I grabbed some black pumpkins from Michaels so I could make them for some of Bella's buddies too. Then I propped them up on small glass bowls so that I could get to as much surface area as possible.
The chalkboard paint was about $14 from Lowe's, but I only used a TINY amount, so if you can chip in with others to share the cost of the paint, it would be good.
Use a foam brush so that you get a very thin (VERY THIN) coat of chalkboard paint on the surface.
Let it dry and repeat...as many times as possible.
I had three pumpkins, so I would paint each one and by the time I finished, I could flip them over and paint the again. So half the time I was covering the top and middle of the pumpkin and the other half I was covering the bottom and the middle. SO the middle got tons of coats (which is where the kids will decorate them the most anyway) and the top and the bottom got about half as many.
We were watching TV, so I didn't actually count the coats, but the middle probably got at least 8 thin coats.
The only difference in appearance after you paint them (if you buy them black already) is that they aren't as shiny after they are painted.
I let them dry for at least 48 hours. In order to prime the chalkboard surface, I covered it in chalk and then wiped it down. The purpose of this is to give the surface an even coat of chalk dust. If you don't do this, you risk having the first thing you draw on there being permanently there in the background...like if you didn't have a screensaver on and left a picture on the computer screen too long.
This is the same picture from the top, you can see the nice even coat of dust and an un-primed one next to it.
Now you can hand it over to the kiddos. You can write messages on it, or draw jack-o-lantern faces. Let the kids get creative!
If you make one, be sure to send me pictures of your creations!