My family loves going to a pumpkin patch and carving jack o’ lanterns for Halloween. What I don’t love is the mess and having a pumpkin that doesn’t last. I put together a few pumpkin hacks to make Halloween easier this year for all of us. Use these with your family to create the perfect jack o’ lantern every time.
I know that carving a pumpkin isn’t rocket science but I am all about saving time and making things easier to clean up. It is going to be especially important this year since we will have a newborn to take care of at the same time the holidays will be starting.
I know I will be sleep deprived but I don’t want to miss out on making fun Fall and Halloween memories with my family. These are the pumpkin hacks I will be using. Choose the ones that will work for you and your family.
Don’t forget to check out all of the other Halloween ideas I put together to make this holiday as easy and stress-free as possible.
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Pumpkin Hacks: Choosing the Right One
I personally like taking the kids to a pumpkin patch to pick out our pumpkins but there is nothing wrong with grabbing one at the grocery store. If you are on a budget, Costco has HUGE pumpkins for around $6 and I saw that Aldi had some for only $2.99!
When choosing a pumpkin that you will be carving or decorating, keep the image you will be carving in mind. Do you need a pumpkin that is more wide or one that is taller to get the full image on there?
If choosing one from the pumpkin patch, look for a thick, green stem which will indicate that the pumpkin has been recently picked. Most of the ones at the grocery store will have been picked at least a week ago if not longer. Don’t pick your pumpkin up by the stem, if it breaks and exposes some of the flesh, your pumpkin can rot faster.
If you will be carving the pumpkin, thump the side to see if it makes a hollow sound. These are easier to carve.
Pumpkin Carving Hacks
Set Up a Work Area
If you are able to set up a carving station outside, do so! It will make clean up so much easier. You can easily rinse off any pumpkin splatter with a hose compared to trying to clean it off of your floors.
Tape down a plastic cloth or some old newspapers on your work surface. To prevent your pumpkin from wobbling around, roll a towel into a doughnut shape and place it around the pumpkin’s base.
Cleaning out the Pumpkin Guts
Use an ice cream scooper to scrape the flesh from the sides of the pumpkin and let it fall to the bottom, don’t scoop out as you go as that creates more mess.
Once all the sides are smooth, empty the seeds into the trash. You can also keep the seeds in a bowl and roast them for a yummy snack later.
Take into account the age of your kids when choosing how to decorate your pumpkin. For younger kids, I like using pumpkin decorating kits, paint, or even washi tape to come up with some pretty patterns and ideas.
When drawing or sketching your image, use a dry erase marker. You can see the marks even if it gets a little wet and can easily erase it if you make a mistake.
You can use some fun cookie cutters and a mallet to make some easy designs on your pumpkin. Make sure to use the metal cookie cutters, not plastic, and hammer out the shape using your mallet on the side of the pumpkin.
How to Make your Pumpkin Last
You can store uncarved pumpkins in a cool, dry spot for months after they have been cut from the vine.
Once carved, your pumpkin will begin to decompose. People use different items like petroleum jelly, vinegar, and bleach to keep it from rotting before Halloween arrives.
When put to the test, bathroom cleaner with bleach made pumpkins last the longest. Just spritz any exposed flesh to fight off mold and bugs. Your carved pumpkin can last up to twice as long compared to other methods.
Using these pumpkin hacks should make carving and storing your pumpkin even easier this Halloween season. For even more affordable decorating ideas, check out these Dollar Tree Halloween decoration ideas.