Get creative with your jack-o’-lantern this Halloween when you carve your pumpkin. And keep that pumpkin fresh as long as possible with our preservation tips.
Pumpkins are easy to grow from seed, but need about 100 days to mature and a site in full sun, at least six to eight hours a day. Learn more about growing pumpkins in your garden.
You can also pick pumpkins from the Garden Center. Look for pumpkins without blemishes, and with enough stem for a handle. The ideal pumpkin will have a flat base for easy carving.
How to Carve a Jack-o’-Lantern:
tools & materials:
- Work table or folding table
- Drop cloth or builder’s paper
- Pumpkin carving kit
- Rotary carving kit
- Sharp knife
- Scoop or large spoon
- Dry erase marker
- Shop towels
- Hearing protection
- Safety glasses
- Disposable gloves
- Bucket or galvanized tub
- Petroleum jelly
- Flameless LED candles
1. Cover your work area with a drop cloth, newspapers or Kraft paper. Use a sharp kitchen knife or the knife from a pumpkin carving kit to cut a lid in the top of the pumpkin. The shape can be a circle, square or triangle. Scoop the seeds and stringy fibers out of the pumpkin. Rinse the pumpkin in water and dry with shop towels.
Tip: You can roast the seeds for a snack: Just clean them, toss with melted butter and salt and bake in the oven at 300 degrees Fahrenheit for 45 minutes or until golden brown.
2. Use stencils from the pumpkin carving kit or freehand a design in dry erase marker on the pumpkin. Use the pumpkin carving tool or a knife to create the design.
Be safe: Wear eye and ear protection when using power tools and stay close when children are using knives and tools.
3. Mix a bleach solution in the bucket or galvanized tub with a tablespoon of bleach for every gallon of water. (For five gallons of water, add five tablespoons of bleach). Immerse the pumpkin and lid in the bleach solution and stir around for at least two minutes. You might want to wear gloves, and protect your clothing around the bleach solution.
Spread the shop towels on the work surface and set the completed jack-o’-lantern to air dry. The bleach solution will kill bacteria and reduce rotting. You can also coat the carved surfaces with petroleum jelly to slow the decay.
4. Place a flameless LED candle in your carved pumpkin. They’re safer than wax candles and last longer.
Your jack-o’-lantern will keep about a week, after then, toss it in the compost pile.
Get more inspiration: