Before you head out to a pumpkin patch on the Space Coast, there’s a few things to keep in mind if you’re planning on carving the perfect pumpkin, especially if you want it to last longer than a few days.

In the past, I’ve spshutterstock_81662821ent hours carving a beautiful design only to find it rot a few days later. This year I am determined to carve mine and make it last longer than a three days.

What causes a pumpkin to decay?

The skin of a pumpkin protects it until you start to carve. Once the skin is broken, organisms like fungi, bacteria, and mold start to break it down. Oxygen also contributes.


Here is a quick and easy way to prevent your pumpkin from decaying:

  1. Wipe the exterior surfaces clean by using a damp cloth.
  2. Make a bleach solution – 1-tablespoon of bleach per quart of water and place it in a spray bottle.
  3. Cut the bottom out of the pumpkin instead of the top. This helps retains moisture (plus it makes it easier to put on top of your light.)
  4. Scrape and discard the pumpkin guts. Keep the seeds! They can be baked for a tasty treat!
  5. Spray the inside of the pumpkin with the bleach solution and let it penetrate for about 20 minutes.
  6. After you carve your design, spray the edges with the bleach solution.
  7. Rub all of the carved areas with petroleum jelly to keep out bacteria. This will also slow down the dehydration process.
  8. Keep your pumpkin out of direct sunlight and consider refrigerating overnight.