Preserve A Jack-o-lantern
After you've spent time selecting, prepping and cutting your pumpkin, the last thing you want is for your pumpkin to rot away. This article will help your Jack O' Lantern last longer.
First start off right by selecting a good, healthy pumpkin. Your pumpkin should be mold free, especially around the stem any mold could be an early indicator of rot and things to come. After visually finding a pumpkin, you will than want to knock on it a couple of times, you should here a deep thump sound. DO NOT pick a pumpkin with any soft spots or bruises.
You should always transport your pumpkin by the base, never lift your pumpkin by the stem to avoid breaking the pumpkin.
Rotting and decay will occur faster when your pumpkins are carved. This is because oxygen now has easy access to the entire pumpkin and leads to dehydration. If oxygen has easy access to the inside of your pumpkin, than bacteria and fungus can also easily access the cut areas of the pumpkin.
Knowing what the problems are, we can now address each one of them.
Mold will grow best in warm, dark and moist conditions. By eliminating these conditions, your jackolantern will last longer.
Store your pumpkin in your fridge when not lit or in use. (Outside will also work in colder climates.)
In warm climates - it is best to keep your pumpkin inside, out of direct sunlight. Store in your refrigerator until Halloween. You can also place your pumpkin by a window facing the street for people to enjoy.
You can purchase a pumpkin mixture to help preserve your pumpkin. You add the mixture to a large quantity of water and simply submerge your jack-o-lantern. The downside is that you have to do this daily and you also have to dry your pumpkin after each time. This to me seems more of a hassle than a solution.
There are homemade remedies you can also do.
Bleach - A simple water bleach solution sprayed onto the cuts and inside of the pumpkin will kill off the bacteria and mold. Simply mix together 1 tablespoon of bleach with a quart of water.
Oils or Petroleum Jelly - Simple spread the jelly over all the cutted surfaces as well as the inside of the jackolantern. The jelly will lock the moisture in the pumpkin, not allowing growth of bacteria to form as rapidly.
If your pumpkin starts to shrivel, you can rejuvenate it by soaking your jack-o-lantern in water overnight. Just make sure to thoroughly dry your pumpkin before displaying.
Most Jack O'Lanterns will last about a week, but taking these added steps will get you even more time out of your creation.
Lastly, is lighting your pumpkin. Candles are naturally going to give off heat, which will help to dry out your pumpkin. You can add a hole to the top back of your jackolantern to act as a chimney to remove some of the heat. Another solution that is catching on is to use LED lights instead of candles.