Things You'll Need
Carving pumpkins with silly or frightening faces rounds out your Halloween décor. Unfortunately, autumn temperature fluctuations and excess moisture may cause the pumpkins to degrade and rot before the big night. Preparing the pumpkin before you carve and caring for it properly afterward, helps prevent your jack o' lantern from meeting an early demise. Preventing rot begins when you purchase your pumpkin and continues until you are ready to take down your Halloween display.
Select pumpkins with an even orange color over the entire rind and those with a short piece of stem still attached. Avoid pumpkins with soft spots or thin, weak rinds. Sunken sides or water-soaked spots also indicate a sub-par fruit that's prone to rot.
Mix 1 tbsp. of bleach into a gallon of water. Dampen a cloth in the bleach mixture and wipe down the entire shell of the pumpkin. The bleach kills any bacteria or fungal spores on the rind, preventing premature rot.
Display the pumpkin in an area with temperatures between 50 and 60 degrees Fahrenheit. Choose a location out of direct sunlight. Cooler temperatures prevent the pumpkin shell from softening.
Place the pumpkin on top a rack to elevate it an inch from the ground. Elevating the pumpkin provides air circulation beneath it, preventing moisture buildup that leads to rot.
Carve the pumpkin one to seven days before Halloween. The longer you wait to carve, the longer the pumpkin survives, as carved pumpkins degrade more quickly than whole ones.
Bring the pumpkin indoors during rain to protect it from the excess moisture in the air.
Purchased pumpkins are sold cured, but those harvested from the garden require a curing period of 10 days at 80 to 85 F before they are displayed.