How Long Do Carved Pumpkins Last? Your Go-to Jack-O-Lantern Guide

Halloween decorations aren’t quite complete without a smiling jack-o-lantern lighting up your porch. Among all the Halloween games and traditions, handpicking a special pumpkin to carve into a unique creation is certainly a favorite. With all the work that goes into creating your Halloween centerpiece, you want to get as much life out of it as you can! Wondering, how long do carved pumpkins last? Here’s all the info you need to know about the life span of carved pumpkins, and how to keep them shining and fresh for as long as possible.How long do carved pumpkins last?Generally, carved pumpkins last between 3 to 5 days, but weather and sunlight can play a huge role in your lantern’s life. If you live in a colder climate, your pumpkin could last up to a week, but if it’s exposed to heat, it may only last a few days. Regardless of weather, once you carve into your pumpkin, its days are numbered! Here’s why: After you cut into a pumpkin’s thick, tough skin, bacteria and fungi begin to break down the inside. But, no stress! Picking a good pumpkin, storing it correctly and preserving it with homemade sealants will all help to extend the life of your Halloween craft. When to buy your pumpkin and how to pick it?The first step to a long-lasting jack-o-lantern starts at the patch. Pick your pumpkin within a week of when you’re looking to carve it (so if you want it to be ready for Halloween celebrations, go hunting around October 24), and choose the healthiest one you can find! Some signs to watch out for: blemishes, bruises, a broken stem, and too-soft skin.

Catherine DelahayeGetty Images

Avoid heat, light and curious pests Some of the biggest threats to your carved creation are light and heat. While it may be tempting to keep your pumpkin on the porch or stoop for everyone to see, during the day, it’s best to bring it indoors to keep it cool and fresh. If you just can’t resist showing off your gourd-geous decoration, try and put it in a shady spot away from sunlight. Placing your pumpkin on a table or stand will showcase your spooky decoration while also keeping it safe from any curious critters! How to preserve your pumpkin to last longer?Really want to make sure those designs last as long as possible? Try a few hacks before carving your spooktacular faces to give an extra layer of protection to your pumpkin’s skin. After scooping out all those guts and seeds, make sure to clean your pumpkin to give it a healthy, clean base. Disinfecting your pumpkin with a cleaning or vinegar solution not only gives it an attractive shine, but keeps the skin protected from mold and bacteria. After cleaning, add another barrier by rubbing vaseline, petroleum jelly, or vegetable oil to really keep your future canvas sealed and safe. While carved pumpkins might not last until the next holiday season (Santa Claus pumpkin, anyone?), there are plenty of ways to extend the life of your smiling squash. This festive tradition is a perfect Halloween party idea or a fun family activity to get everyone into the spooky spirit! Scour the patch for your favorite (and healthy) pick, brainstorm some pumpkin carving ideas (or use our best pumpkin carving tips) and get to creating!

Taylor Worden
Freelance Editor
Taylor Worden is a Freelance Editor on the food team for Good Housekeeping, where she also contributes entertainment and culture pieces as a freelance writer.

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Halloween decorations aren’t quite complete without a smiling jack-o-lantern lighting up your porch. Among all the Halloween games and traditions, handpicking a special pumpkin to carve into a unique creation is certainly a favorite. With all the work that goes into creating your Halloween centerpiece, you want to get as much life out of it as you can! Wondering, how long do carved pumpkins last? Here’s all the info you need to know about the life span of carved pumpkins, and how to keep them shining and fresh for as long as possible.

How long do carved pumpkins last?

Generally, carved pumpkins last between 3 to 5 days, but weather and sunlight can play a huge role in your lantern’s life. If you live in a colder climate, your pumpkin could last up to a week, but if it’s exposed to heat, it may only last a few days. Regardless of weather, once you carve into your pumpkin, its days are numbered! Here’s why: After you cut into a pumpkin’s thick, tough skin, bacteria and fungi begin to break down the inside. But, no stress! Picking a good pumpkin, storing it correctly and preserving it with homemade sealants will all help to extend the life of your Halloween craft.

When to buy your pumpkin and how to pick it?

      The first step to a long-lasting jack-o-lantern starts at the patch. Pick your pumpkin within a week of when you’re looking to carve it (so if you want it to be ready for Halloween celebrations, go hunting around October 24), and choose the healthiest one you can find! Some signs to watch out for: blemishes, bruises, a broken stem, and too-soft skin.

      Catherine DelahayeGetty Images

      Avoid heat, light and curious pests

        Some of the biggest threats to your carved creation are light and heat. While it may be tempting to keep your pumpkin on the porch or stoop for everyone to see, during the day, it’s best to bring it indoors to keep it cool and fresh. If you just can’t resist showing off your gourd-geous decoration, try and put it in a shady spot away from sunlight. Placing your pumpkin on a table or stand will showcase your spooky decoration while also keeping it safe from any curious critters!

        How to preserve your pumpkin to last longer?

          Really want to make sure those designs last as long as possible? Try a few hacks before carving your spooktacular faces to give an extra layer of protection to your pumpkin’s skin. After scooping out all those guts and seeds, make sure to clean your pumpkin to give it a healthy, clean base. Disinfecting your pumpkin with a cleaning or vinegar solution not only gives it an attractive shine, but keeps the skin protected from mold and bacteria. After cleaning, add another barrier by rubbing vaseline, petroleum jelly, or vegetable oil to really keep your future canvas sealed and safe.

          While carved pumpkins might not last until the next holiday season (Santa Claus pumpkin, anyone?), there are plenty of ways to extend the life of your smiling squash. This festive tradition is a perfect Halloween party idea or a fun family activity to get everyone into the spooky spirit! Scour the patch for your favorite (and healthy) pick, brainstorm some pumpkin carving ideas (or use our best pumpkin carving tips) and get to creating!

          This content is created and maintained by a third party, and imported onto this page to help users provide their email addresses. You may be able to find more information about this and similar content at piano.io

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