Kids in the Kitchen: Simplify Halloween Decorating with a Template

Posted by the Mom (aka Kelly Biedny)

Putting together the perfect Halloween may be as simple as following a template. By coordinating all your decorating–from jack-o-lantern to cake, door decoration to cupcakes–a precisely orchestrated Halloween is as close as your computer…and your kitchen.

Begin by finding a jack-o-lantern carving template that you and the kids like. Check out eHow, or other sites Patterns for great pumpkin faces. There are dozens of places online with good Halloween templates and coloring pages to choose from if you don’t find one that you and the kids like there (,, etc…). Print out your selection and decide how you want to use the face to bring things together. You can put your chosen face on a round or rectangular cake, cupcakes, front windows and doors and, of course, Jack himself. You’ll need measurements for each item/location you’ll be transferring your face onto. Let the kids help measure and record sizes needed. Some will be simple: an 8” round cake pan, or cupcake tins will be easy to determine. For the door or window treatments you’ll have to decide how big to make the image. Gather your print-out, information and kids and head to the copy shop. For smaller items, simply make copies to the appropriate size. Larger decorations may require you to copy parts of the pattern, or to enlarge it.

Cake and cupcakes –
Roll fondant onto waxed or parchment paper. Place a second sheet of waxed paper over the top of the fondant and put your jack-o-lantern template over it. Secure it with tape and have kids trace the face onto the fondant. Remove the pattern/waxed paper and move the fondant to the pastry. Let children paint your design with a set of dedicated brushes and alcohol-based food coloring.

Doors –
Purchase the correct color plastic party tablecloth from a party store. (If you’re doing a jack-o-lantern theme, orange is your color; green for goblin, etc.) Let older kids cut your image features from the correct color ContactPaper or construction paper. Younger children can assist in attaching each feature to the right spot on the door cover. Use duct tape to attach the decoration to the door.

Duplicate the process above, using tissue paper. This allows light in during the day and casts a jack-o-lantern glow at night.

Jack – Cut the lid from your pumpkin; set aside. Let kids scoop goo and seeds. Save seeds for use later (link to goo piece). Trash the goo. Pin template to pumpkin with sharp nails, and use a pen, pressing firmly, to trace the image onto the pumpkin. Using a sharp knife, carve your jack. Have kids push cloves into the inside of the pumpkin and rub the lid with pumpkin pie spices. Place a small candle inside and replace the top. Be careful with old Jack during carving and while candle is lit.

If you’ve desire, you and your children can make couch pillow covers, mailbox cover and anything else using the matching jack-o-lantern face.

With all the ghouls, goblins and decorative Halloween templates available, your Halloween is sure to be spook-tacular!

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