How to Keep Your Jack-o-Lanterns Looking Alive Through Halloween

Carving pumpkins might be the most popular Halloween tradition (next to trick-or-treating) for many families in the US. It takes a lot of time and makes a big mess, and if those aren’t your favorite parts, it’s all worth it when you see your masterpiece glowing in the dark of night.

What a bummer it is when it only lasts three days before it starts to wilt and rot! Or, maybe worse, when the squirrels get to it, and turn your piece of art into their dinner. 

Below are a few tips to help keep your Jack-o-Lanterns looking their best for as long as possible:


It’s best to choose from pumpkins that are grown locally. 当地的南瓜会更新鲜, and they won’t have so many bruises from long bumpy rides cross-country. Plus, buying local is good for the earth and your community! (All the pumpkins at 城市 Floral are locally grown.)



要有耐心. Once carved, the insides of the pumpkin will be exposed to the air and everything that’s in it. A carved pumpkin usually only has a lifespan of three to five days before the rotting sets in. If you want your jack-o-lanterns looking alive on Halloween night, resist the urge to carve them before October 27th, otherwise they might look a little scary by the time trick-or-treaters are ringing your doorbell. 




Sometimes you cannot resist the urge to carve early. 或者孩子们等不及了. OR you’re so busy that the only time you have to carve pumpkins is a full week before Halloween, and that’s just how it has to be! 我们得到它. Here’s what to do to help keep your pumpkins fresh a little longer:

  • Use squeaky-clean carving tools to lessen the amount of bacteria coming in contact with the flesh.
  • Clean out the guts really well, so there aren’t any stringy or slimy bits left clinging on the sides.
  • Make a pumpkin-preserving mixture, using water (7oz), castile soap (0.5oz), and peppermint oil (5-10 drops). Put it in a spray bottle, and spray all surfaces of the pumpkins, inside and out. Then coat the inside and every cut surface with petroleum jelly to lock in the moisture and create a barrier against mold-causing elements.



Squirrels love this time of year! All the fruits and nuts are falling to the ground, and the whole neighborhood puts out free pumpkin dinners on their porches!

If you aren’t offering free squirrel meals this year, try these tricks to keep them at the dinner spot down the street:

  • Use the peppermint spray from above — on the pumpkins, not the squirrels!
  • Pick up some Hot Pepper Wax spray from 城市 Floral. This stuff uses hot cayenne pepper as a main ingredient to deter animals, and apparently it’s just too spicy for squirrels’ delicate taste buds.
  • 收养一只守护猫. 不,我是认真的. We have two at the Garden Center (Fluffy and Munstead). They do great work, and only expect love and kibble in return. 😉



The best way to keep your pumpkins around for longer than a week or so is to not carve them in the first place. That doesn’t mean you’re doomed with boring faceless pumpkins, though. There are many other ways you can decorate them!

  • Paint them (use acrylic paints for details, spray paint for all-over color, and glow-in-the-dark paint so they can still glow at night!)
  • 胶水和闪光
  • Stencil designs with paint or markers
  • 贴纸
  • Temporary tattoos (apply them just like you would on your skin)
  • 粘贴上去的塑料珠宝
  • 织物和胶水
  • 创意! 有很多选择



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