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Video:How to Make a Carved Pumpkin Last Longer

with Krystyna Rittichier

Once carved, a jack-o-lantern's health goes downhill quickly, but there are many ways to get these temporary art projects to last a few more days. Learn how to make a pumpkin stay fresh longer in this how-to video from About.com.See Transcript

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Transcript:How to Make a Carved Pumpkin Last Longer

Hi. I'm Krystyna Rittichier with About.com, and today we'll be talking about how to make a carved pumpkin last longer.

Why Do Pumpkins Rot?

Uncarved pumpkins can last for several weeks up to a couple months. However, once carved, the jack-o-lantern goes down-hill in a matter of days. There are several reasons for this. Microorganisms, oxidation, and dehydrations are usually the culprits behind these issues. There are several tricks you can use to preserve your jack-o-lantern for longer.

Use Bleach to Make a Pumpkin Stay Fresh Longer

For this project you will need:

  • bleach
  • a bucket or a spray bottle
  • petroleum jelly

To start, clean the inside of the pumpkin and the cut edges with a wet cloth. The idea here is to manually remove excess dirt and pumpkin debris from the carving process to create a smooth surface. Next, we will get rid of the microorganisms which have already collected on the pumpkin matter.

We are also going to hydrate the pumpkin as best we can. To do this, mix a bleach solution of ¼ cup bleach per gallon of water. Place the bleach solution in a small waste basket or mop bucket, and submerge the pumpkin. Allow the pumpkin to rest in the bucket for 2 to 8 hours in this solution. Turn the pumpkin upside down, and allow it to dry for 1 hour. Your pumpkin should now keep fresh much longer.

You can also simply kill the microorganisms by mixing a bleach solution of 1 tablespoons per quart of water, and put this in a spray bottle. Spray the inside and outside of the pumpkin well. Turn the pumpkin upside down and allow it to dry for 20 minutes. Wipe away any excess bleach solution from the front of the pumpkin, and sop up the excess solution from the cut edges and the inside of the pumpkin.

Be careful to get all the excess fluid off the pumpkin surfaces before you seal it with the petroleum jelly, or you may do more harm than good. Apply petroleum jelly to all the carved and hollowed areas of the pumpkin.

More Tips for Making a Jack-o-Lantern Last Longer

Here are a few other tips for making a jack-o-lantern last longer. Keep the jack-o-lantern out of direct sunlight as much as possible. The cooler the jack-o-lantern is, the longer it will keep. If you have enough room in your refrigerator, you can wrap the pumpkin in plastic wrap and refrigerate it at night.

Another option is to use battery operated candles, light strands or glow sticks instead of a candle. The heat from a candle will essentially cook the inside of the jack-o-lantern, causing it to decay much more quickly. These lighting methods will prevent this. Using these tips, you're sure to preserve the freshness the freshness of your pumpkin for several additional days up to a whole extra week!

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