Extending the life of a Jack-o-Lantern isn’t hard to do with these tips

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, October 31, 2018

This time of year, people often ask me if there is a way to preserve their beautiful carved jack-o-lanterns, especially after putting in all their hard work.  It’s true that jack-o-lanterns have a seemingly short life span. However, Dani Carroll, Alabama Extension home grounds agent in Calhoun County suggests a few things you can do to preserve your jack-o-lantern for a longer period of time.

     First, start with picking the correct pumpkin. Next, pick a pumpkin without any bacteria or mold that may be growing around the handle and has no soft spots.  He thinks that a pumpkin with a nice sized handle is often a better pick than one without.

     Carroll went on to say that direct sunlight may help break the pumpkin down faster so be aware of where the pumpkin is placed during the day.  He has heard of keeping the jack-o-lantern in a refrigerator during the day and putting it back out at night to light up.

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Home Remedies:

There are some home remedies that may help keep the scare in your jack-o-lantern. Here are two versions to try:

Bleach and Water Solution: One remedy to try requires some planning ahead but could solve the problem. Soak the carved pumpkin in a solution of one teaspoon of bleach per one gallon of water for eight hours. Each day after the initial soak, spray it daily with a mild bleach solution. The soaking and spraying is intended to hydrate the pumpkin flesh, while the bleach is acting as an antimicrobial to reduce mold growth. With this remedy, the jack-o-lantern has been known to last up to 10 days with minimal mold growth and decay.

Use A Commercial Product: Another remedy to try is buying a commercial product for preserving pumpkins and jack-o-lanterns. While this is not technically a home remedy, it could still be beneficial to preserving the pumpkin. The main components of a commercial preserving solution are water, sodium, borax and a perseverate fungicide. Spray the jack-o-lantern daily while following the directions on the bottle. Pumpkins sprayed with this product have been known to last up to 14 days with minimal mold growth and some decay.

More Information:  Using these suggestions and remedies may help you preserve your family’s jack-o-lanterns this year. For more information visit the Alabama Extension website or contact your county’s Extension office.   

Always make sure your children are safe as they go Trick or Treating, Trunk or Treating or attend Harvest Festivals.

Pumpkins provide vitamin A and are a good source of potassium.  Here is a timely delicious, nutritious quick and easy to make recipe from our Today’s MOM series.  It’s called:

                                                      Pumpkin Muffins

1 box spice cake mix

15 ounces puree pumpkin, canned


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Mix the spice cake mix and pumpkin together and drop by heaping tablespoons into greased muffin cups.  Bake for 18 – 22 minutes.