Somehow, its already October. The weather has finally started to cool (a bit), we're all tired of pumpkin spice again, and the best holiday of the year is fast approaching: HALLOWEEN. So, we all know what that entails… candy, costumes, and pumpkins. And better yet, Jack-o-lanterns! Now, some of you probably love carving pumpkins every year. You may already have a plan—or three—for what this year’s orange masterpiece will entail. Or, if you’re like me, the idea sounds great, but then you start thinking about the feel and the smell and the mess and the work. But! It’s part of the season, so maybe this little list of tips and tricks will help make this year your best pumpkin-carving season yet!
1. Get yourself a pumpkin with a stem. This little “handle” is your pumpkin’s lifeline. And even though you might not think so, this guy is still feeding your pumpkin nutrients up until its last hurrah. Pick a pumpkin with a thicker & greener stem. The thicker stem usually indicates thicker walls and a heavier fruit which equals better carving.
2. Plan Ahead. Dream up your creation ahead of time. With so many Pinterest-worthy designs making the rounds, its no wonder that the idea of free hand carving a pumpkin would give a girl anxiety. But, if you plan your design (or buy some of those fantastic stencils), you’ll take the unknown out of the equation. And just like kindergarten, we can all learn to carve the lines!
3. Time your Carving. Pumpkins are a perishable food source. As soon as you start the carving process, that orange gourd is going to start decomposing. Sorry, but those are the facts. So, if you want your epic creation to last through Halloween, you’re going to want to carve it within the 2-3 days before trick-or-treating. Now, we’ve got a few tricks up our sleeves to try and prolong life, but nothing that’s going to last more than a few extra days.
4. Rubber Gloves. If you’re like me, the feel of all those “guts” are almost enough to keep you from even opening up the pumpkin. But, throw on some rubber gloves and no more tactile issues!
5. Keep a Spray Bottle on Hand. Experts—yes there are pumpkin carving experts in the world—suggest periodically spraying the pumpkin as you carve it. The moisture will help maintain the pumpkin’s structure and make for easier carving.
1. Scrape out Everything. Anything left inside that beautiful, now-hollow orb is ripe for mold and deterioration. It may feel like those last few seeds or strings won’t make much of a difference, but I promise, put those gloves back on and dig in one more time for the cleanest pumpkin possible.
2. Give it a Bleach Bath. You can either submerge your pumpkin in a bucket of water mixed with bleach, or you can spray the pumpkin (inside & out) with the same mixture of bleach & H2O. If you were planning on eating your pumpkin after the fact, you need to skip this one.
3. Apply Petroleum Jelly. Applying a petroleum jelly, like Vaseline, on the carved edges will help prevent your pumpkin from drying out too fast. 2 things: petroleum jelly is flammable, so make sure you pick up some of those electric votives for the inside. Also, don’t apply the petroleum jelly before giving your pumpkin the bleach bath/shower.
4. Use a Flameless Light Source. Part of keeping your pumpkin pretty for longer, is keeping it as cool as possible. Those experts I talked about before suggest some kind of electric lite. Try using a battery operated votive or even a few glow sticks. If you want to pay the big money, look for Halloween specific lights sold in October.
5. Throw it the Refrigerator. You read that right. If you really want to give your masterpiece Jack-o-Lantern a fighting chance (you know, to keep the tears at bay), wrap it is plastic wrap and find a place in your refrigerator overnight. If you can’t make room (because, really? Whose refrigerator isn’t full of last weeks leftovers?), find the coolest, darkest place possible overnight.
Follow our tips and tricks, and we’ve no doubt you’ll have a great pumpkin carving season! And you need more insurance related tips, give us call whenever you need us. We promise, no costumes needed.