Bleach and petroleum jelly: so you can keep the pumpkin until Halloween

As the nights grow colder and darker, many of us will be gearing up for Halloween celebrations this weekend. The quintessential decoration is a carved pumpkin with a creepy face, which can sometimes take hours to gut and slice to perfect. But all that hard work can go to waste when, just hours before night falls on October 31, the fruit turns to mush.

To avoid this terrifying fate, we have the main trick to keep your pumpkin looking its best on Halloween (without having to make it on the same day). This includes bathing it in bleach to kill any bacteria that might speed decomposition and rubbing petroleum jelly on its surface.

The first step in creating the best pumpkin decoration is choosing a healthy one. Signs of disease can begin to form on pumpkins after they’ve been harvested, as a bruise or crack that occurs during transit can allow bacteria to enter. When we pick a pumpkin, we want to make sure it isn’t rotten around the stem or moldy . It has to be dry, otherwise the squash will begin to go moldy quickly, especially in the house at room temperature. Also, we should never pick up a pumpkin by the stem, it will break and make the pumpkin rot faster.

Bleach bath and LED light

Once we’re done carving, we’ll give the pumpkin a lye bath to kill any microorganisms that might gobble up the sugary fruit. Since they spend most of their lives growing in a field, they are vulnerable to all kinds of fungi, bacteria and insects that are unlikely to have been washed off.

When you start to carve and break the skin of the pumpkin, new holes are created for these organisms to infiltrate. We can add a tablespoon of bleach to 4.5 liters of water and give the carved pumpkin a good bath. Then we will rinse well and dry the pumpkin to make it last longer.

It is recommended to keep pumpkin creations outside in temperatures as cool as possible. If we keep the carved pumpkin at room temperature, the warm room will cause the rot to start faster. As the temperature increases, the spoiling microorganisms become more active and the rate of spoilage increases. It’s also a good idea to keep the squash protected from rain , which could cause mold growth.

When it comes to lighting the pumpkin, it is also recommended to use an electric LED lamp instead of a candle, to avoid unnecessary heat. Pumpkins become very bright, but do not give off heat. So we’ll want to keep the squash as cold as possible, and if we have a heat source inside, the squash will start to cook from the inside. So if we use electric light, we will also give the carving a longer life.

calabazas de halloween

Layer of petroleum jelly and lemon

Not just for chapped lips, Vaseline helps keep our carved creations looking good enough to eat. It will act as a barrier that prevents bacteria-laden moisture from getting in, but also retains its own freshness. If we do a template carving, where we don’t cut into the wall of the pumpkin and just carve the surface, then we can apply Vaseline to the surface. Vaseline will keep the squash hydrated . It won’t dry out as quickly and also adds a nice shine to your masterpiece.

The final tip is to sprinkle the surface of the creepy pumpkins with lemon water after you are done carving. These can be wrapped tightly in cling film and placed in a cool place, like the fridge or outside, before unwrapping them on Halloween night. We can do that with this trick. If we spray each pumpkin and wrap them, they will all be fresh for the night of the dead.