WASHINGTON COUNTY (KFSM) - Halloween is less than a week away so you’ve probably already been to the pumpkin patch. Now it’s time to spruce up that squash by carving or decorating it.
You can always go for the simple jack-o'-lantern with triangle eyes and nose and a toothy grin. But there are so many other ways to make your design one-of-a-kind.
A local professional artist has some great ideas for making this holiday tradition fun for all ages.
Jeffi O’Kane is taking advantage of a perfect fall afternoon by getting creative. She spent decades evoking emotion with unique stained glass designs.
"Making a living as a self-employed artist, basically we traded paychecks for quality of life," said Jeffi O'Kane, professional stained glass artist.
Now her days include enjoying time outside on the deck, transforming plain pumpkins into something eye-catching.
"It’s just fun to see these vegetables turn into something so incredible and fun! To me, Halloween is fun!” exclaimed O'Kane.
For Jeffi, the holiday is all about childhood fantasies.
"Well I guess I’m just a kid at heart. I never got enough as a kid," explained O'Kane.
So in retirement, she’s bringing professional artists together to carve pumpkins at the Fayetteville Farmers’ Market every October and give them away. Saturday (Oct. 21) marked the 8th year for this event. But anyone can do it!
"Don’t think that you have to be a trained artist to do this. You don’t have to be trained to have fun!” said O'Kane.
It all starts with picking the perfect pumpkin.
"Make it a little bit more special. Put on a costume so it’s more memorable for your kids," suggested O'Kane.
Then it’s time to get to work, using large knives to cut open the top, a heavy-duty metal spoon to scoop out the seeds and ceramic decorating tools to carve the flesh. And Jeffi stresses patience.
"If you hurry, you’re going to possibly have an accident and that’s something you don’t want to do. These tools are sharp," explained O'Kane.
But you can also buy inexpensive kits at the hobby store that include patterns and hand saws. It’s important to take your time and never put knives in the hands of little kids. But there are lots of other options to jazz it up!
"You can draw, you can paint, you can apply stickers, vegetables. There are just so many alternatives. It’s just playful," said O'Kane.
You can buy multiple pumpkins to try a different approach on each of them and don’t worry about making a mistake.
"I like to tell people, life is not a race, it’s a parade," said O'Kane.
To make your pumpkin glow, Jeffi says you can use anything from a real flame to a $0.50 artificial tea light. And to make sure this flesh doesn’t go bad before Halloween, Jeffi suggests spraying it with a little lemon water. To make it, combine the juice of one lemon with one cup of water in a spray bottle. Also consider notching your pumpkin lid to make it easier fit back together.
"I try for perfection but I know it’s not possible," said O'Kane.
Her biggest recommendation is to just have fun and make it memorable for the whole family!
If you'd like different age-appropriate ideas for kids and adults, watch the web-exclusive video attached to this story below.