With Halloween around the corner, pumpkin carving skills need to be honed and executed on the most perfect orange sphere that you can find in the pumpkin patch. If orange isn’t your thing, there is a rainbow of colors to choose from. Check out my post on Decorating Pumpkins-Pumpkin Eye Candy.
Making Your Creation Last Longer
- Make sure you thoroughly clean out and scrape the guts. The cleaner and drier you get with the gooey pumpkin innards, the longer it will last.
- Rinse the entire pumpkin in cold water and dry.
- Spray the pumpkin insides with a solution of 1 Tablespoon of peppermint soap or bleach to a quart of cold water. The peppermint soap acts as an anti-fungal and the bleach kills any organisms that lead to rot and decay.
- Apply a thin coating of petroleum jelly to the outside to stop the pumpkin from drying out.
- Place pumpkin in fridge in a plastic bag to store overnight or place outside in the cold. The colder it is (not freezing!) the longer it will last.
- Rehydrate with a spray of water when you take the pumpkin out of the bag.
- Don’t use real candles as the heat and melted wax will hasten the demise of your pumpkin. Use small small floral votives that last for hours.
- To last the longest, paint your pumpkin.
For the best tutorial on carving pumpkin faces, look at Carving Pumpkin Faces.
Decorating a Whole Pumpkin
If carving a pumpkin is too much trouble for a pumpkin that lasts for about a week, consider decorating your squash with succulents which will last for months.
For how-to on decorating pumpkins with succulents, check out Succulent Pumpkins For the Fall and Pumpkin Treats-Decorating with Succulents.
Picking the Best Pumpkin
When you are at the farm stand picking out your perfect specimen, be sure to look it over for soft spots and gouges into the outer skin. If either of these are present, your pumpkin will likely rot before you can start decorating it. Poke and prod the pumpkin all over to make sure it is healthy. Have a plan of what you would like to carve as that determines the shape, size and orientation(sideways, upright, upside down) of your final creation. If you want the pumpkin at its best on Halloween, don’t carve it too early. One day ahead or the day of is perfect so that the pumpkin holds up.
Picking out from a local market means you won’t get a bruised and battered pumpkin that traveled far from the farmer.
An outdoor work area is preferable as the job can get quite messy. Using brown/butcher paper or a trash bag underneath makes cleanup a snap.