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Saturday, October 5, 2019

How to Preserve Your Carved Pumpkin for Halloween

Two carved jack-o'-lanterns sitting outside on a bed of leaves.
sandsun/Shutterstock

If you take your pumpkin carving seriously, there’s a good chance you want to make sure your masterpiece-in-gourd lasts as long as possible. Here’s how to do that.

When you work with a pumpkin as your canvas, you don’t have the benefit of inert material or time on your side. From the moment you pluck the ole pumpkin off the vine at the pumpkin patch, your orange friend is on his way to the great compost pile. But with a little creativity (and mostly extra work) you can make your Halloween masterpiece last as long as possible.

Let’s take a look at all the ways you can extend its jack-o’-lantern smile.

Carve Close to Halloween

Hey, we get it—you’re super excited about Halloween and can’t wait to get carving. But the fewer days your pumpkin is carved and exposed to the elements, the fresher it will look on Halloween.

If you want to skip all the other steps, just wait to carve your pumpkin the night before and simply let nature takes its course. After all, there’s no need for preservation tricks when the use window is only 24 to 48 hours.

But let’s get real; given you’re reading this article, there’s a good chance you’re the kind of person who can’t possibly wait until the night before to carve your pumpkins. You want to bask in all things Halloween for the entire month of October.

Disinfect Your Pumpkin with Bleach

Think back to Halloweens past, and the horror of discovering your artfully carved pumpkin is barely limping along. What stands out? Most likely, the mold gracing your jack-o’-lantern’s toothy grin.

A pumpkin is organic, and you have to protect it from the constant attacks of microscopic invaders. You can fight back at several stages of the process with bleach.

After you open the pumpkin and scoop out all the seeds (put them aside if you’d like to turn them into a tasty treat), clean the interior of the pumpkin thoroughly with a spoon or rounded tool. Scrape out all the seeds, stringy bits, and other pumpkin guts until you have a smooth, interior surface. The less surface area there is for mold to attack, the better.

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