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5 Ways To Keep Your Jack-O-Lantern Fresher Longer

5 Ways To Keep Your Jack-O-Lantern Fresher Longer

Nothing is more unfestive than a sagging, rotting Jack-O-Lantern on your front porch. To be sure your Trick-or-Treaters enjoy your pumpkin artwork through Halloween, we’ve put together some of the best tips to help prolong Jack’s life just a bit longer.

First, try not to carve too early. The pumpkin is a fruit, and once it has been carved, it’s exposed to air and will accelerate the decaying process.

So, wait as long as you can, especially if you live in high-humidity regions.

Additionally, be sure that your pumpkin is fully cleaned of the “guts” and seeds. Scrape the interior walls as thoroughly as possible to remove all stringy material. The cleaner the pumpkin, the slower it will decay.

5 Ways To Keep Your Jack-O-Lantern Fresher Longer

After you’ve cleaned and carved your pumpkin:

  1. Fill a spray bottle with a solution of one tablespoon bleach per quart of water. Spray interior and cut surfaces liberally, allowing it to penetrate and dry. This formula is said to kill off surface bacteria and mold that can lead to rot.
  2. Another method is to lightly spray the cut interior with a solution of 1 tablespoon peppermint Castile soap in a quart of water. Peppermint is a natural anti-fungal and will slow the decaying processing. (Use either spray method #1 or #2, not both).
  3. Apply petroleum jelly or olive oil to the cut surfaces to prevent dehydration over time.
  4. Spraying the cut surfaces with hairspray can also slow down the decaying process. Products designed for anti-humidity work really well.
  5. Instead of cutting the stem out of the top of the pumpkin to be carved, cut the hole on the bottom of the pumpkin and remove the piece. Then simply place the clean, carved pumpkin on top of a candle. This method not only makes for easier candle lighting but allows moisture to escape rather than pool at the bottom of the pumpkin, which accelerates the rotting process.

Freelance writer Beth Herman was consulted for this story.

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  • Aloha Martin says:

    Don’t carve the Pumpkin….use colored markers & apply paper products for hair etc.

  • Randy Mast says:

    Another way to keep your pumpkin from rotting . When my girls were little we had to carve pumpkins 2weeks before the big night . During day light hours i would fill either the tub or kitchen sink depending on size of jack O lantern with water and let it sit intil time to put them outside to show everybody.

  • Gary says:

    My parents thought buying a pumpkin to carve into a Jack o’ Lantern was a waste of money when I was a child. Thankfulky, my wife and I thought differently while our children were growing up. ??

  • Marjorie says:

    Thanks for the tips! I think I will try the olive oil since I use all the pumpkin except the skin for baking.

  • Chris says:

    White vinegar rubbed on the pumpkin, hairspray and a fake owl nearby worked well for me.

  • Laurie says:

    Any natural suggestions to keep the squirrels from eating the pumpkins?

  • If you notice a hole in the upper left-hand corner of your Farmers' Almanac, don't return it to the store! That hole isn't a defect; it's a part of history. Starting with the first edition of the Farmers' Almanac in 1818, readers used to nail holes into the corners to hang it up in their homes, barns, and outhouses (to provide both reading material and toilet paper). In 1919, the Almanac's publishers began pre-drilling holes in the corners to make it even easier for readers to keep all of that invaluable information (and paper) handy.

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