{Toddler Explorations} Coffee Filter Jack-o-Lanterns

Can I admit something to you? I'm not really big on decorating for holidays. I mean, I want to be big on decorating and I always intend on doing these creative fantastic projects, but very rarely to they actually come to fruition. This was true even before Silas was born, so I know he's not totally to blame. I do want it to become part of our rhythm, though, so holiday themed this-and-that is starting to make an appearance around here.

We have absolutely no Halloween decorations. None. This isn't really too surprising as I'm not entirely sure yet how I feel about Halloween. I love the dressing up, but everything else is kinda...meh. But when I see the innocent enthusiasm and the absolute delight in Silas' eyes when he talks about carving pumpkins or how many days are left until Halloween? It's hard not to get excited.

I wanted to make something Jack-o-Lantern-ish with him, but I also wanted to keep it as open-ended as possible. Ever since our Color Fizz experiment he has been obsessed with "squeezies," so I thought a variation on the Coffee Filter Bunting we did this summer would be perfect.

The invitation was a stack of flattened coffee filters (10 was plenty to hold his interest), a cup each of red and yellow (liquid watercolors diluted in water) with a pipette for each, all on a plastic tray.

He loves the pipettes. He asks for them almost every day. He also loves to pour. He did, in fact, dump all of the liquid out onto a single filter. Luckily the tray was there to catch it all and I just poured it back into the cup and he continued to squeeze away, happily.

I didn't tell him what we were making. My hope was that he would simply experience mixing colors, rather than trying to "make" anything. 

We laid them flat to dry and came back to them a couple days later.

I pre-cut the Jack-o-Lantern parts. I glued them up and he stuck them on. He wasn't happy with my cookie-cutter faces, though, and insisted that I made a "surprised" face and then a "nervous" face. And then a face with glasses. The stems were also completely his idea.

Having already carved our real-pumpkin Jack-o-Lantern and having it join us as our dinner centerpiece for the past week, Silas is very familiar with the idea of them being lit from within. He asked how we were going to light these. Shortly after we hung them in the windows, the sun began to set and made them glow orange. "Light!"

Silas is 2.5 years old.


  1. These are super-duper cute! You have such clever ideas! Thanks for sharing.

  2. I'm not too big on Halloween either. It can be very innocent and fun with simple decorations, but people tend to really go crazy with the trashy scary stuff. And since its really just a candy marketing fest, I don't plan on encouraging it with my daughter.