This Little Pumpkin Carving Trick Can Make It Last 2 Weeks or Longer

P.S. You already own everything you'll need!


While everyone wants their jack ‘o’ lantern to add a spooky touch their Halloween display, no one’s a fan of the rot and creepy crawlies they often bring with them. Keep your pumpkin in mint condition for two weeks or longer by adding these simple steps to your carving routine.

1. Choose the perfect pumpkin:

Start your search for a prize-worthy pumpkin by heading out to a local patch; the pumpkins there will always be fresher than ones loaded onto a truck and imported from elsewhere. Before making your pick, inspect the squash for blemishes and indents that could invite rot, mold, or fruit flies. Pick a firm pumpkin with even coloring.

2. Prep your pumpkin for carving:

Clean your pumpkin with water to eliminate dirt and pests. Begin carving as usual by creating a hole at the top of your pumpkin and scraping out all of its pulp. This step is essential: The drier the interior, the slower your pumpkin will decompose. Before carving the face of your jack ‘o’ lantern, rinse your pumpkin again using peppermint dish soap and water. The peppermint will act as a mild anti-fungal for your pumpkin’s newly exposed interior. Try one of these pumpkin carving stencils to make the job easier.

3. Soak your masterpiece in bleach:

Once you’ve finished carving, soak your jack ‘o’ lantern in bleach. This will act as an antimicrobial and keep the design on your pumpkin looking firm and fresh. Simply mix three teaspoons regular bleach into three gallons of water. Immerse the pumpkin for one hour and air dry upside down for three hours (this will allow excess bleach to drip out, as opposed to pooling at the bottom).

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Originally Published in Reader's Digest