More Madeline Fun
Make-Your-Own Pumpkin Pie Play Dough

Big Pumpkin

by Erica Silverman
Illustrated by S.D. Schindler

A delightful, cumulative story with text that is rhythmic and repetitive, your young reader will eagerly chime in as Big Pumpkin is enjoyed many times during the Halloween season. A group of fun, not-so-scary Halloween characters learn how to cooperate, share and listen to each other before celebrating the haunting holiday with delicious pumpkin pie. Illustrations by S.D. Schindler give the book just enough spookiness to be fun but not at all scary for even the youngest reader. 


In this Issue


Cooking a Pie Pumpkin

Cooking your own sugar or pie pumpkin for puree is useful for several of our recipes, like Pumpkin Pie with Cinnamon Oat Crust, and Pumpkin-Peanut Butter Soup. Although not quite as easy as opening a can of pumpkin, homemade puree has a brighter, fresher taste. The process is especially easy when you use the microwave! For more cooking options, the Pick Your Own site has a wonderful step-by-step process for cooking your own pumpkin
  1. Wash and dry the pumpkin.
    Pie Pumpkin
  2. Using a large knife, cut pumpkin in half.  Cooking a Pie Pumpkin
  3. Use a tablespoon to scrap out the seeds and stringy parts. Turn the seeds into a delicious snack by roasting them.
    Cooking a Pie Pumpkin

  4. Place pumpkin halves in a very large microwavable bowl, and add a few inches of water.
  5. Microwave for 10 minutes. Use a fork to see if it is tender. If not, continue to cook in 5-minute increments.
    Cooking a Pie Pumpkin
  6. Scoop out the cooked pumpkin (or remove the skin; it should slide off easily) and place in a blender or food processor. Puree until smooth. (We were able to process half of the pumpkin at a time.) 
    Cooking a Pie Pumpkin
  7. Refrigerate until ready to use. 


Pumpkin Pie with Cinnamon-Oat Crust

The witch in Big Pumpkin makes her own pumpkin pie from the pumpkin she grew herself. This pie has a cinnamon laced oatmeal crust that is heart healthy, fun for little hands to pat in place in the pie plate and bakes up to kid friendly texture – no soggy crust here! Add an antioxidant rich pumpkin filling and you have an autumn dessert sure to please everyone.

Pumpkin Pie

Pumpkin Pie with Cinnamon-Oatmeal Crust

For Crust

  • 1 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup white whole wheat flour
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup applesauce
  • 2 tablespoons water

For Filling

  • 1 3/4 cup cooked and cooled pumpkin
  • 2 eggs
  • 12 oz. can fat-free evaporated milk
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup honey
  1. Heat oven to 425 degrees F.  
  2. Mix together oats, flour, brown sugar, salt, and cinnamon.
  3. Add applesauce and water, and stir until a dough forms.
  4. Pat crust dough into a 9-inch pie plate. Make sure crust comes up the sides to the top.
  5. Bake crust for 7 to 9 minutes, or until lightly browned.
  6. In a large bowl, mix together all filling ingredients until well combined.
  7. Lower oven temperature to 350 degrees F.
  8. Pour pumpkin filling into baked crust.
  9. Bake for 60 minutes, or until center is set and a knife inserted in the center comes out clean. The baking process varies greatly depending on your oven. It can take up to 90 minutes!
  10. Let cool and enjoy!

Pumpkin Patch Painting

Pumpkin Patch Painting


  • Newspaper for covering painting area
  • White construction paper
  • orange tempera paint
  • items for making texture in the paint – plastic utensils, old toothbrush, pieces of crumpled plastic wrap, etc.
  • scissors
  • glue
  • crayons

Parent Preparation

  1. Cover the painting area with newspaper.
  2. Set out 3-4 sheets of white construction paper on the newspaper, a container of orange paint, paintbrushes, and texture tools.

Step One

  1. Painting is always fun and this project is all about thick, wet paint. Ask your reader to completely cover a sheet of paper with orange paint and then go back and use the texture tools in the wet paint. The key is for the paint to be thick enough for the texture to show up. Again, there is no right or wrong outcome so just enjoy the process!
  2. Allow the paint to dry completely, probably overnight due to the thickness of the tempera.

Step Two

Ask you reader to use a black crayon to draw large pumpkins on the orange painted paper. Odd shaped circles are great! Add stems and any other details your reader might think of to complete the Big Pumpkin patch.

  Pumpkin Patch Painting - Big Pumpkin - Erica Silverman - Off the Shelf


Pumpkin Pie Playdough

Pumpkin Pie Playdough - Big Pumpkin - Erica Silverman - Off the Shelf

Pumpkin Pie Playdough - Big Pumpkin - Erica Silverman - Off the Shelf

Pumpkin Pie Playdough - Big Pumpkin - Erica Silverman - Off the Shelf


Pumpkin Pie Playdough


  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup salt
  • 1 tablespoon cream of tartar
  • 2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon cooking oil
  • 1 cup water
  • 6 drops red food coloring
  • 15 drops yellow food coloring


  1. In a medium saucepan, mix the flour, salt cream of tarter, pumpkin pie spice, and cinnamon.
  2. Add the oil, water, and food colorings and stir until smooth.
  3. Cook, stirring constantly, over medium heat until it forms a ball. It will get very lumpy, but it will all come together. It takes about 5-8 minutes.
  4. Let cool. Knead until smooth.
  5. Play!



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