Aging Parents: Quick Halloween Surprises for Seniors (In or Out of Nursing Homes)

Halloween is upon us. And aging parents, like everyone else, no doubt remember their childhood and the fun they had trick-or-treating. For adults, the fun is usually going out with grandchildren. Yet an unexpected, decorated pumpkin may lift the spirits, whether older parents are in nursing homes or are the bobbing-for-apples, trying-to-ride-a-broomstick type.

Pumpkin prices get lower as Halloween nears.  And pumpkins need not have a perfect shape–in fact the larger pumpkin (above) is quite lopsided.

You only need a big skewer, a thinner turkey skewer (to poke holes for the tender stems), whatever flowers you have in the garden, something to cut them with, and a glue gun.  The entire process (minus pumpkin purchasing) takes about 15 minutes.

If you find a creature on sale (pharmacies are no doubt the best bet now–probably near the candy section…at least that’s where I found the little scarecrows today), glue-gun it on the top.  Then use your creativity.  I bought a plant at Trader Joe’s with the larger of the chrysanthemums, then cut two blooms from the center for the larger pumpkin.  The plant looks undisturbed–perfect on our coffee table later that day.

After decorating the first pumpkin three years ago, I learned the flowers actually lasted as long as some bouquets (because of the moisture trapped inside the pumpkin).  It was so much easier than carving a pumpkin–at least for me–and the elderly couple I took it to still talk about it.

I’m off to take them the larger pumpkin.  Tomorrow the smaller one goes to an elderly woman who lives alone.   Happy Halloween.

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