A carved pumpkin lasts for 3 to 7 days at room temperature and between 1 and 2 weeks if you leave it outside. After that, it will wilt and show other signs of decay, and soon you’ll have to discard it.
Of course, these periods are only estimates, and every pumpkin and situation is slightly different.
As you might imagine, the storage temperature is crucial to how long your carved pumpkin stays in good shape. And in that matter, a chilly porch is a much better option than a window inside.
Besides temperature, you can do a couple of other things to get the most out of your Halloween decoration. Let’s talk about those.
How to Make Carved Pumpkins Last Longer
There are a couple of things to remember to make sure your Jack-o-Lantern looks great on display for Halloween and doesn’t rot prematurely.
Let’s go through them one by one.
Carve the pumpkin two to three days before Halloween, or later if that’s an option. This way, it’ll look nice and firm when it matters.
If you do it earlier, you might end up with a mushy pumpkin that’s oozing liquid or one that’s already rotting. You probably don’t want either.
Whole pumpkins last for up to two months, so there’s no rush here.
Scoop out as much flesh as possible
When prepping the pumpkin, remove all the wet strings and seeds altogether, and scoop as much flesh as you can without risking that the whole thing will collapse. That will slow down the decay and make things less gross later on. You can toast and eat the seeds if you want.
Related: Do Pumpkin Seeds Go Bad?
Dry the pumpkin after carving
Once you’re done carving, there will be some moisture inside and outside the pumpkin. Make sure you remove it using paper towels.
That helps because, as you probably know, moisture plus veggies at room temperature is a recipe for mold growth.
Consider a bleach bath
A bleach bath helps protect the pumpkin’s insides against mold and black mildew. All you need is to generously spray the pumpkin with a solution of one teaspoon of bleach per one gallon of water.
There’s been a heated debate about whether spritzing the pumpkin with a bleach solution hurts animals that might want to snack on your masterpiece. If you’re worried about that, you probably should skip the bleach bath.
That said, Clorox says the mentioned solution is safe for animals, but consider doing more research if necessary.
Refrigerate when not on display
Once your pumpkin is carved and waiting to be displayed, store it in a sealed bag in the fridge. This way, it won’t deteriorate as quickly.
Store outside if possible
Cool temperature helps the carved pumpkin keep for longer than if you store it indoors.
When choosing where to place it, opt for a shady spot, possibly on a table or stool. That will prevent most critters from getting to your Jack-o-Lantern.
Limit the heat inside
If you’re using a candle as a light source, opt for a small one, and put it out before you go to bed.
Or upgrade to a small LED light, which produces much less heat than a candle. You can even find flameless candles that mimic real-life candles quite well.
Consider a bug light
If your pumpkin sits outside and bugs are an issue, a bug light might be an easy fix.
If you follow at least a few of the tips above, your beautifully carved Jack-o-Lantern should last for at least 4-5 days, even if you keep it inside.