Give each of your children two paper plates to use for making a pumpkin. Have the children paint the backs of their plates orange. When the paint has dried, staple each child’s plates together, orange sides out, with a green construction paper stem attached between the plates. Then let the children glue black construction paper triangles onto their pumpkins to create jack-o’-lantern faces.

Cut-Paper Lanterns: Hand out pieces of light colored construction paper and invite your children to decorate them on one side with crayons or markers. Then show the children how to use their papers to make a lantern. Start by folding a paper in half lengthwise so that the designs are on the outside. Along the fold, make cuts at about 1-inch intervals to about 1 inch from the loose sides. Open the paper and glue or tape the two short sides together to make a “diamond-shaped” lantern. To complete, glue or tape on a construction paper handle.
 Simple Paper Lanterns: Let the children use crayons or markers to decorate pieces of construction paper. To make each child’s lantern, roll his or her paper into a cylinder, with the design side facing out, and tape or glue the two short sides together. Add a construction paper handle to complete.

FIVE JACK-O’-LANTERNS  (Math/Language)
Make five felt jack-o’-lanterns out of orange and black felt and place them on a flannelboard. Then let your children take turns removing the jack-o’-lanterns as you recite the rhyme below.

Five jack-o’-lanterns sitting by the door,
(Isaac) took one away and that left four.
Four jack-o’-lanterns, what a sight to see!
(Bella) took one away and that left three.
 Three jack-o’-lanterns smiling just for you,
(Audrey) took one away and that left two.
Two jack-o’-lanterns, oh, what fun!
(Noah) took one away and that left one.
One jack-o’-lantern—our game is almost done.
(Runar) took one away and that left none.
                              Elizabeth Scofield

Repeat the rhyme until each child has had a turn.
LANTERN FUN  (Science/Language/Music)
Bring in a battery operated camper lantern. Explain that a lantern is a light that can be carried from place to place and that shines out over a wide area. In olden days, candles were usually used to light lanterns; today lanterns are mainly battery operated and are used for outdoor camping or other times when no electricity is available. Ask questions such as, “How are lanterns different from flashlights? How are they the same? How are lanterns different from electric lamps?” Then turn on the camper lantern, dim the lights, and invite the children to sit around it as you tell stories or sing songs. 

The most popular lantern for lighting up the night in October is definitely the jack-o’-lantern. Once you have chosen a pumpkin, let your children help draw a face on one side, using a washable marker. Use a knife to open the top of the pumpkin and invite the children to help scoop out the pulp and seeds (save the seeds to roast and eat for a snack). Then carve out the jack-o’-lantern’s facial features. When your jack-o’-lantern is complete, light it with a candle for adult-supervised short-term viewing. Or insert a battery operated light for safe long-term viewing.

LANTERN PARADE  (Movement/Music)
Have your children line up, holding their decorated lanterns from the “Paper Lanterns” activity, above. Choose one child to be the leader. Then play music—or sing the song “Lanterns, Lanterns,” below—and invite the children to follow the leader as they parade around the room. Stop now and then to choose a new leader until every child has had a turn.

Tune: “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star”

Lanterns, lanterns, oh, so bright,
Shining, shining in the night.
We just love to see you glow.
Light our pathway as we go.
Lanterns, lanterns, oh, so bright,
Shining, shining in the night.
                          Liz Ryerson

LANTERN SNACKS  (Food Preparation)
Make a lantern for each child by poking two holes opposite each other near the top edge of a small clear-plastic cup and twisting on a chenille stem handle. (Be sure to remove any rough edges around the holes.) Let your children help make lemon gelatin, and then pour the mixture into a shallow pan. When set, cut the gelatin into small cubes. Then have the children “light” their lanterns by spooning in the yellow gelatin.