)
  • tape
  • scissors

Ultimately, I chose three different pumpkins in which I could carve. I chose two small sized pumpkins (one orange, and one black), and a larger orange pumpkin. Then, I found three stencil designs to carve into each pumpkin. I did recycle the pit bull stencil I used last year and found it was perfect for my smaller orange pumpkin, went with a paw print stencil for my larger orange pumpkin, and thought a cat sitting on a moon design was just right for the small black pumpkin. Also, I chose the synthetic pumpkins that have open backs because this made the backside of the pumpkin flat. Therefore, carving was much easier since the pumpkin could lay flat on its back and not move around like a traditionally round pumpkin would.

Pumpkin Stencils

First, take the stencil and tape it to the front of the pumpkin. Using a small knife, carefully poke holes along the stencil outline. Remove the stencil, but keep it for reference as you carve.

Pumpkin Carvings

 

Next, begin to cut along the outline of holes that has been previously poked into the pumpkin.

Then, shave any parts of the pumpkin that are meant to be shaved for more definition and dimension.

Finally, clean up the mess of shavings, put a LED candle light in your pumpkin and light up the jack-o-lantern.

Jack-o-Lanterns

We’re officially surpassing the halfway point in our 13 Days of Halloween journey…keep checking back until October 31st for all things Halloween!

Day 9 of 13 Days of Halloween (2017)

Move over jack-o-lanterns because pup-o-lanterns are all the rage this year!

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I love my dogs and what better way to show off my love for them than to carve their face (or at least as close as I could) into a pumpkin for Halloween.

My pup-o-lantern may have started off as just a regular, orange pumpkin, but it definitely had a dream of being transformed into something special. All I needed was a pumpkin, a stencil, a small carving knife, a pumpkin shaver, some tape and a whole lot of determination.

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To begin, I started by cutting off the top of my pumpkin and cleaning out the middle. Honestly, this part of the process is the longest and definitely most labor intensive as well. However, making sure that your pumpkin’s inside is clean is most important because you don’t want any stringy bits obscuring all your hard work.

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Next, I taped my stencil to the front surface of my pumpkin and used my knife to make a shallow dotted line along the stencil lines so that I would know where exactly to cut. You could, of course, leave the stencil on while you carve your pumpkin, but this can be difficult since pumpkin juice can make your paper stencil rip and tear. I found a pit bull stencil off of the sheknows website, who kindly put together a slideshow of 19 printable dog patterns for carving. I did end up enlarging the stencil though, because otherwise a few of the lines were a little too close together for comfort.

Then I took my carving knife and carefully cut out all the sections that were cut out (the dark grey parts of the stencil), and continued on to shave the sections indicated (the light grey sections of the stencil). While I did use a fancy-ish carving knife and shaver, any knife should work. Although, I did find that a smaller, thinner knife did help me cut the more detailed areas easier.

Finally, all I had left to do was put in a couple LED electric candles in my pup-o-lantern and wait for the sun to set.

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So, whether you are ambitious enough to use a stencil to carve your own pup-o-lantern or stick to simple shapes to make a basic face or paw print (because really that’s just a cluster of ovals), any pup-o-lantern is sure to be awesome!

Day 8 of 13 Days of Halloween (2017)

Is there seriously anything more awesome than pumpkin this time of the year?

I mean, during the Fall season just about pumpkin-everything is available. From pumpkin spiced coffees, teas, flavored gums and candies, pancakes, and we can’t forget the giant refrigerated case at Costco that holds nothing but pumpkin pies. Then there are the numerous ways in which we can use pumpkins, whether it is for decorations inside and outside of the house, to make homemade pumpkin pies, and of course, there’s the classic use of pumpkins to create jack-o-lanterns for Halloween.

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Yet, did you know that pumpkin can also be nutritious for our dogs?

Yes, in fact it seems that pumpkin mania doesn’t just have to be for us humans, and can be a nutritious snack for our dogs. For the most part, pumpkin is considered to be of good use for dogs with upset stomachs and tummy troubles. For instance, when either Rosee or Simon experience tummy troubles we feed them some plain cooked white rice and boiled chicken (as advised by our vet), however some dogs, like my brother’s dog Trigger, don’t handle grain very well and pumpkin can be a better option. Furthermore, pumpkin can be a good source of fiber, beta-carotene as well as numerous other vitamins and minerals that can be beneficial to our pups. Just remember it’s best used in moderation as a treat!

Plain canned pumpkin is the easiest way to provide your dogs with a tasty treat, but fresh pumpkin can be good too as long as you’re up for the challenge of cutting, cleaning, and storing it. Just make sure that any pumpkin you buy (at least in the canned form) is only plain pumpkin. Do not use pumpkin pie filling or any sort of spiced pumpkin mix since these other additives can further upset your dog’s stomach or even be toxic (for instance if the pumpkin pie filling contains xylitol).

I mean really, just when I thought I couldn’t love pumpkin anymore.

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For even more information on pumpkin and the benefit for your dog make sure to check out the links below.

References:

https://www.dogids.com/blog/pumpkin-for-dogs/

http://www.akc.org/content/health/articles/can-pumpkin-help-with-dog-diarrhea/

http://www.petmd.com/dog/slideshows/nutrition/3-health-benefits-pumpkin-dogs

 

P.S. We’re past the halfway mark in our celebration here of the 13 Days of Halloween, but we still have lots left to come, so make sure to check back for more Halloween-inspired fun!