Halloween will be here before we know it, and that means thinking about jack o'lanterns. If you've always bought yours ready made, maybe it's time you had a go at creating one from a real, live pumpkin. It's a fun family activity for kids and adults alike, and a good chance to let your creativity loose.
But if you've never carved a fresh pumpkin, there are some things to know so it'll be fresh on the scene on Halloween. You don't want your spooky masterpiece withering and collapsing like the Wicked Witch of the West before the trick or treating begins. Here are some tips to help with the fine art of jack o'lantern preservation.
Keeping Your Jack O'Lantern Fresh
- Pick a hard pumpkin without any damage to the exterior.
- Wait till the last possible moment to carve the pumpkin. Before you start, squirt the exterior with lemon juice, a natural preservative. Don't cut off the top until the last minute.
- When you cut the pumpkin, make sure you thoroughly scoop out the insides. Let the pumpkin dry thoroughly.
- Once the pumpkin is cut, apply Vaseline or mineral oil to the inside.
- Spray the jack o'lantern with bleach to prevent fungus growth.
- Set the HVAC thermostat to maintain a temperature between 55-65 degrees F for best results, and do keep the pumpkin indoors. You can also put Jack in the fridge, but don't let him freeze.
- Maintaining low humidity in the home can also help. Use a dehumidifier. Change the air filter so the HVAC helps dehumidify the home properly.
- Don't leave the jack o'lantern outside on a hot day; it will deteriorate quickly in the heat.
- Don't use candles around the jack o'lantern; you can probably get away with small tea lights on Halloween night to illuminate the interior, but a bulb may work just as well.
Tip: Another method involves carving the pumpkin, then immersing it for two minutes in a bucket of cold water with 3 teaspoons of bleach.
For more on using the HVAC for jack o'lantern preservation, contact Valley Heating, Cooling, Electrical and Solar.