There’s nothing worse than spending your time and money carving the perfect pumpkin — only to watch it rot a week later!
Follow these simple steps to make your pumpkin or jack-o’-lantern last long after Halloween is over — without having to wait until the day before trick-or-treating starts to carve it!
And don’t forget to stock up with the best candy deals to be Halloween ready!
1. Choose a hard pumpkin without any dark spots.
Your first step to a long-lasting pumpkin is choosing the right one! Look for a hard pumpkin that doesn’t have any blemishes or dark spots.
Dark spots are a sign of frost damage, which will make your pumpkin more susceptible to rot.
2. Don’t cut a hole in the top of your pumpkin — instead, cut the back or bottom to make it last longer.
Cut a hole in the back or bottom of your pumpkin to scoop the guts out instead.
3. Use bleach and vaseline to keep mold at bay.
First, scoop out every last seed and stringy pumpkin gut. Then, submerge the pumpkin in a bleach solution — 1 tablespoon of bleach + 1 quart of water. You could also brine the pumpkin in a salt or sugar solution, but this may attract bugs when the pumpkins are left outside.
Once the pumpkin has dried completely, rub vaseline on the inside and cut edges. The seal will help keep the pumpkin from growing mold too quickly.
If you don’t have vaseline, try WD-40 or cooking oil.
4. Spray your pumpkin with peppermint to stop insects and pumpkin fungus.
Peppermint has anti-fungal properties and helps keeps insects like ants away.
Mix a few drops of peppermint essential oil and water in a spray bottle, then lightly mist the inside and cut edges daily, or whenever your pumpkin is looking dry.
5. Give your pumpkin an ice bath to help it last longer.
If your pumpkin is looking a bit shriveled, submerge it in ice water for up to two hours. Add a cap of bleach to the water to help prevent mold.
Then, add vaseline and peppermint spray to complete your pumpkin’s spa treatment! Repeat this process whenever your pumpkin is looking dull or wrinkled.
6. Keep your pumpkin between 55-65 degrees to avoid rot.
A pumpkin will last longer when it’s kept between 55-65 degrees.
Heat or freezing temperatures will cause your pumpkin to shrivel up almost overnight. So bring the pumpkin inside your garage, or store it in your refrigerator until needed.
7. Store silica gel packets inside your pumpkin.
Instead of throwing away the silica gel packets you find inside a new purse or pair of shoes, start storing them in a mason jar for pumpkin season.
Two packets per pumpkin are enough to help it last nearly twice as long.
8. Use battery-operated tea lights instead of real candles.
Instead, buy two-for-a-dollar battery-operated tea lights or pumpkin-specific LED lights for $1 each at Dollar Tree. You can save them to use again next year, and you don’t have to worry when you forget to blow one out!