Tips and Tricks to Have the Best Jack-o-Lanterns on the Block
Carving jack-o-lanterns is a Halloween tradition, but if you don’t do it correctly, your pumpkin may not make it to October 31st. As you prepare to decorate your home with these fun Halloween pumpkins, consider using these Tips and Tricks to Have the Best Jack-o-Lanterns on the Block!
Mind the Stem
In addition to giving your pumpkin a more natural look, the stem is essential in ensuring your jack-o-lantern doesn’t rot prematurely. Be sure the pumpkin you’re purchasing has a stem attached. If it doesn’t, it probably means it was mishandled. Instead, look for a pumpkin with a green stem – that indicates that it’s fresh. And never carry your pumpkin by the stem because a broken stem will speed up your pumpkin’s decay.
Make a Plan
If you’re hoping to carve a more intricate pattern that the traditional triangle eyes and toothy grin, it’s best to plan your design on paper before taking a knife to your pumpkin. Then, use a pen to create your design on the pumpkin itself.
Don’t Remove the Top
Removing the top of the pumpkin requires you to cut off the stem, which supplies nutrients to the plant. Instead, cut a circle out of the back of the pumpkin to remove the seeds. In addition to helping your pumpkin stay fresh longer, a hole in the back of the pumpkin also makes it easier to insert a light inside your jack-o-lantern.
You can purchase your pumpkins at any time, but it’s important to wait until the last minute to start carving. Once you carve, your jack-o-lantern will only last a week or two, so it’s best to wait until close to Halloween to start carving.
Use the Right Tools
To carve a great jack-o-lantern, you’ll need the right tools. A keyhole saw is a great option for pumpkin carving because its sharp, serrated teeth make it easy to cut through the pumpkin’s thick skin. To scrape out the seeds and flesh, use a serrated fleshing tool. And for more intricate designs, a linoleum cutter is a great option – its small blades are prefect for making skin-deep cuts.
Prolong Its Life
While your jack-o-lantern probably won’t last more than a couple of weeks, there are a few ways you can prolong its life. Start by squirting lemon juice on the exterior of the pumpkin to prevent browning. Next, spray the inside of the pumpkin with bleach to stave off mold and fungus. Finally, keep your jack-o-lantern away from extremely cold temperatures. Cold temperatures may cause your pumpkin to freeze and the thawing process could result in mold and mildew.