If you've ever thought, "I really need to memorialize how adorable my tot's tushie really is," I can assure you that the only reasonable solution is to turn your baby's bum into a pumpkin come autumn and Halloween season. However, you'll need to know how to paint a pumpkin on your baby's butt safely and hygienically — because this isn't exactly something they teach you in the hospital.
In the interest of science, I scoured Pinterest and Instagram for at least an hour in search of the best methods for turning your infant's bottom into a gorgeous gourd. Surprisingly, there isn't a lot of information out there on the how of it, beyond using non-toxic washable paints (like tempera) that dry quickly and won't hurt your baby's delicate tush. You could use a foam brush or traditional synthetic bristles, but you could also use a plain old makeup sponge to stipple your baby's butt dimples orange. Just don't forget the stem, which should reside at the top of your child's booty, between cheeks A and B.
As to the relative safety of this project, the experts Romper contacted were split. "This is a fun and safe way to be festive at home," One Medical pediatrician Dr. Sara Huberman Carbone, M.D., tells Romper. "I would recommend using non-toxic, washable paint such as tempera or finger paints, plus washing off the paint as soon as possible to minimize any risks of exposure to chemicals. It's a good idea to test the paint on a small patch of the baby's skin to ensure the infant is not sensitive to the paint prior to covering their bottom."
But others aren't convinced of the safety. "As a mom, I love cute photo ops for babies. But as a doctor, the odds of skin irritation are very high," pediatrician Dr. Amna Husain, M.D., IBCLC, tells Romper. "Babies' allergies and susceptibility to irritation are so unknown."
So proceed with caution. And if you're going to carry on with the activity, I cannot stress the need for non-toxic paint hard enough. If you're decorating your baby's bare derriere, you must take every reasonable precaution to ensure that no harm will come to one of their most delicate areas and that you're smart about it (test a small area to see if they have a reaction to the paint first). The last thing you want when you're just looking for a cute picture (for that scrapbook that you swear you'll get to just as soon as you can) is to inadvertently harm your child.
You could also try using something other than paint — something natural like blended sweet potatoes or carrots, or even pumpkin puree from a can for something that's non-toxic, natural, and the perfect orange.
There are a few ways to go at this if you're so inclined. The first is what I like to refer to as the "dip and dab" method. Get a paper plate and paint a thick layer of paint in a vague approximation of a pumpkin. Hold your baby as you would if you were also skilled at elimination communication (or you've just watched videos in morbid fascination), with their knees and legs up and away from their body, so the only thing hitting the paint is their booty. Then, just paint on the stem in green, and your baby's rump is a perfect pumpkin. If you want to memorialize it forever, you can try this tutorial and use your baby's pumpkin butt as a stamp to make a "bumpkin" painting plate.
If your baby is less squiggly, use either a soft bristle brush or disposable foam brush to Picasso a pumpkin on your little dumpling. If you're feeling super artsy, might I suggest a Van Gogh-style bum pumpkin? Lots of little strokes of different colors of oranges. Hey, if it makes your little one laugh, you might as well go bananas with it, right?
Also, missed opportunity alert: Why haven't I seen any family holiday Halloween photos where everyone's butt is a pumpkin? I mean, my dimply behind might lend itself to a more heirloom style of pumpkin, but it's doable. OK, maybe not mine, but I honestly can't believe there isn't a goofy dad out there willing to do this with their child. Imagine the horror on your child's future face as you regale their friends with the story of how that one Halloween you painted their booty and made a print of it to hang in the house. It could be glorious.
This article was originally published on Oct. 25, 2017