Pumpkins and Jack O Lanterns are common sights in the month of October.
Unfortunately, they are prone to rotting and looking bad prior to Halloween.
Here are a few tips and tricks to keep your pumpkins and jack o lanterns from rotting to have them last longer.
Don't Carve It
An uncarved pumpkin is less prone to deterioration than a carved pumpkin.
The exterior of a pumpkin protects it from bugs, mold, mildew, and other yucky stuff.
It also keeps the moisture in the pumpkin to keep it hydrated.
If you plan on carving your pumpkin into a jack o lantern, don't carve it right when you get it - wait until right before Halloween.
You can even decorate your pumpkin without carving it at all.
All pumpkins will rot, but an uncarved pumpkin will rot must slower than a carved one.
In order to get rid of the mold, mildew, and other nasties, spray your jack o lantern with a mixture of 1 tablespoon of bleach per quart of water (you can also use most any household cleaner with bleach).
Use proper precautions when using bleach.
You can also put your pumpkin in a bucket and soak it in water with bleach for the same effect.
Mist the carved pumpkin daily to make sure mold and mildew do not appear.
Out of all the pumpkin preservation methods, this one seems to work the best at preventing your pumpkin from rotting.
Pumpkin Preservative Spray
There are commercially made pumpkin preservative sprays available that claim to extend the life of your carved pumpkin and keep it from rotting.
Brand names include Pumpkin Fresh and Pumpkin Dunk'N.
Some people protect their sterilized carved pumpkin with a generous coating of petroleum jelly (also called Vaseline).
The petroleum jelly will keep the bad stuff out of your pumpkin, keep the moisture in your pumpkin, and should keep your jack o lantern fresh for about a week.
Before using, wipe out the excess petroleum jelly from the inside of the jack o lantern using a paper towel.
Since the petroleum jelly creates a barrier, spraying the jack o lantern with bleach daily will not be affective.
Acrylic Finish Spray
You can get an acrylic finish spray in an aerosol can to keep your pumpkin from rotting.
The spray will keep the moisture in and the bad stuff out of your jack o lantern.
Protect From Elements
Keep your jack o lantern protected from the elements in order for it to last longer.
It should not be subjected to direct sunlight, rain, snow, or freezing temperatures.