My Failed Attempt at Preserving a Carved Pumpkin

carved halloween pumpkin

One of the traditions that I have always enjoyed at this time of the year is to carve or otherwise decorate pumpkins, but I had never thought about preserving a carved pumpkin. There are so many different ways that you can decorate your pumpkin that people of any age can participate in. Last year, when my daughter was just over a year old, we decorated pumpkins with some of her friends by painting them (she did that again this year with her nanny and loves painting!).

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This year my husband and daughter carved a pumpkin, on one side they carved a standard jack-o-lantern face (we gave my daughter choices of shapes to use, this was good practice for learning shapes). On the other side, I wanted to try out one of the big trends this year, creating designs with a drill. I used my husband’s electric drill to carve flowers on the other side of the pumpkin. Unfortunately, this was much harder than I anticipated but I still think it turned out cute. (For anyone that wants to try this, I would recommend a little more planning before actually carving.)


Once we had our beautiful pumpkin I was interested in finding out how to preserve our creation. I came across a process for preserving the pumpkins that claimed to make your pumpkin last for weeks:

1. Dip a carved pumpkin in a bleach and water mixture (1 tsp bleach per gallon of water)
2. Let the pumpkin dry completely, upside down
3. Mix a solution of vinegar, lemon juice and water (2 tablespoons of vinegar and 1 teaspoon of lemon juice per quart of water). Use a brush to paint the solution on any exposed parts to preserve pumpkin.

We carved our pumpkin on a Sunday afternoon. And I immediately did the bleach dip. Then, I let it dry upside down overnight in our utility tub. The next morning when it was dry, I painted on the solution from step 3. Then, I  let it dry before placing it on our front step (this was a Monday).

On Thursday morning (4 days later), I went outside to take a picture of our pumpkin to document the progress and found this…


Needless to say, I don’t think that the solution worked :(. I guess that means that this weekend we just get to create memories all over again. That means carving another pumpkin. This time I think we will forego any special preservation techniques or maybe I should attempt some Pinterest solutions.

What traditions does your family have for Halloween? Do you have any suggestions for preserving a carved pumpkin?

I am a mom of two spunky little girls, Claire and Hadley (two, two and under) and wife to Ryan. I am a proud University of Florida and Stetson University alumnus and I work part time as a Certified Public Accountant for the largest international public accounting firm. When not crunching numbers or having a pretend tea party, I loves to sew, craft, snow ski, bake and I am fond of spreadsheets. You can follow along with my sewing and natural parenting adventures on her blog: Naturally Crafty Mom or on my FaceBook Page