A glowing jack-o’-lantern is a symbol of a happy Halloween. Of course, many people buy their pumpkins early to ensure they get the pick of the bunch. But while that makes sense, it can also lead to your pumpkin ending up as a slushy puddle on the floor well before any trick-or-treaters come calling. The battle against decay, mold, and the elements can be frightfully frustrating where pumpkins are concerned. But fear not! With a few pumpkin-preservation tricks, you can keep those grinning gourds in tip-top shape for weeks on end, ensuring they’re ready to shine on Halloween night.
In this quick guide, we’re diving into the art of pumpkin longevity, sharing expert tips to make sure your jack-o’-lanterns stay vibrant and spooky from the moment you bring them home until fright night is upon us. Here’s everything you need to know about making Halloween pumpkins last longer.
Watch the video above to learn how to make your Halloween pumpkins last longer.
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How to make Halloween pumpkins last longer
- Cleanse thoroughly: Wash the outside of your pumpkin with soap and water to eliminate dirt and mold spores, promoting a longer lifespan.
- Dry completely: After cleaning, make sure the pumpkin is thoroughly dried. Moisture can lead to decay, so this step is crucial.
- Bleach soak (optional): Immerse your pumpkin in a bleach solution (a few tablespoons of bleach in water) for 20 to 30 minutes to deter mold growth.
- Petroleum jelly barrier: Apply petroleum jelly inside and on carved edges after carving. This forms a protective barrier, retaining the pumpkin’s firmness and moisture. CAUTION: Never use real flames with petroleum jelly; opt for battery-powered lights instead.
- Avoid open flames: Heat accelerates decay. Refrain from using open flames inside the pumpkin. Opt for safer alternatives like LED lights.
- DIY preservation spray: Create a homemade preservation spray by mixing water, Castile soap, and a few drops of peppermint oil (to combat fungus) in a spray bottle. Alternatively, use water with a few drops of bleach. Spray the inside daily while the pumpkin is displayed.
- Cool and shaded: Place your pumpkin in a cool, shaded area while on display. Direct sunlight and heat can expedite deterioration.
- Refrigerate for longevity: For prolonged freshness, cover your pumpkin with a bag and store it in the refrigerator during the day. This method significantly extends its life.
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