Halloween Pumpkin is Molding: How to Prevent Carving Mistakes and Keep Your Jack-o’-lantern Fresh!

by Stephanie Yankova

Your Halloween pumpkin is molding – are there any ways to prevent this from happening? The following care tips will help you preserve your beautiful Jack-o’-lanterns for longer!

Although pumpkins are normally quite durable, as carved lanterns for Halloween, they can quickly become susceptible to mold. Some of the main causes for that are an early or incorrect purchase, as well as using a wrong carving technique. Incorrect storage of such fresh decorations can also cause them to rot relatively quickly. Fortunately, there are a few effective tricks that can be used with ordinary household products, so that your Jack-o’-lanterns can stay fresh even after the holiday has passed. Keep reading to find out how to do that!

Halloween Pumpkin is Molding: Causes and Solutions

kid carving halloween pumpkin classic jack o lantern

If you started the pumpkin carving process a little too early this year, chances are that you ended up with an unsightly moldy pumpkin lantern. To ensure the longevity of your fresh decoration, it is important to choose a healthy fruit without bumps or damaged skin, that also has a firm stem. If the stem is broken, bruised, or cracked, fungi and other bacteria can quickly infest the fruit and form mold.

old moldy pumpkin causes solutions

There’s a really simple hack you can use to make sure that you’re picking a good quality pumpkin. When you knock gently on the fruit, if you hear a hollow sound, that means it’s fresh! Another trick you can apply to check its freshness is to press against the bottom of the fruit. If it’s soft, and you can feel your finger sinking in a little, then it’s prone to rot much quicker.

How to Clean and Store Pumpkins Properly

fall garden ripe pumpkin storing methods

As pumpkin crops ripen in fields, they attract a variety of insects that can lay eggs on them and damage the fruit. For this reason, before you store any picked or purchased pumpkins, you should carefully wipe them and remove any impurities adhering to them. This way they will not only look so much more presentable, but you’ll also protect them from rotting too quickly.

Read also: What To Do With The Pumpkins After Halloween? – Here’s How to Make Use of the Leftovers!

old pumpkin blue mold
  • For this purpose, the easiest and quickest way to clean your seasonal fruit is with wet wipes.
  • Another trick you can try is after carving out the pumpkin, spray the inside with a DIY solution of water and bleach. This will prevent it from rotting faster and will allow you to keep it fresh for longer. For the solution, you will need about 2–3 teaspoons of bleach added to 1 gallon of water. You can also soak the whole Jack-o’-lantern in diluted bleach to eliminate any microorganisms through it. Make sure that you’re wearing rubber gloves during the process. After that, let the decoration dry well before you put it on display.
  • Prevent rot and mold by storing your pumpkins in a shady, dry, ventilated area and not placed directly on the ground. Store them on a table or shelf in a garden shed or basement.
  • If there are sub-zero temperatures or frequent rains outside, you can wrap your pumpkins in bags before Halloween if they are already carved. If the pumpkins are small enough you can also put them in your refrigerator.

How to Carve Pumpkins Properly to Prevent Mold?

how to carve jack o lantern properly removing pumpkin seeds

To make sure that your Jack-o’-lantern is looking fresh and fabulous, it’s best to carve it the week before the actual celebration. In addition, make sure to hollow out the fruit well and remove as many pumpkin seeds from the interior as possible. This also applies to the fibrous pulp, which promotes mold growth and can attract pests. Here’s a list of common mistakes that you should avoid in the carving process:

  • When removing the seeds and pulp, check the inside for any bruises or discoloration. If you notice anything out of the ordinary, these are most definitely signs that your pumpkin has already begun to rot.
  • If you notice a funky smell, this is another big sign that your pumpkin will soon begin to form mold.

Read also: How to Roast the Pumpkin Seeds: 3 Ways These Snacks to Reach Crunchiness and Fine Flavor

proper halloween pumpkin carving method
  • As a preventive measure, you can apply vegetable oil or petroleum jelly after carving. Smear it on the edges, as well as on the inside to create a protective layer against moisture.
  • When carving the pumpkins, you should also not make the walls too thin, as this can dry out and deform your creations.
  • To preserve the interior, instead of using candles you can put in LED lights.

What Other Measure Can You Take if Your Halloween Pumpkin Has Begun to Get Moldy?

halloween pumpkin molding prevention causes care tips
  • Keep your Jack-o’-lanterns away from rain and moisture.
  • Freshen them up by soaking them in cold water.
  • Keep them off the ground to avoid infestation. Covered outdoor tables and railings are perfect strategic places where you can place such decorations.
  • Occasionally check if the pumpkin is starting to feel mushy and moldy on the inside.
  • Place fly traps around it, as fruit flies can also be a common cause of the sped-up rotting process.
  • Once Halloween is over, you can recycle the moldy pumpkins and use them as compost.

Read also: How to Reuse Pumpkin After Halloween? Check Out 4 Remarkable Ideas on Tricks and Treats!

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