If you love a fancy Jack O Lantern on your porch over the Halloween period you might be interested in how long do carved pumpkins last? As soon as you expose them to air and the environment their shelf life naturally decreases!
You spend ages crafting your amazing Jack O Lantern so naturally you still want it to look in good shape on October 31st, but you must remember that like all fruits and vegetables pumpkins will wilt and start to decay. No one wants a smelly pumpkin on their doorstep, do they?!
By the way if all this talk of Jack O Lanterns has got you in the mood, you might want to try some of my advanced pumpkin carving ideas
If I have rained on your parade do not worry as there are a few things you can do to make your pumpkin stay good and last for longer.
How long does a Carved Pumpkin Last
Firstly let us consider how long does a carved pumpkin last. Does it stay good for 4 days or even a week? This will definitely influence when you carve it.
Remember to check what day Halloween 2022 is on and pick a day to create your pumpkin carving, preferably a few days before October 31st.
The answer is it depends on where you live! If you live in a hot climate and leave a Jack O Lantern on your porch it will start rotting within 5 days. Worst case scenario is that initial rot will start after 3 days!
If Halloween is on a Monday then I would advise you carve no sooner than Saturday!
Obviously if you pick a pumpkin that has already started to rot it will last even less time! I always recommend picking them directly from a pumpkin patch on the day before you start to carve them. This ensures freshness.
Storing in a cool room in the house also ensures they last longer, but be warned when they start to rot you will get a nasty smell indoors!
How long does a Carved Pumpkin Last Outside
Your Jack O Lantern will be exposed to all elements outdoors and as a result will start rotting sooner. Strong sunlight and heat will cause bacteria and fungi to eat away at your precious carved pumpkin. Trust me a rotten pumpkin is not a pleasant site. If you leave the lid on you may not see the black mold inside until the smell is pungent.
By the way when your Jack O Lantern does start going bad throw it into the middle of the garden and watch what animals eat Jack O lanterns.
If you live in a cooler environment, like the UK, your carved pumpkin may last 6 days! I've seen ours lasting a week. Our temperature at this time of the year is probably around 12 degrees C during the day and 3 or 4 degrees C during the night, so less rot takes place.
How to make your carved pumpkin last longer?
I hope I have not put you off carving a Jack O Lantern. If you carve a few days before Halloween and leave it in a cool environment then it should last more than 4 days.
I would probably recommend those in hotter climates with strong sunlight to store their pumpkins in a cool shaded room inside if they need to carve them more than 3 days before Halloween. They can then put them outside on October 31st.
Good Housekeeping has some great tips for preserving Jack O Lanterns and it all starts before you even carve them! They recommend cleaning inside the pumpkin with some vinegar solution before adding a thick lubricant like vaseline to help reduce the chance of mold and rot!
In summary carved pumpkins will last around 4 days, but longer in cooler climates! Store indoors and clean out and a protective waxy layer to help prevent break down of pumpkin!