MONROVIA, CA — After picking out the best pumpkin at a store or during pumpkin patch and field visits around Monrovia, now comes the fun part: transforming it into the best jack-o’-lantern ever to usher in the fall season and, of course, Halloween.
No front porch in Monrovia is complete without having the best jack-o’-lantern to greet neighbors or strangers from afar during October. But be warned: A sagging, rotting jack-o’-lantern on public display is just blasphemous — not to mention unfestive, in our humble opinion.
Unfortunately, carved pumpkins are susceptible to outside elements. After about a week, they can soften and gradually shrivel up before turning black and moldy. Yuck!
But don’t worry. There are a variety of ways to prolong the life of your jack-o’-lantern to keep it strong and healthy. Check out these handy tips below:
1. Pick A Pumpkin That Is Rock Solid
Avoid selecting a pumpkin in or near a pumpkin patch in Monrovia that looks to be in the early stages of decomposition. Blemishes or bruises are big red flags. Water-soaked spots on the pumpkin’s upper surface may also be an indication of frost damage.
2. Use A Bleach Solution To Ward Off Bacteria, Fungus
After you carve your pumpkin, spray a bleach solution on the pumpkin’s surface to help prevent mold from forming. Wipe down any excess.
3. Use Baking Soda To Absorb Moisture, Odors
Excess moisture can expedite the rotting process. To help absorb it, place a cup of baking soda inside the clean cavity of the pumpkin. To further prevent excess moisture from early morning dew and frost, also consider bringing your jack-o’-lantern indoors before you go to bed.
4. Smear Petroleum Jelly Over Your Jack-O’-Lantern
According to home improvement guru Bob Villa, applying a thin layer of petroleum jelly on the pumpkin’s interior, the cut-out spots and the lid can provide a barrier to keep bacteria from reaching the flesh.
5. Spray Hairspray On Your Pumpkin’s Cut Surfaces
Another way to slow down the decaying process is to apply hairspray on your jack-o’-lantern. The Farmers’ Almanac says products designed for anti-humidity tend to work best. Of course, you should avoid hairspray if you plan to use combustible materials in or near your pumpkin.
6. Pay attention To The Weather Outside
If rain is in the forecast, bring your jack-o’lantern indoors to keep moisture at bay. In addition, temperatures from the upper 50s to lower 60s generally work best for jack-o’-lanterns, Smithsonian Magazine reports. When outdoor temperatures stray too far from this — be it too hot or too cold — rescue your pumpkin from the elements.
Do you have any other suggestions to prolong the lifespan of a jack-o’-lantern? We’d love to hear them. Share them in the comments section below.