Now that you've chosen the perfect pumpkin, carved a flawless design into the pumpkin and made it into a Halloween jack-o-lantern, how do you keep the pumpkin fresh until Halloween? You must keep your pumpkin hydrated, and there are several ways of doing that. Here are some tips for keeping your jack-o-lantern just-carved fresh until Halloween.
After you have carved the jack-o-lantern design into your pumpkin, coat the cut edges and the inside of the pumpkin with petroleum jelly. Good old Vaseline will help seal in the moisture of the pumpkin and extend the life of your jack-o-lantern. Vegetable oil can be used instead of Vaseline, or spray the inside of the pumpkin with hair spray. Either of the three will seal in moisture and keep your pumpkin fresh until Halloween.
If the cut edges of your jack-o-lantern have begun to curl, soak the pumpkin in a tub of water overnight to re-hydrate it. After removing the pumpkin from the tub of water, allow to drain for about half an hour and then pat dry. If you add one teaspoon of bleach per gallon of water for the pumpkin soak, it will inhibit the growth of mold in your pumpkin. Of course this bleach and water solution will not work for a jack-o-lantern that has painted designs, or other ornamentation's, but there is another way to keep a highly decorated jack-o-lantern hydrated.
To keep a painted or decorated jack-o-lantern hydrated, mist the pumpkin with water daily. Cover the jack-o-lantern with a damp towel when it's not on display or place the jack-o-lantern inside a plastic trash bad and put it in your refrigerator. Doing any or all of these things will keep your pumpkin hydrated and extend the life of your jack-o-lantern that you worked so hard to create.
A battery operated faux candle inside your jack-o-lantern will keep the pumpkin fresh looking longer than a regular candle or tea light. A battery operated faux candle does not produce heat, they are also safer than a candle, no flame inside your jack-o-lantern, no fire hazard.
If you must use a candle in your jack-o-lantern, sprinkle a little nutmeg or cinnamon on the underside of the pumpkin top. When the candle flame warms the top of the pumpkin, the nutmeg or cinnamon will release a nice fragrance. But when using a real candle, you must diligently hydrate your pumpkin with some of the above mentions tips, or your jack-o-lantern will not survive until Halloween.