Paper pumpkins

You can put away your carving knife to create this pumpkin to add to your Halloween decorations. (Paul Tople/Akron Beacon Journal/MCT)

Fall is here.

All of a sudden, the air seems crisper, the leaves on the sugar maples are turning orange and pumpkins have popped up in crates at roadside vegetable stands and local grocery stores.

It's my favorite time of year when this part of the Earth gets ready for its winter slumber and people start thinking about and planning for Halloween and Thanksgiving and winter holidays.

Why, I even heard a disc jockey announce there are fewer than 100 days until Christmas. Now that's rushing things a bit.

Actually, fall is a wonderful time to savor the great outdoors, when produce is plenty and foliage is at its peak. It's the absolute best time for a hike or bike ride.

There are many fancy ways to carve pumpkins these days, with stencils and special cutting tools. It seems like the old ways of cutting out triangular features and jagged smiles are out of style.

But this pumpkin made with a few supplies you already have and using directions I found at www.crayola.com/crafts/ is a decoration that can be made in an afternoon. I modified the instructions for our use.

Supplies you will need:
  • Orange and green construction paper
  • Toilet paper roll
  • Fast-grabbing tacky glue
  • Crayons
  • Scissors
  • Ruler
  • Pencil

Color an orange piece of construction paper with browns, reds, greens and browns to layer on different fall colors.

Make marks using a ruler and pencil at every 1/2-inch on both long sides of the paper. Connect the marks from side to side with straight lines drawn with a ruler.

Cut the paper into strips at the lines.

To make the pumpkin core, cut and glue a piece of green paper to fit around the toilet paper roll. Let dry for a few minutes.

Glue a few strips into one end of the central core and let dry slightly. Continue this process until the entire top of the core is filled evenly with paper strips. Let dry.

Gently curl the end of each strip around and down so it can be glued to the bottom of the core. Each strip bows out, creating a round pumpkin. Glue each one at a time. Fill in empty spaces with more strips and let dry.

Cut a piece of green construction paper into a cylinder and fold it like an accordion. Open the paper and draw brown lines at the folds with a crayon. Insert it into the top of the core. Glue in place.

Cut some green leaves and glue them between the strips and the stem.

If you have a craft idea or question, contact Kathy Antoniotti, Akron Beacon Journal, P.O. Box 640, Akron, Ohio 44309-0640; 330-996-3565; or via e-mail at kantoniotti@thebeaconjournal.com.

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