5 Tips to Prevent Your Jack-o'-Lantern From Rotting This Halloween

Getty / Ashley Sandberg / EyeEm

Oh no! After spending time, money, and energy creating the delightfully frightening jack-o’-lantern of your dreams, you notice after a week, your pumpkin is starting to rot. Nothing is worse than having a beautifully carved jack-o’-lantern go bad before the spooky season is over, especially one you intricately etched with a stencil. But fear not! There is a way to avoid your pumpkin from meeting an early grave this Halloween. Keep reading to learn a few tips that can extend the lifespan of your pumpkin and prevent rotting.

Choose Your Pumpkin Carefully

Whether you’re at a pumpkin patch or the grocery store, it can be hard to pick out a pumpkin that works for the design you’re going for. But in terms of preventing your jack-o’-lantern from rotting and becoming gross, there are things you should ask yourself about the pumpkin you’re thinking of purchasing. Does the pumpkin have bruises? Is it discoloured? Are there dents or any deep cuts that already expose the pumpkin’s innards?

If so, then put down that pumpkin and instead look for a pumpkin that is perfectly rounded and even-coloured. Early signs of damage mean it’s all the more likely that the pumpkin will have a shorter lifespan and won’t make it to Halloween.

Be Mindful of How You Carve

Some people like to keep the guts of their jack-o’-lantern as part of a gory detail of their design. While keeping some of the innards may add to the ambience of the frightening theme, keeping them can create moisture inside the pumpkin, which can cause your pumpkin to rot within a few days. If that wasn’t bad enough, this may also encourage pests and rodents to invade your space. Instead, try to hollow out as much of your pumpkin as possible.

Spray Your Pumpkin With Water and Apple Cider Vinegar

Using apple cider vinegar is a natural way to help preserve and cleanse your pumpkin. Fill up a spray bottle with water, then add a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar. With a spoon, swirl the mixture together to create an organic mist that moisturises your jack-o’-lantern and deters insects from making your pumpkin their new home.

Use Fake Candles

Candles help add to the chilling aesthetic of a jack-o’-lantern. But real candles just dry out the inside of a pumpkin, making it die faster since it lacks the moisture to keep itself healthy. Rather than using real candles, try out some vibrant fake candles that will make your jack-o’-lantern appear just as mysterious. Glow sticks are also a more colorful alternative if you don’t have any fake candles on hand.

Place Your Pumpkin Somewhere Dry

Your pumpkin needs to maintain a bit of moisture so it doesn’t dry up, but placing it somewhere extremely humid will make it get moldy and rot. The best chance of extending the lifespan of your pumpkin will be keeping it somewhere dry and off the ground to avoid an invasion from pests and rodents. If you want to display your jack-o’-lantern outside, put it on top of a table or bench, especially if the ground it’s on is wet from rain.

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