How to Preserve a Carved Pumpkin

Preserve a Carved Pumpkin

5 Ways to Preserve Halloween Pumpkins 2023

Halloween pumpkin preservation - tips and tricks

This is how it really works

At Halloween they stand again in the house entrances or on the terraces and sparkle spookily.
But a pumpkin will not last long if it is not properly prepared and can become moldy or dry out.
To avoid this, there are some tips and tricks to preserve the carved pumpkin.

fresh pumpkin

It is important to choose a fresh pumpkin for carving. The peel should not be damaged and the stem still firm and thick. After all, especially in the case of an injured shell may have already been encroached upon by bacteria, which can later still favor the decay of the carved pumpkin. Therefore, should be carefully selected as follows:

  • no brown spots on the shell
  • no soft spot, no matter how small
  • pumpkin should not yield to pressure
  • uniform color testifies to freshness

Tip: Especially due to storage in the trade, pumpkins can quickly become bruised. Therefore, it is important to look closely at the pumpkin when buying. But also own pumpkins from the garden bed can already be damaged.

Halloween pumpkin prepare


Before carving the pumpkin should be thoroughly washed. Since the peel here is not intended for consumption, you can certainly use a mild soapy water. After washing, you should dry the pumpkin well with a clean cotton cloth. This will remove any bacteria on the shell that would otherwise enter the pumpkin during the carving process. The chosen carving tools must also be prepared:

  • use sharp knives only
  • clean and disinfect beforehand
  • use pure alcohol from the pharmacy for this purpose
  • disinfectant from a well-stocked gardening store
  • also treat specially purchased carving tools beforehand

Tip: If the knives used are not thoroughly cleaned beforehand, bacteria will also adhere to them and penetrate the skin during the cutting process, thus damaging the pumpkin.

pumpkin hollowing

Hollow out pumpkin

Before carving, you should completely hollow out the pumpkin so that all sticky parts are removed. Because it is these moist parts that later favor mold or bacterial growth. Therefore, when scooping must be worked particularly carefully.

The following is to be paid attention to here:

  • no torn corners
  • these, with their larger surface area, are conducive to bacterial growth
  • make clean cuts
  • long sawing and cutting damages the skin
  • this makes the pumpkin soft

Tip: The thickness of the hollowed out pumpkin has no influence on a faster spoiling. It is better to hollow out a little more than too little, so that the border remains nice and firm.

Use bleach

Diluted bleach can be used to preserve the pumpkin after carving. It kills microorganisms present on and around the pumpkin that would otherwise accelerate the decay of the carved pumpkin.

The procedure for using bleach is as follows:

  • always work with gloves
  • one tablespoon of bleach to one liter of water
  • spray the mixture all around
  • also from the inside
  • do not forget any spots
  • alternatively immerse pumpkin in bleach water for several hours

After spraying or dipping the pumpkin should dry well. To do this, spend in a warm dry place. To protect against dehydration but do not place directly on or near a heater. Ideally, the pumpkin is hung to dry on the stem in an airy place.

Tip: Based on testimonials from many pumpkin lovers who have been carving for years, the bleach method of preserving has proven most effective.

Treat with lemon

Lemon is also said to make the carved pumpkin more durable when treated with it. You should definitely use the juice of a fresh lemon, although it is easier to use the lemon essences offered in the supermarket.

The treatment to preserve with lemon is done as follows:

  • mix lemon juice and water one to one
  • pour mixture into spray bottle
  • spray the entire pumpkin well from the outside and inside
  • or soak in the mixture for several hours
  • the pumpkin must then be allowed to dry well.

Spread petroleum jelly

After carving the pumpkin and killing the bacteria with bleach or lemon, the cut edges should be coated with petroleum jelly. This is to keep the moisture in the pumpkin, it will not dry out quickly.

Approximately for two weeks the pumpkin can be preserved in this way.

Hairspray or varnish

Varnish or hairspray is sprayed inside and outside on the entire pumpkin. This is to seal, the pumpkin should lose less liquid this way. Varnish or hairspray is usually used as an alternative to petroleum jelly. However, the method only protects against drying out, not against possible mold.

Tip: If the pumpkin is nevertheless close to drying out, but no mold has formed so far, then you can put it in a bucket of cold water for several hours. The skin then becomes nice and firm again and no longer appears shriveled.

Store pumpkin

Store pumpkin

The carved pumpkin likes it cool and dry. The temperature during storage should be as low as possible. Especially if the pumpkin is not yet to its place, it is recommended to wrap it with foil and store it in the refrigerator. 

During storage you should proceed as follows:

  • maintain a constant temperature
  • do not let it freeze
  • then the pumpkin becomes soft
  • Store pumpkin dry

So that you do not have to store the pumpkin for a long time at all, you should carve it immediately after purchase or harvest and put it outside.

Tip: If the pumpkin is illuminated from the inside, then it can quickly become very warm, regardless of whether a light bulb or a candle is used. Thus, enough air must be able to circulate through the lid, otherwise the pumpkin could be baked from the inside and become misshapen and soft.

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