It’s Halloween, and you’re ready for fun! You’ve chosen just the right costume for the party, and you’ve put up all the scary decorations. But without a doubt, the coolest and most essential Halloween decoration is the jack o’lantern. From choosing your pumpkin, to picking the best pumpkin design, to carving and arranging your works of art, no other part of Halloween gets your creative juices flowing quite like the jack o’lantern. Whether you’re a traditionalist or a pumpkin adventurer, this post has the tips you need to carve the perfect jack o’lantern this year. And, once you’ve perfected your gourd, we have the best way for you to preserve your artwork and give your jack o’lantern a good long life. The neighbors will be jealous! Read on to find out how.
Selecting Your Pumpkin
Just like using the best canvas for painting a masterpiece, selecting the right pumpkin for your jack o’lantern is key. Whether you buy your pumpkin at a pick-yourself pumpkin patch or at a supermarket, the two top things to look for are shape and freshness.
The perfect shape for your pumpkin depends on the design you have in mind. Some designs call for a taller, wider or rounder pumpkin, and jack o’lanterns with a large etching or other design on the front tend to work best using pumpkins with a large flat surface on the front. On the other hand, you could be hit with inspiration while browsing pumpkins: that oddly-shaped pumpkin with lots of bumps might make the perfect warty witch face, using the stem for the crone’s nose.
No matter which shape you’re looking for, buying a pumpkin that is not fresh will make pumpkin carving difficult. Thump the sides of the pumpkin gently to check for firmness, and lightly pull the stem back and forth. If the sides aren’t firm or if the stem wiggles, toss that gourd back.
Pumpkin Designs and Pumpkin Carving Tips
There are an amazing number and variety of jack o’lanterns out there, literally one for every preference. Whether you’re looking for designs to inspire you in your own freehand work, or stencils to follow for more foolproof carving, don’t bother paying for jack o’lantern patterns. The Internet is bursting with thousands of pumpkin ideas and pumpkin designs. There are also thousands of free, printable patterns and stencils. Better Homes and Gardens and Martha Stewart are both excellent sources for pumpkin ideas and patterns; check out this post for a selection of pumpkin designs ranging from traditional jack o’lanterns to breathtaking etchings and sophisticated abstract gourds. You’ll also find a link to 12 uses for those yummy, nutritious pumpkin seeds.
Once you’ve picked your pumpkin design, it’s time to make sure you have the tools you need to execute it properly. While a good, sharp carving knife will work well for a simple design, more complicated designs and etchings require more precise tools.
Even with the best design and the best tools, your jack o’lantern will fall flat if your technique is off.
How to Preserve a Jack O’Lantern
Now that you’ve put your artistic flair and elbow grease into creating your perfect jack o’lantern, you want your masterpiece to last! Exposed to the elements and outdoor mold and mildew, poor Ole Jack can wither and turn black with alarming speed. Don’t let your creative triumph turn to a squishy mess! Preserve your pumpkin to keep it around as long as possible.
There are lots of ideas out there for how to preserve a jack o’lantern. However, you can’t use them all on your pumpkin. You only want the best for your creation, of course! That’s why we here at Wet & Forget did our own experiment on some of the most popular methods for how to preserve pumpkins, to see which one worked the best.
- Pouring silica gel inside a jack o’lantern
- Rubbing the insides of the pumpkin, the underside of the lid, and the inside of the holes with petroleum jelly
- Spraying the insides of the pumpkin, the underside of the lid, and the inside of the holes with clear coat paint
- Soaking the jack o’lantern in diluted bleach for several hours, then spraying it every few days with a bleach solution
- Soaking the jack o’lantern in diluted Wet & Forget Outdoor, then spraying it every few days with new Wet & Forget Indoor Mold & Mildew Disinfectant Cleaner
Were you a little surprised by number 5? We thought you might be. Because both Wet & Forget Outdoor and Wet & Forget Indoor eliminate mold and mildew, and mold and mildew destroy jack o’lanterns, we thought we’d give it a try.
We tried each method on a separate jack o’lantern, and captured the results using a time-lapse camera. Check out our video above to see how it turned out! While we certainly had high hopes for the Wet & Forget pumpkin, even we weren’t sure which method would turn out the winner, or exactly what to expect. We were blown away!
Stop by our website to learn more about our easy solutions to everyday problems. Our products allow you to spend less time cleaning and more time enjoying life!