DIY Glow In The Dark Pumpkins {And How I’m Learning To Embrace The Messes}

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As a mom of two boys I’ve accepted that my life is full of messes. From muddy cleats to painted masterpieces to milk dribbles down their chins, it’s just became a part of my life. (I often joke that my kids, especially Lucas, can make a mess out of anything.)

If you are a regular reader here you probably already know that I have a type-a personality so it should come as no surprise that messes drive me crazy. With that said, I’ve really been working to accept that messes come with being a mom and allow my boys to make more messes (which is so much easier for me to do now that they can help clean them up lol). I’ll be honest though, it took a long time for me to embrace the messes. I didn’t just birth kids and immediately appreciate the messes they brought with.

As much as I typically have avoided messes though, for some reason, when it comes to kid activities I typically tend to pick the messiest crafts and activities I can. (It’s probably due to all the years I spent as a preschool teacher!) There’s something about messy play that gets kids excited and I just love seeing their faces light up when they realize that the adult in their life is not only going to allow them to make a mess but they are encouraging them to do so. This weekend’s activity? Making glow in the dark pumpkins! I had been wanting to do this with my boys since I painted a pretty galaxy pumpkin last fall. While I designed a neat polka dotted pumpkin, my boys couldn’t resist squeezing as much paint as possible on to their pumpkins in an effort to make “slime” pumpkins.

It was hard to resist showing them how to gently squeeze the paint tube in order to make a Pinterest perfect pumpkin but I took a deep breath and I let them decorate the pumpkins their way. And they used a LOT of paint. A lot. I’m pretty sure they are going to take days to dry but they had fun creating something with their mom so that is all that matters. Every year, when we pull out these pumpkins in the fall, they will remember that time their mom spent with them and I will remember their giggles as the almost empty paint tube made sounds when they squeezed it. This is what is important. If I had been worried about the mess the whole time I would have completely missed these moments of joy.

Of course I still went into the activity prepared and was ready for the mess since I know my boys. We had bought a large box of Huggies® One and Done® Wipes from Sam’s Club and kept them nearby during the whole activity. I like these wipes because they come in smaller soft packs with an  EZ Pull® Dispenser that makes getting wipes out of the package easy, even when I’m trying to do so one handed. The wipes themselves are thick, have a pleasant scent and feature Huggies’ Triple Clean Layers that clean up messes without a lot of scrubbing.

(Hover over the photo above to click through to Samsclub.com where you can buy these wipes to make sure you are prepared for your next messy activity!)

My boys may be 8 and 9 years old but I still find many uses for wipes and always have packs around my home and in my car. Sure enough, they came in handy for this messy activity. From wiping off “mistakes” on my pumpkin to wiping drips off the ground to cleaning messy hands (and legs and wherever else the paint ended up), I was happy we had them (and so was Lucas as you can see below lol).

Anyways, enough talk about the messes…let’s get to the fun I promised :) This DIY is so easy and really doesn’t require much. You’ll need glow in the dark paints (I used fabric paints) and a pumpkin to paint. I chose ceramic pumpkins but you can use fake foam pumpkins or even real pumpkins for this activity.

In addition, you can use paintbrushes to nicely spread the paint on but I discovered my kids just preferred to glob it on the pumpkins. (Slime is the big thing nowadays isn’t it?)

How you paint the pumpkin will depend on your design.

Lucas created chunks of colors on his pumpkin while Jacob was (I think) trying to create rings of color around his.

For my polka dot pumpkin, I made dots in one section at a time, making a few dots in one color before switching to another color to make three more dots, and so on before I moved to the next section.

I was going to leave the stem unpainted but decided to paint stripes on it. I just started at the base of the stem and painted around the stem with one color and then added more colors above that, making a rainbow like design.

Once you are happy with your design let it dry and then expose it to sunlight for a few hours so that it will glow! Just a note- if it doesn’t glow very brightly it just needs more sunlight. Expose it to direct sunlight for a few more hours.

The boys and I had so much fun painting our pumpkins (and even more fun seeing them glow in a dark room)!

