The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

Lifestyle

October 5, 2011

Tips to making a jack-o’-lantern last longer

— Jack-o’-lanterns are a staple of Halloween decorations.

Making one last throughout the season is a trick of the trade even some veteran carvers struggle with.

People young and old head to pumpkin patches to pick out the ideal pumpkins. Some prefer perfectly round ones, while others like tall, oblong ones. Whatever the decision, the majority of these pumpkins will be brought home and turned into jack-o’-lanterns, or pumpkins carved with a design.

The key to having a jack-o’-lantern ready and prime for Halloween haunting is carving it at the right time. Carved pumpkins will not last forever, so timing it right is key.

In general, carved pumpkins will last for about a week if kept in a cool place and out of direct sunlight.

A pumpkin left in midday sun and heat will likely rot or mold much more quickly.

For those planning on carving pumpkins for Halloween, it's best to do so a day or two before the big day. This way the design will be crisp and fresh. There also are ways to increase the jack-o’-lantern's longevity.

Some of the best methods involve inhibiting mold growth and dehydration of the pumpkin. One trick is to submerge the cut pumpkin in a bucket of water for a few minutes after carving to moisten the flesh.

Others say that spreading petroleum jelly on the inside of the carved pumpkin will help. Commercial chemical products that reduce the decay of the pumpkin may be effective as well.

One can also try using a bleach-and-water solution to keep mold from growing.

Those who will simply allow  nature to take its course should keep the pumpkin as cool as possible and remove as much of the flesh from the inside when carving. However, because no method is foolproof, the jack-o’-lantern will most likely not make it more than a week, unless the goal is to discover new strains of mold growth.

For those who want a permanently ghoulish jack-o’-lantern, it's best to purchase a plastic or ceramic variety instead.

1
Text Only
Lifestyle
Poll

Do you think Athens-Limestone County is better prepared than in April 2011 to provide shelter from a major tornado?

Yes
No
     View Results
Facebook
AP Video
U.S. Paratroopers in Poland, Amid Ukraine Crisis US Reviews Clemency for Certain Inmates Raw: Violence Erupts in Rio Near Olympic Venue Raw: Deadly Bombing in Egypt Raw: What's Inside a Commercial Jet Wheel Well Raw: Obama Arrives in Japan for State Visit Raw: Anti-Obama Activists Fight Manila Police Motels Near Disney Fighting Homeless Problem Michigan Man Sees Thanks to 'bionic Eye' Obama to Oso: We'll Be Here As Long As It Takes Bon Jovi Helps Open Low-income Housing in Philly S.C. Man Apologizes for Naked Walk in Wal-Mart New Country Music Hall of Fame Inductees Named 'Piles' of Bodies in South Sudan Slaughter SCOTUS Hears Tv-over-Internet Case Chief Mate: Crew Told to Escape After Passengers
Twitter Updates
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Stocks
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
Business Marquee