Westwood Primary Pumpkins

Westwood Primary students display storybook character pumpkins they created at home with their parents. From left: Andrew Warren, Scarlett Reese, Kayden Langston, Jessa Huddleston, and Ivy Wilcoxson.

Jessa Huddleston beams while talking about her character project. She and her mom painted a six-inch pumpkin eight times before it became glossy yellow like the book, “One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish” by Dr. Seuss.

Huddleston, 6, chose that book because she likes fish and the ocean. Her mom delicately painted red and blue fish last. 

“I had fun with my mom painting it,” she says.

Huddleston was one of 97 students at Westwood Primary School who decorated pumpkins for this month’s character project on creativity. Students read a book at home then used creativity to decorate a pumpkin like the character they read about. 

Counselor Tonya Morris said she wasn’t sure if more than 10 or 12 students would participate, but is pleased that almost 100 of the school’s 350 pre-Kindergarten, Kindergarten, first, and second grade students did.

Now the entire stage in the school’s cafetorium is full of colorful character pumpkins. On Friday, each student can vote on his or her favorite pumpkin, and Morris will award prizes. 

Morris encouraged students to be as creative and use any decorative material. Some made pumpkins with everything from paint and chenille sticks to yarn and hair bows.

Kindergarten student Kayden Langston, 5, decorated his pumpkin to look like Pete the Cat after reading “Pete the Cat and His Magic Sunglasses.”

“I like Pete the Cat,” Langston said. 

Andrew Warren, another kindergarten student, decorated his pumpkin to look like his favorite book, “How Do Dinosaurs Sleep.” 

Scarlett Reese, 6, decorated her pumpkin like Junie B. Jones — with hair made of red yarn. 

“I liked doing the hair,” Reese said.

Ivy Wilcoxson, also 6, decorated her pumpkin to look like a bee after reading the book, “Jill Bee, Bill Bee.”

Character lessons continue throughout the school year. In September, students learned about respect; in November and December they’ll learn about gratitude and empathy. 

Morris said home-based projects provide an opportunity for parents and students to work on something together creatively. Talking about the projects and working and solving problems together encourages childrens’ development.  

“It’s really bringing the students and parents together,” Morris said.

In the meantime, all the students are looking forward to voting for their favorite pumpkin. 

“They’re so excited — they talk about it all the time,” Morris said.

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