Want to recreate these? Don’t forget to head to your local Sam’s Club to buy the giant box of Huggies One & Done wipes for the messes that are guaranteed to happen when you combine kids and paint :) (Also, FYI- get $8 off the purchase of any 2 Huggies products, valid 8/23 – 9/17 or while supplies last, at Sam’s Club.)

I love shopping at my local club because I can buy in bulk which means less trips to the store. They also have club pickup which means you can shop online and everything is ready for pickup when you arrive. This is an awesome service for busy moms who don’t want to wander the aisles with kids in tow.

If you make this Halloween craft I’d love to see your glow in the dark pumpkins so please tag me on Twitter (@aliciamarie112) or share with me on Facebook! Remember- have fun and embrace the mess!

Comments

  1. Jen Temcio says:

    I love this idea for kids to decorate pumpkins when they are too young to carve. It is funny…my youngest is 14 and I still buy wipes regularly to keep in the car and home to clean hands and messes!

  2. Jeanette says:

    I can have a hard time with letting the kids make a mess also! I know I need to let them at times but I need to clean it up pretty quickly. I think we will do something like this for Halloween. I like the glow-in-the-dark.

  3. These look like they would be super-fun for kids to make. And yes, sometimes you just have to embrace the mess! Having the wipes nearby would help make it a little easier to do so.

  4. This is the coolest thing ever! I need to do this with the kids for Halloween. I think they’d make the best decorations.

  5. Vera Sweeney says:

    I know what I’m going to be making a metric ton of with the kids for Halloween! Those look absolutely amazing. I can’t wait!

  6. Dawn Lopez says:

    I think this glow in the dark painting idea is so cute for pumpkin parties! We have pumpkin carving parties and we let the little ones paint instead of carve. This would be a fresh idea to try. We’ll have to stock up on the wipes first too!

  7. Liz Mays says:

    Aww, what a cute project! These are going to be such awesome decorations!

  8. Amy Desrosiers says:

    Wow, this is such a cute idea for Halloween. I need to try this DIY with my kids too!

  9. What a fun idea! I know my kids would get such a kick out of these!

  10. What a cool pumpkin idea! This would be perfect on my front porch for Halloween or fall decorations. Good call on having so many Huggies on hand! You def need them! :) #client

  11. Claudia Krusch says:

    This is such a cute idea to decorate pumpkins. I will have to grab some supplies to make some for Halloween. Huggies One and Done Wipes are great for cleanups. I always keep some in the car for emergencies.

  12. Kathy says:

    Those look like so much fun! I would love to do this with my girls. I know they would really love it as well.

  13. kristin says:

    Fun!! What a fun and simple way to have some afternoon fun, I totally want to try these!

  14. krystal says:

    I am loving that neon paint! I am going to have to try this with my kiddo.

  15. This is really cool! I love this idea! Will try this for Fall decorations this year!

  16. Stacie says:

    What a cute project for the fall. The boys look like they enjoyed it. Wipes can be used for so much more than baby bums.

  17. Jayda says:

    Hiya,

    Love this – Thank you!
    Where did you get your ceramic pumpkins from?

    Than

    • Alicia Marie says:

      Thanks! :) I found them at Hobby Lobby in the seasonal section where the kids seasonal craft supplies are but any pumpkins should work for this (including real or foam ones).

  18. Karen says:

    Awww. I wanted to see the “slime pumpkins” glowing.

    • Alicia Marie says:

      lol the boys used SO much paint that they were still drying and I didn’t want to hold a wet pumpkin in a dark room :)

      • hippo says:

        Did the slime pumpkins dry yet? How long did they take to dry? I know my son will be putting a lot on as well. Lol.

        • Alicia Marie says:

          Yes, they are all dry now :) lol. I let them sit for a few days to dry. If your child doesn’t gob it on it should only take a day or two. You could even just put the paint on a paper plate and let them use a paintbrush so they don’t use as much in one spot and then it should really just take a day.

  19. Cristy says:

    OMG I can totally relate to this. Such a hard challenge. Impressed how you embraced it. What a cool project. I did the same campaign and we made decorated pumpkins as well.

    Cristy

    http://www.happyfamilyblog.com

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