It occurred to me today, as I was carving out my very first pumpkin with my little ones, that for a normal household, this activity would probably be a one evening activity, that lasts maybe a few hours. For us, its a week-long activity that looks something like this:
Day 1 and 2: Talk about pumpkins, picking out pumpkins, look at pictures of pumpkins, talk about decorating them and draw some. Pick out pumpkins while driving etc..Locate a small shop/greenhouse/local store that is quiet, away from the road, and sells pumpkins (Sometimes this is harder than it sounds)Let the kids know that this year they'll be getting pumpkins to decorate. Give them a good heads up about what is expected, and what it will be like.
Day 3: Take girls to pick out pumpkins - expect to stay a while. Also expect crazy excitement, lots changed minds about pumpkin picking decisions, for people to stare, for your nerves to be shot and for your "Momma-cam" hawkeyedness to be in full effect. Let the girls know that they will be decorating the pumpkins, but not today. Trust me, you've all had enough excitement for one day, and if you take the time to tell them (again and again), it will be ok with them because they'll still get to decorate them in the foreseeable future.
Day 4: Carve the first pumpkin - let them pick out the design, help them poke the little dots into the pumpkin skin to cut it out, dig out the guts of the pumpkin etc. When finished, let them know that you'll carve the next pumpkin tomorrow.
Day 5: Repeat day 4 with pumpkin 2.
Day 6: Have them draw THE PUMPKINS THEY MADE.
Day 7: Light the pumpkins for them to see. Go over safety with pumpkins, no touching, walking by, playing with etc.. Take pictures of the great pumpkins and the wonderful kids who made them.
So as you can see, it can be easily done - but you may ask "Why doesn't she just give them the damn pumpkins and have them carved and everything all at once?! It would save time!!" - Indeed, it would. But if I did it all at once with my kids, who get overload at most of the things we consider "simple" - like going to the store, getting on the bus or being asked to two things at the same time - doing our "pumpkin thing" all in one go, would likely overload them, and not be enjoyable for them or me. Its interesting the things you find you're considering and thinking through more thoroughly when your kids enjoyment of "simple" tasks depends upon your abilities to judge their tolerance to sensory overload.
On a completely different note, Winnie has decided to be the impossible costume of the year.. has anyone ever seen BAT WINGS anywhere? I see fairy wings of all shapes and sizes.. but no pointy bat wings anywhere... I may have to make some from cardboard and string... Ah, the things I never knew I was capeable of until I had children. For instance, now, I'm crafty! (Not really "am" - more of "can be" really..) Necessity is certainly the mother of all invention!