How to Preserve Your Carved Pumpkin for Halloween

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

If you take your pumpkin carving seriously, you will probably want to make sure your masterpiece of the gourd lasts as long as possible. Here's how to do that.

When working with a pumpkin as a canvas, you do not benefit from inert material or free time. From the moment you pull the ole pumpkin from the vine onto the pumpkin patch, your orange friend walks to the big pile of compost. But with a little creativity (and especially extra work), you can make your Halloween masterpiece last as long as possible.

Let's take a look at all the ways to lengthen his lantern-pumpkin smile.

Carve near Halloween

Hey, we understand that – you're very excited about Halloween and you can not wait to be carved. But the less your pumpkin is carved and exposed to the elements, the more it will look fresh on Halloween.

If you want to skip all the other steps, simply wait to carve your pumpkin the night before and simply let nature take its course. After all, no trick of conservation is needed when the window of use is only 24 to 48 hours.

But let's be realistic; As you read this article, chances are you're the type of person who can not wait until the night before to cut up your pumpkins. You want to enjoy all things Halloween throughout the month of October.

Disinfect your pumpkin with bleach

Remember the past of the Halloweens, and the horror of discovering your artfully carved pumpkin is barely lame. What stands out? Most likely, the mold will embellish the toothy smile of your jack-o'-lantern.

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

Once you have opened the pumpkin and collected all the seeds (set aside if you wish to turn them into a delicious treat), thoroughly clean the inside of the pumpkin for help. a spoon or a rounded tool. Scrape all the seeds, pieces of wire and other pumpkin guts until you get a smooth, inner surface. The less the mold is attacked, the better.

Then mix 1 tbsp. of bleach with 1 qt. water – we recommend you put it in a vaporizer, as this will be useful later. Wipe the outside and the inside of the pumpkin with bleach. Be sure to wet all surfaces well and let them dry. This disinfects the surface of the pumpkin.

After carving your pumpkin, find a container large enough to hold it (or use a sink or tub), fill it with cold water and 1 cup of bleach, and then immerse your pumpkin in the bleach. This will ensure a good start in the race against mold and rot.

If you can, let your pumpkin soak for 24 hours. The bleach will kill all the microorganisms, and the water will super-hydrate your pumpkin and prolong its lifespan.

Pass the candles and seal the edges

The hands of a woman carving a pumpkin.
Kobeza / Shutterstock

If you are a purist and you can not stand the idea of ​​not using candles in your pumpkins, we respect that. However, there are two good reasons to ignore them and to go the votive way without flame.

First, the candles dry the pumpkins. Of course, the flame may be tiny and it's not like you're roasting it in a 350-degree oven. But slowly and surely, the candle will dry the inside of the pumpkin, that's exactly what you do not want.

Secondly, if you use a real flame, do not seal the edges of your pumpkin because the sealant is flammable. It's worth it to blow the candle, because sealing the surfaces is a great way to keep your pumpkin cool.

To seal your lantern pumpkin, spread a little vaseline around the edges you exposed when you carved them. This method is especially useful for detailed carvings that require you to dig into the skin without completely piercing the pumpkin, as it keeps it well hydrated and evenly colored.

Mist Your Pumpkins Daily

Even if you use the petrolatum technique, your pumpkins dehydrate a little more every day. And the fall weather tends to be rather dry in most areas, which speeds up the process.

To fight both the desiccation process and the molds, you can use a double punch in the form of bleach mixed in the previous step.

You may find business solutions in your Halloween store or big box stores, but this is not necessary – the bleach works very well.

If you skipped the disinfection step above, simply mix 1 tbsp. of bleach with 1 qt. water into a spray bottle and give your pumpkins a good mist inside and out, every day.

Attention to the temperature

The ideal microclimate for your pumpkin masterpiece is cool and shady. If she had a say, your pumpkin would spend every day in the shade at about 20 degrees Celsius (50 degrees Fahrenheit). However, if you anticipate heat stroke, you can take certain steps so that the sun does not turn your pumpkin into a pumpkin.

Often, you can keep your pumpkin fresh and happy if it is in the shaded part of your porch. Or you can take it indoors and place it in the cool basement while you are at work.

The freezing weather is also not a picnic for jack the pumpkin king. All the pumpkin carving veterans will tell you, after a night or two of hard jelly, most pumpkins look a lot less good to wear. They quickly start to rot and collapse.

If the weather is really cold or it's very cold, you may want to wrap your pumpkins in garbage bags and store them in the fridge to keep them cool for Halloween.

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