Carving Jack-O-Lanterns is a tradition that I was late to adopt. Way back when, my family never really carved pumpkins. I don’t know if it was just not traditions my folks grew up doing, but Halloween was just not something my parents were into. New Years was honestly our holiday of choice. So later when I would go with my girlfriend to my first dedicated pumpkin carving day, I was all thumbs. Needless to say, I picked something out of my skill range. I was proud of the sloppy Pokeball I made, despite the sloppy lines. I learned really soon after that, though, that if you don’t properly care for your pumpkin, it will not last long. Mine lasted about a week. So if your case is similar to mine, here’s how to prevent it from becoming a rotted mess outside your home.

After slicing up the pumpkin, take care to remove all of the “guts” and seeds from the inside. Clean the interior with a solution of one tablespoon of bleach per quart of water to kill off mold. Or go all-natural with one tablespoon of peppermint Castile soap in a quart of water. Rub petroleum jelly or olive oil on the cut surfaces to prevent drying out, while the Farmers’ Almanac suggests hairspray will also work. Lastly, cut a hole out of the bottom for the candle rather than go in from the top. This will allow moisture to escape, plus make it easier to light.

When do you start pumpkin carving? What design are you going with this year?

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