As Halloween draws closer, celebrators everywhere are beginning to decorate their Santa Cruz homes with pumpkins. Unfortunately, by the time the actual holiday is here, many of the jack-o-lanterns will be rotting away - poor remnants of the original carving.
If you'd like to keep your carved pumpkin up to par, here are 11 tips:
1. Put your pumpkin in cold water; it will soak up the water and get firm. You can do this after it's carved as well; just place it face down and let it fill up with water.
2. Let your pumpkin soak overnight for detailed work. This allows for carving that is more intricate.
3. Dry your pumpkin immediately once you take it out of the water to display it in your Santa Cruz home. Otherwise, mold will take hold and grow.
4. If your pumpkin starts to shrivel, put it back in cold water for one to eight hours.
5. Put a thin coating of petroleum jelly on exposed, cut edges to keep the water from evaporating and to preserve the cuts, as well as the pumpkin.
6. Add a very small amount of unscented bleach to the water to stop premature molding.
7. Spray your pumpkin with a plant mister to keep it from shriveling.
8. Wrap the pumpkin in plastic wrap and put it in the refrigerator, when not in use, to keep it looking fresh.
9. Extinguish the candle inside the pumpkin whenever you're not using it for decoration; otherwise, the heat can cook the inside.
10. Spray the pumpkin with Lysol, or another disinfectant, after you've finished carving, to keep off bacteria. (Don't do this if you used bleach in the water.)
11. Use a spray on pumpkin preserver, if you prefer not to use bleach or a spray disinfectant.
Following these tips and tricks can help you stretch the lifetime of your jack-o-lanterns from a few days to a week or longer. Decorate your Santa Cruz home with all the pumpkin patterns your heart desires and have a Happy Halloween!