Taking Proper Care of Your Jack-O’-Lantern

PumpkinsI know several of you are already thinking about carving your pumpkins, instead of waiting next week for Halloween.  Here are some helpful hints to help care for your jack-o’-lanterns, and help them last until Halloween night without shriveling, molding, or rotting.  I’ll be posting some pumpkin carving ideas later this week or earlier next week, if you’re in need of some jack-o’-lantern inspiration.  In the meantime, feel free to post pictures of your pumpkins on Faith, Hope, Love, & Luck’s Facebook Page.

Pumpkin Border

How to Stop Pumpkin Aging is by far the funniest post on caring for your pumpkin.  It teaches you the proper embalming technique, to help your jack-o’-lantern last at least a week after carving.  Here are the basic steps to embalm your pumpkin, but I suggest reading Pumpkin Patches and More’s version if you’d like a giggle or two.

  1. Remove dirt by wiping the exterior surface of the pumpkin with a clean damp cloth.
  2. Make a bleach solution of 1 tablespoon bleach and 4 cups of water; pour mixture into a spray bottle.
  3. Spray the inside and cut areas of the pumpkin with the above solution.  This will kill most of the surface bacteria that can lead to rotting.
  4. Let the solution penetrate and dry for 20 minutes.
  5. Next, rub all of the carved and cut surfaces with petroleum jelly.  This will keep new bacteria from growing, as well as reducing pumpkin dehydration.
  6. Wipe off any excess petroleum jelly with a paper towel.
  7. Keep your pumpkin out of direct sunlight, and try to keep it as cool as possible, but above freezing.

Not This Year Jack-O'-Lantern

Yahoo Contributor Sabah Karimi has several suggestions on How to Make Your Jack-O’-Lantern or Carved Pumpkin Last Longer than Halloween.

  • Cover it with plastic.  Carve your pumpkin, and place it outside wrapped in clear plastic.  This helps keep the pumpkin crisp and fresh, and prevents mold buildup.
  • Make a lemon juice spritzer.  Mix equal parts lemon juice and water in a spray bottle; spray the inside and outside of your pumpkin with this mixture.  The acid helps to preserve the pumpkin as it hardens the outside of the pumpkin, which will help protect the pumpkin against outside elements.
  • Cover the pumpkin in vegetable oil.  This will help prevent shriveling, which is caused by too much oxygen.  The vegetable oil acts as a protecting agent.

Ball Fruit-Fresh

Ball recommends using Ball Fruit-Fresh Produce Protector to help your jack-o’-lantern last longer.  Sprinkle it on the freshly cut surfaces of your pumpkin, after carving.

Dr. Frybrain's Pumpkin Embalmer

Dr. Frybrain’s Pumpkin Embalmer allows you to carve your pumpkins up to three weeks before Halloween.

  1. Carve your pumpkin as usual, making sure to remove all pumpkin guts.
  2. Empty the entire package of Dr. Frybrain’s Pumpkin Embalmer into a 5 gallon bucket; add 3 gallons of warm water.
  3. Stir mixture for several minutes with a plastic or wood spoon.
  4. Place the lid of your pumpkin inside the pumpkin and lower the entire thing into the solution.
  5. Weight the pumpkin down with a brick tied to a string.
  6. Let the pumpkin soak overnight, or up to 24 hours.
  7. Remove the jack-o’-lantern and allow to dry, wiping off any excess solution with a paper towel.
  8. You can use the same solution to preserve several pumpkins.

Spice Islands Ground Saigon Cinnamon

Try sprinkling cinnamon or pumpkin pie spice on the inside of your pumpkin, before lighting a candle inside of it, which will make your jack-o’-lantern smell like pumpkin pie as the candle heats up.

Faith, Hope, Love, & Luck



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