Shrunken Apple Heads

This is a very fun activity to do right around Halloween time or as All Souls Day approaches on November 2nd.  While they come out a bit freaky looking, the children absolutely LOVE the idea than an apple can dry out so much that it can last and be turned into a toy.
To begin you will need to peel apples leaving a bit of skin only on the top and bottom.  It is said that green apples work best.  After your apples are peeled, place them inside a container mixed with one part water and one part lemon juice.  This will prevent the apple from turning brown.  Some people want their apples to turn a bit brown for different skin tones.  This is up to you.
Using a utensil of some sort (we used a cheese spreading knife), carve out facial features.  Remember that the apple is going to dry out and shrink inward.  Plan your face accordingly.  Eyes are best done carved out and cheeks are best done left intact with the rest of the face carved out around them.  You can carve out ears and nose as well.  
The next part takes a lot of patience!  We dried our apples out very very slowly over a period of days on a cookie sheet in our oven on very low, approximately 150 degrees.  In the evening, I turned the over off and let the apples air dry and then I turned the oven back on in the morning.  Apples can also be dried out slowly outdoors but molding may occur if the temperature is not just right.
After two or three days of drying, your apple should be ready.  Apples are ready when the skin feels rubbery and without much moisture.  
You can leave your apples this way or keep creating by adding color to the face and even by turning it into an All Souls Apple Doll!  
Beware, these doll faces can be a bit scary so use your judgement on whether or not to dress them up too much depending on the age of your child.  Older children will likely LOVE the scary faces this time of year.  We used little beads and pressed them inside the eye sockets for eyes. 
 And we hot glued on some brown and black embroidery floss for hair.  Let the children design the doll however they like. 
Continuing on, you can even add a body!  We used pipe cleaners and pushed one through the bottom of the apple and then twisted to create arms, a body trunk and legs.  We then wrapped the pipe cleaners with wool and the wrapped yarn on top of everything to keep it all together.  A simple piece of fabric can be added for clothing.  
Your apple doll should stay good for years to come.  

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