Make an Apple Turkey for Thanksgiving

Apple Turkey--A Thanksgiving Craft for Dads and Kids
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One of our family's favorite Thanksgiving traditions is having each family member make an apple turkey.

I'm not sure where we came up with the idea for an apple turkey.  I'm guessing that we saw it at someone's home one Thanksgiving time.  But it has stuck with our family as a Thanksgiving tradition for many years.  Sometimes our Thanksgiving dinner guests have looked a little sideways at these little guys, wondering exactly what they are and why we made them, but once we sit them down with all of the pieces and get them involved, all of the children who get to make them love the creativity, the color and the way the little turkeys look on the table.

The general idea of apple turkeys is that we create something that - at least generally - resembles a turkey out of an apple, various kinds of candy and toothpicks.  They look really cute and can be customized by children, grandchildren, niece and nephews to their hearts' content.   These apple turkeys give the kids a chance to use their own creativity and ingenuity to make a creature that represents them and their own unique personality (or at least uses their favorite candies in a fun way).   

While mom is busy in the kitchen - or, in an extended family dinner while many people are busy in the kitchen or in setting the Thanksgiving dinner table, I gather the kids with me and make this fun and easy craft, which is fun to make and even more fun to eat at the end of the day.   Apple turkeys have been a long standing tradition at our house for Thanksgiving Day.

Difficulty: Easy

Time Required: About 15 minutes

Here's How:

  1. Take one large red delicious apple and lay it on its side, with the smaller end to the right.
  2. On the right end (smaller end of the apple), insert five toothpicks in a fan-type arrangement.
  3. On the left (larger end of the apple), insert a toothpick even with the center toothpick on the opposite end.
  1. On each toothpick of the fan you created on the smaller end of the apple, slide small colored marshmallows so that they look like feathers.
  2. Take a large marshmallow which will be the head of the turkey, and using the end of scissors or a small pocket knife, cut two small slits for eyes, one for a beak and one on the bottom of the marshmallow for the turkey wattle (the little red dangling thing).
  3. Put two chocolate chips with the pointed ends facing in on the marshmallow for eyes, a candy corn with the pointed end facing out for a beak, and a small red licorice bit cut in half under the marshmallow for the wattle.
  4. Stick the marshmallow "head" onto the toothpick you put on the larger end of the apple.
  5. Turn the apple turkey over and put four toothpicks, two in front and two in back, so the apple will stand on the toothpick legs.


  1. Some apple turkeys I have seen have used raisins or other dried fruit for the feathers. This would make a healthier treat at the end of the day.
  2. The toothpick legs may need to be at different lengths to make the turkey stand straight, depending on the shape of the apple. Experiment a little until it looks right.
  3. The apple turkeys can be put next to the plates of each dinner guest, or, if the dinner setting is a formal one, they can be displayed elsewhere.
  1. Many children don't like pie or other traditional Thanksgiving desserts, and eating the apple turkeys when others are eating dessert can give them a fun alternative.

What You Need:

  • Big red delicious apples - enough for one per person making the apple turkeys
  • Toothpicks
  • Small colored marshmallows
  • Large marshmallows
  • Chocolate chips
  • Red licorice bits
  • Candy corn
  • Scissors or a small paring knife