Do you want your carved pumpkin to spook your neighbors weeks after (or before?) Halloween? Follow these simple steps to make your orange masterpiece last longer.
Remember: you can start carving 2 days in advance but no sooner. The pumpkin will start spoiling as soon as you expose its flesh.
First things first, you need a sharp knife. Cut a hole at the top (or bottom) of your pumpkin and remove seeds and pulp. Now, take bleach and mix it with water (1 tsp of bleach per 4 cups (1 liter) of water) and some liquid Castile soap. Thoroughly wipe the inside and outside of the pumpkin with this solution. Let it dry well after the treatment.
If you’re not big on using bleach (after all, you won’t be able to compost your pumpkin after using it), we recommend making a Castile soap mix. Just take 1 tbsp of peppermint soap, 6 drops of peppermint oil, and enough water to fill a fine mist sprayer. Shake the mix inside the bottle and thoroughly spray your future masterpiece both inside and outside.
Now, you need to treat the edges. There are two ways you can go about this; first—buy a pre-made preservative for carved pumpkins or use vaseline. You can use WD-40 too, but be cautious: in that case, you can’t place a real candle inside the pumpkin; otherwise, it’ll set on fire. Using the preservative is important, as it’ll keep your pumpkin together and stop it from falling off after carving.
Where do you keep things you don’t want to spoil? Right, the fridge! You can put your carved pumpkin there each night to help it stay fresh and spooky. Just don’t forget to cover it with a plastic bag first.
Once you see that the pumpkin is wilting, soak it in a bucket of cold water overnight. Some also advise using bleach instead of water.
Don’t use candles. Open fire can cook your pumpkin from the inside and make it soft. A safer option is using glow sticks or flameless candles that will add a more cold and bewitching glare to your Jack-o’-lantern.
However, if you feel like none of these steps suit you, consider an easier option—don’t carve the pumpkin at all! You can make it horrifying without the help of your trusty knife. For example, you can paint a scary face or decorate your pumpkin with stickers. This way, your uncarved buddy will last for 2–3 months!
Now that you’re set and ready for your pumpkin carving adventure, we wish you a happy Halloween!