Saturday, September 30, 2017

Build a Jack-O-Lantern with Google Slides

Last winter I posted my "Build a Snowman" activity which was a load of fun and learning for students all over. Now with Fall here, it is time to carve a pumpkin into a Jack-O-Lantern!

You can do this with this fun, and educational, Google Slides activity. This is a great way for students to be creative and to work on their writing skills by describing or writing about their Jack-O-Lantern.

Here’s how:
  • Make a copy of the Google Slides "Build a Jack-O-Lantern" template, found further down in the blog post.
  • The template has a blank pumpkin and several slides full of items to add to your Jack-O-Lantern including eyes, mouths, hats, arms, feet, and more.
  • Copy and paste the items to build your Jack-O-Lantern.
  • If you need different pictures, you can search for more.
  • You can even add or draw your own shapes as needed.
  • When done building, write about your Jack-O-Lantern in the textbox. You can describe it, tell a story about it, or explain who it is.
  • When all done you can download a picture of your Jack-O-Lantern and writing to share with others.
See below to get your own copy of the template, as well as more detailed directions on how to do the activity.

Get a copy of the template

This activity is created with Google Slides. To get your own copy of the template simple click the link below.

Your students can click this link to get their own copy, or you can use Google Classroom to push out a copy of the template to each of your students.

What’s in the template

The Google Slide template has multiple parts for the activity. These include:

Slide 1 - The title slide

Slides 2-4 - A brief set of directions

Slide 5 - The blank pumpkin. This is where you will build your Jack-O-Lantern and where you will write about them.

Slides 6 through 13 - Items for building your Jack-O-Lantern. These slides contain images that you can copy and paste onto your blank Jack-O-Lantern. The items are grouped on the slides by topic including Eyes, Mouths, Arms, Feet, and Hats.

Building your Jack-O-Lantern

To build your Jack-O-Lantern, simply copy and paste images from the items slides onto your blank pumpkin. You can copy and paste in several ways.

To copy an item:

  • Click on the picture and press “Ctrl” and “C
  • Or click on the picture and click “Edit” then “Copy” in the top menu bar.
  • Or right-click on the picture and choose “Copy” from the pop-up menu.

To paste an item, go to the pumpkin slide and:

  • Press “Ctrl” and “V
  • Or click “Edit” then “Paste” in the top menu bar.
  • Or right-click and choose “Paste” from the pop-up menu.

Once your item has been pasted in you can adjust it in many ways:

  • Drag and drop it to move it around.
  • Press the arrow keys on your keyboard to move it around.
  • Hold down the “Shift” key and press the arrow keys on your keyboard to move it one pixel at a time.
  • Click and drag the blue circle on top of the image to rotate the image if needed.
  • Click “Arrange” in the top menu bar, then “Rotate” and “Flip horizontally” or “Flip vertically” if needed.
  • Click and drag the corners of the image to change its size if desired.
  • Click “Image options” in the top menu bar, and then “Recolor” to adjust the color (works better for lighter colors).

Adding your own images

Although the template provides a large variety of items to use for your Jack-O-Lantern, you may still want to add some more of your own. You can add more images as follows:

  • Click “Insert” in the top menu bar, then click “Image”.
  • You can add an image in several ways including “Upload” or from your “Google Drive” or with a “Search
  • If you use the “Search” option, you may want to choose “Clip art” from the “Any type” drop down menu to limit your results to clip art style pictures.

Adding other shapes

Since Jack-O-Lanterns often have geometric shapes cut out of them, you can also do this by adding a wide variety of shapes from the "Shapes" menu in Google Slides.

  • Click "Insert" then "Shape" then choose the shape you want.
  • Drag to create the shape.
  • Rotate and resize as needed.
  • Color with the "Fill color" tool.

Drawing your own shapes

If you want, you can also draw your own shapes to be as creative as you want. You can do this by using the "Polyline" tool in Google Slides.

  • Click "Insert" then "Line" then "Polyline".
  • Click endpoints to create the shape.
  • Color with the "Fill color" tool.

Writing about your Jack-O-Lantern

When you are done creating your Jack-O-Lantern, now you will want to write about it. You can type in the textbox to the right of your Jack-O-Lantern to enter your own writing. This could include:

  • A description of your Jack-O-Lantern.
  • A story about your Jack-O-Lantern.
  • An explanation of who your Jack-O-Lantern is and/or what he or she does.
  • Be sure to include your name at the bottom of your writing.

Downloading your Jack-O-Lantern

When you are completely done, you can download a picture of your Jack-O-Lantern and your writing as follows:

  • Make sure you are on the slide that has your completed Jack-O-Lantern and your writing.
  • Click “File” in the top menu bar.
  • Choose “Download as” from the drop-down menu.
  • Choose “PNG image” from the sub-menu.
  • This will download an image of just the slide you are on and not any of the rest of the slideshow.

You can now share your image in several ways:
  • Email it to someone.
  • Turn it in through Google Classroom.
  • Post it on your class website.
  • Share it through social media.
  • Combine it with others to make a new slideshow with everyone’s creations.


The “Build a Jack-O-Lantern” Google Slides activity can be a great way to let kids be creative and to improve their writing at the same time. One of the great things about creativity, is you never know what students will come up with. Feel free to email me images of your students’ creations. I would love to see what they make and will be glad to share some examples here to inspire others.

Post by Eric Curts. Bring me to your school, organization, or conference with over 50 PD sessions to choose from. Connect with me on Twitter at and on Google+ at


  1. Here's the French version:

  2. This is a great resource! Thank you so much for sharing it!!

  3. This is great! Thanks so much for sharing it with us. :)

  4. Thank you so much for sharing. What grade level do you think could manage this?

  5. Greatwork. Sharing this with the Elementary teams that I coach.

  6. This is awesome! How did you insert the clip showing how to find the shapes tool in slide 3?

  7. Thanks so much for this! I am working on getting my 1st graders up and running on their google accounts and this would be a fun first project!

  8. While I am a HS Math teacher, this creates many ideas in my head of how I can use this concept, I LOVE IT! I run a paperless Geometry Classroom and I think there are many ideas that are now starting begin in my head. What a great idea!

  9. Great idea! I will have this ready for 2-5 tech. class - thank you for sharing!

  10. this is great! thank you for sharing!!!

  11. How difficult are these to make? I LOVE it and want to use it for my classes this month, but need an alternative for the kids that don't celebrate holidays. I was thinking like decorate a fall tree, or just a fall scene. Ideas or tips for someone just getting started?? the clip art decorations where do you get those?

    1. I have adjusted it... mine will be pumpkin harvest escape... the pumpkin is trying to escape being harvested and turned into a pie. Students will alter their pumpkins, my example will be giving it legs to run away.

    2. Thanks for the idea of a Pumpkin Harvest Escape - it gives a wider context. Halloween is not such a big thing here in NZ

    3. How do change the background of the slides to get rid of the Halloween clipart?

  12. Thank you Eric and merci Pierre pour la version fran├žaise!!

  13. Thank you Eric! Brilliant idea!
    Merci Pierre pour la version fran├žaise!!

  14. This has been such a great lesson for my students. They have absolutely loved doing this. I have even turned it into a stop animation with my 5th graders. They love having the Jack-O-Lantern moving about the slides!! Thank you so much.

  15. This is great! I can't wait to use it this week! Thank you!