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Halloween pumpkin preservation: How to prevent the carved pumpkin from getting moldy!

Nothing heralds fall quite like putting up Halloween decorations. Whether you decorate your front door with colorful flowers or you’re more of a faux spider web type of person, there’s one thing most Halloween and fall decor lovers can agree on: pumpkins are essential. The question of how to preserve a Halloween pumpkin, however, is a little trickier. Most people can relate to what it’s like to buy a pumpkin too early in the season and then have it mold by October 31. While this may add to the spooky vibe of the season, it’s not exactly the ideal aesthetic for most people. Fortunately, however, there are several ways to ensure that this fruiting vegetable lasts throughout the fall.

How early can you hollow out a pumpkin?

How early can you hollow out a pumpkin?

In cooler temperatures, you may be able to carve the pumpkin 4 days before the big day. Just make sure the fruiting vegetable is in the shade and protected from the wind if possible.

How long will a carved pumpkin last?

How long will a carved pumpkin last?

In general, a pumpkin should last 3 – 5 days after being carved out. Also, there is no law against carving more than one pumpkin. Have one for the week before Halloween and another for Halloween night and the week after!

Preserving Halloween Pumpkin: Prevent it from getting moldy inside and out

Preserving Halloween pumpkin - Prevent it from getting moldy inside and out.

Clean the outside of the pumpkin before you start carving. Gently wash the outside to remove dirt and soil. Use paper towels to dry any excess moisture from the surface afterward.

Prepare pumpkin and protect from mold with bleach.

  • Spray with bleach:

Since the inside of the squash is moist, it will mold very quickly if any part of the fruiting vegetable is exposed. Clean the surface and interior with one teaspoon of bleach to one quart of water. In a spray bottle, it is easier to apply the solution to the entire squash. This will sterilize it and kill any bacteria present. Allow it to dry completely before you begin carving.

  • Soak in a bleach solution for 20 minutes:

Another option is to soak the pumpkins in a bleach solution for about 20 minutes.

Preserve hollowed-out Halloween pumpkin with rubbing alcohol.

Preserve hollowed out Halloween pumpkin with rubbing alcohol.


Spraying with rubbing alcohol can do wonders for keeping pumpkins from rotting, preventing fruit flies and preventing mold.

Soil cleaners are also great for preserving pumpkins and keeping them shiny and fresh. All you need to do is apply a liquid floor cleaner to a damp towel and wipe the fruiting vegetables with it.

Preserve pumpkin faces and prevent mold with hairspray

Preserve pumpkin faces and prevent mold with hairspray

Hair sprays are another great sealant to keep pumpkins from drying out. The sprays act as a barrier to mold growth while preventing rodents from chewing on your fruiting vegetables.

How to preserve a pumpkin after carving with vegetable oils

Most vegetable oils available on the market, such as olive oil, can be very helpful in preventing a pumpkin from going rotten. Dry the pumpkins completely and use a paper or cloth towel. Then rub the surface with a small amount of vegetable oil. Use enough oil to make the fruiting vegetable look shiny, but not greasy.

Preserving Halloween pumpkin with vinegar

Preserve Halloween pumpkin with vinegar


Another natural way to preserve pumpkins is to use the ever-popular vinegar. To keep the fruiting vegetables looking like new throughout October, simply fill a large tub with 10 parts water and 1 part vinegar. Let the pumpkins soak in the bath for 20-30 minutes, then remove them and let them air dry. This way, of course, the pumpkins won’t keep forever, but they will look fresh longer. Plus, it’s safe for pets and wildlife.

How to make a hollowed out pumpkin fresh again with ice

If you see your pumpkin starting to wilt, place it in an ice bath overnight to make it fresh again. Once you take it out, dry it thoroughly to prevent mold.

Why you shouldn’t use candles inside a pumpkin

Using candles inside carved pumpkins can have a negative effect on them, as the heat essentially cooks the fruiting vegetable. Instead, try using flickering candles without a flame or glow sticks.

Preserving Halloween pumpkin: Avoid sunlight

Protect fruit vegetables from mold - Avoid sunlight

If the pumpkin is left outside, it can rot quickly. Try to keep it as cool as possible. If it’s warm outside, bring it inside during the day and put it in the refrigerator (or basement if you have one) to keep it fresh and prevent soft spots.

What temperatures are bad for pumpkins?

Preserving Halloween pumpkin - How to prevent carved pumpkin from getting moldy!

Avoid leaving your pumpkin outside in sub-zero temperatures. Ideally, you should put it in a place where the temperature is between 10 and 15 degrees Celsius. So if you live in an area where frost is expected in October, you should bring your fruiting vegetables inside every evening.