Your carved pumpkin or Halloween jack o lantern doesn't have to rot or mold before Halloween! Here is how to preserve a jack o lantern so that it will last for weeks instead of days.
- Mix up a preservative solution for your carved pumpkin consisting of 2 teaspoons of bleach per gallon of water.
- Fill a sink, bucket, or tub with enough of the bleach solution to totally immerse the carved jack o lantern. Place the jack o lantern in the bleach mixture right after you have finished carving it. Soak the carved pumpkin for 8 hours or overnight.
- Remove the pumpkin from the liquid and allow it to air dry. Spray the pumpkin inside and outside with a commercial pumpkin preservative or use your own mixture, consisting of 1 teaspoon of bleach in water. Spray the pumpkin once daily, to prevent the growth of bacteria and mold.
- Smear petroleum jelly on all of the cut surfaces of the pumpkin. This will prevent the pumpkin from drying out and getting that puckered, shrivelled look.
- Protect the jack o lantern from sun or rain, since one will dry the pumpkin out, while the other will promote the growth of mold. If possible, refrigerate your jack o lantern when it's not in use.